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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I don't even know how to begin to tell you what an awesome punch this book packed. Admittedly, I love the bad-boy rock star. Who doesn't? When Nicole Reed said she was writing Rhye's story (you all certainly remember him from her Ruining Series), you can only imagine how excited I was.
We pick up four years after Rhye is discovered at the music showcase, and Rhye, well, he's different. My heart seriously breaks for him as we become acquainted with what has gone on in his life these past four years. Yes, he's made it big, but at what price? He seems lost, broken, worn-out, a shell of what he once was. His record label is ready to drop him, and they are giving him one opportunity to make this right, to get his act together. Rhye doesn't take the deal from the label for himself because he is past caring what happens to him; he does it for someone else, and I am quickly reminded of what a huge heart Rhye has and why I loved him as much as I did in the Ruining Series.
"The music doesn't run through my veins like it used to. It doesn't lead me. It doesn't sing through my blood and bleed out through my lyrics. It doesn't make me feel anything anymore."
Enter Syd. Our female lead here has her own difficult, grief-filled past, and she uses her music as a means of almost therapy. She writes songs and plays music to help her release that agony she felt in her younger years. Syd is my kind of heroine, strong, fiercely loyal, and not afraid to tell you what is on her mind. When she does anything, she doesn't do it halfway; she loves wholly, and this includes her relationship with Rhye. As many times as I wanted to slap some sense into him, Syd understands him; she gets him. Syd is so invested in him, and it is probably the first time in his life that Rhye has had someone so passionate about him.
"Sometimes we meet people and have this instant connection. I'm sure, in some cases, it can turn into love, but that's after getting to know someone so intimately that you're willing to take on their internal struggles as your own."
What follows is a fantastic story about love, loss, addiction, helplessness, and hope. Unfortunately, Rhye is a tortured soul, and there are many instances where it seems like he is fighting a losing battle to survive. He's struggling to find himself, to stay above water, to be a man worthy of someone's love and compassion, not knowing if he can truly be what Syd needs. Rhye fights to see the good in himself; he's lost his ability to love and to care, and he truly is "hollow, empty, wasted," but does that mean he always will be? Rhye has tough choices to make here, and the journey along the road of recovery is certainly never easy. It is something he will struggle with for a lifetime.
"I'm lost trying to find my way. Inside your wasted heart."
I won't tell you much more about this one; it needs to be experienced. As always, Ms. Reed has her characters dealing with real-life situations in real-life ways. There are no quick fixes; there is no magic wand to bring these characters their respective HEA's. Once again, Ms. Reed has improved upon her writing, and I feel privileged to be able to bear witness to it.