(Crystal Gulf, #1)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
DESTROY ME is book one in the New Adult romance Crystal Gulf Series.Bach lives his life with honesty and without restraints, happy to be known as a sexy as all hell, unapologetic asshole. When he drinks, he drinks hard. When he wants a woman, he makes sure she knows it. When he opens his mouth, it’s either to piss someone off or to turn someone on. You can normally find him with one hand on a bottle and one hand on a woman, trying to forget his past. Harley Evans is twenty-one-year-old year old college student. She’s a good girl who fell hard for Dylan, who’d promised her forever. But Dylan, Bach’s best buddy, lied. He enlisted in the Army, crushing Harley with equal parts anger and sadness. She’d already lost her father to that choice. Heartbroken, she falls back into depression. Stuck in Crystal Gulf all summer with little to do, Harley needs a distraction. Enter Bach, sexy as f*#ck distraction, ready and willing. Dylan’s not all bad though. Before he left, he asked Bach to watch out for Harley, knowing she’d never go for a guy like Bach. She’s too good for him. Too good for anyone. But Dylan was wrong. He never should have left them together. Bach is there to pick up the pieces Dylan left behind. Soon pieces aren’t enough. He wants more, needs more Harley.
DESTROY ME is dark, sexy, heartbreaking, and intoxicating.
“I do.” Her smile is sad and hopeful. “Ever since I watched one of the social workers at school help this kid that was getting bullied. The look on his face knowing there was someone out there fighting for him always stuck with me. I want to help people. Imagine being that one person, that one ray of hope that gives someone the strength to keep going. Think of all of those kids who don’t have the support I was lucky to have growing up? I can’t give it to them, but I can show them how to give it to themselves. I know it sounds altruistic. I just always felt like it was important. Is that silly?”
I once woke up in the middle of a hurricane. My arm was in a sling that Dylan’s grandma made out of old shoestrings and my face hurt like hell. Dad kicked my ass for dislocating my shoulder jumping out of Mr. Greer’s almond tree. The weather outside was making me shake. It was scary. No one cared that I was scared but Dylan, but Dylan couldn’t come out to play because he was in trouble for jumping with me. The old creaky house shook and the windows rattled. I just wanted it to stop. I crawled under the table in the kitchen, kneeling on top of old cigarette butts and beer stains and I prayed for it to stop. Over and over again, whispering it until my lips chapped. And just like that it did. I opened my eyes and looked out of the kitchen window. The sun was peeking through the clouds. The clouds were still gray, but I could see it. The most beautiful colors shone down. Orange, pink, yellow, and gold; it was shining right on my house. I got up and pressed my little face to the dirty window in awe. I knew right then and there that I would probably never see anything that beautiful ever again.
I don’t deserve to sit across from her. To share a bottle of wine with her. To see her smile nervously after saying something like that to me.
“It isn’t silly,” I promise her, my voice gruff. “It’s, you’re, it’s … Do it. I really hope you do it. I wish I had someone like you around when I was kid.”
She has no idea how much I want her good right now. She smiles as if we’re talking about grocery shopping. Not like she just took my favorite memory and shattered it.
“What did you want to be?” she wonders just as the waiter sets down two brightly colored salads.
“Did you want to order?” he asks.
“I want the spaghetti with marinara and chicken parmesan,” Harley says, licking her lips excitedly.
I want to eat off her plate. When it’s my turn I fumble with my menu. Since when do I fumble? “The clams. I’ll take the clams.”
“Excellent choice,” he congratulates before he leaves. I get the feeling he isn’t talking about the food, in which case I agree.
I watch her slice the tomato with her fork, pair it with a bite of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, and then dunk it into her balsamic dressing. “Mmm,” she moans, closing her eyes in bliss. “This is so good.”
Why did Dylan leave her with me? Me!
“Did you hear me? What did you want to be when you were a kid?”
She cracks up. “That’s either really cute, or really indicative.”
“Indicative of what?” I take a bite. I want to taste what she tastes.
She points her fork at me and waves it around. “All of this.”
“Oh. You mean all of this sexy panty ripping fantastic-ness?” I smile crookedly. We both know we both think that.
Ever read a book and just want to hug it when you're done because you don't want to let the characters go? That's me right now. Bach and Harley's story was heartbreaking, heart-pounding and heartrending. The broken pieces of both these two scarred characters pulled me in to the point that I was falling right alongside them.
Bach is broken. He spends his life trying to ignore the pain of his past by purposely losing himself in his many vices. When his best friend Dylan drops the bomb that he enlisted in the Army and is leaving in just a few short days, Bach's life begins spinning faster than ever especially after Dylan asks Bach to look after his girlfriend while he's gone. But Bach can barely take care of himself since he spends most of his time drunk, high or between the legs of the many willing women that flock to the unapologetic bad boy. Besides, Harley is the last person Bach wants to spend any time with. She hates him. She a good girl who changed his best friend, though, he soon finds that he and Harley have much more in common than he though because Dylan lied.
Harley thinks that she's finally found the guy to bring her out of the remnants of her broken heart. But lies send her spiraling. When Dylan leaves, she's lost. No longer does she have the boyfriend she thought she had. Instead she's stuck with Dylan's sexy as sin but depressingly dirty best friend. Suddenly alone Bach proves to be the perfect distraction. Finding that there's more to Bach than meets the eye wasn't something she was expecting either. But Bach has demons that he's not willing to fight and Harley soon realizes that she's not the only one with pieces left behind.
Shana has done it again. She's written a heartbreakingly emotional angst filled new adult story that was unputdownable. I was filled with nervous tension all the way through this story. My beautiful broken Bach was the epitome of bad boy who was hurting, badly. As his story evolved, I hurt for Harley, I still understood my dirty Bach. It's true some parts were hard to read because I wanted good things for Harley and Bach. But Harley knew who she was getting involved with and Bach was never anything but honest - even when it hurt.
While this story was most definitely gut wrenching at times, I also laughed my way through much of it. The realness of the characters and their sometimes outlandish behavior made me feel like I was reading a story about real people. Because honestly, while I was in the story, they were real. I loved watching both Harley and Bach evolve. Their growth was slow and steady but perfectly paced leaving me breathless. This was a story that I wanted to savor and yet get to the good stuff as fast as possible all at the same time.
Shana's ability to pull me into her stories leaving me feeling hungover when I'm finished has made her one of my favorite new authors. Her dark and gritty characters that have real problems but sweet redemption making me a total fangirl. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Reviewed by Paige
★★☆ 5 "More than Distraction" Stars ☆★★
When I walk into a book store I feel at home. When I smell the pages of a brand new book things make sense. When I read I am who I always wanted to be. I read to escape and I write so others can as well. My family, my actress dog Bella, coffee, and a steamy love story are a few of my most precious things. My Sweet Demise is my debut new-adult contemporary romance novel. Keep up to date with future releases by following on Twitter: @shanavauthor