Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both… or destroy them.
When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.
Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.
Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?
I loved Isn’t She Lovely (Redemption #0.5), and I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this but I’m so happy I finally did! Olivia was the bad girl in that story, but here we truly get to know her, and I loved what she had to say.
He knows that the reason I’m fleeing New York has nothing to do with the goodness of my heart and everything to do with the wretchedness of it. Caring for a war veteran isn’t about philantropy. It’s about penance.
When Olivia signed up to work as a caregiver for Paul Langdon, she was just looking for an accetable excuse to get away from her life and what she’d done. Helping a war veteran should help her find redemption, but she wasn’t expecting Paul to be a 24 year-old hot, bad temered boy. Paul has scars and an injured leg that costantly remind him of what he’s been through, of the guilt that he can’t let go of.
My heart is thundering and I’m trying to tell myself it’s in anger, but I suspect it’s something worse. I suspect it’s fear. I know the sight that awaits this girl, and it is not pretty.
Paul’s always got around to drive his caregivers away, but when Olivia comes into his life, she’s nothing like the women who’ve been there before. She gets under his skin, she makes him feel human, and that scares him out of his mind. That’s why he’s often so cruel to her, but Olivia can read right through him. He’s not the monster he believes he is, both on the inside and the outside; the guilt of living, while his friends died, is what’s eating at him.
I thump my cane against the groung again, studying her. “Must be nice, picking on the cripple.” Olivia rolls her eyes. “Please. Your soul’s more crippled than your leg.”
I adored Olivia, her personality, her way of seeing beyond actions and words, she knew what Paul was really feeling and she never held things against him, but she also knew when she couldn’t take it anymore. I loved the banter between Paul and Olivia, I loved how they went through so many different stages in their relationship. At first there’s pure attraction between them, which is lived in a toxic way by Paul, but then Olivia doesn’t let him get the upper hand, and they eventually become friends. Olivia really helps him finding a way to live again, and this slow recovery was emotional and beautifully written.
For three years I’ve thought there’d be no better feeling in the world than being able to run again. But I’m wrong. Walking hand in hand with Olivia is better.
This was an intense read, with a strong female lead who could take over the world while wearing her favorite pink clothes.