I’m at the top of my game. All my struggles have finally paid off. Life should be great.
I mean, life is great.
Except for the fact that I can’t stop thinking of her. The woman who mangled my heart into a bloody pulp and never looked back.
If I could free myself of our shared memories, my future would be golden.
There’s only one way to move on—I have to confront the past, so I can move into the next chapter of my life in peace. Which means confronting her for the final time.
I had no idea that knocking on her door that day would turn my life upside down.
Confronting the past and making peace with it sounds like a good plan, even a necessary one when it comes to moving on from a multitude of bad memories, but it’s so much more complicated than most people believe, especially when it comes to the pain and the heartache that people experienced – feelings that may have receded but even dormant, they still can scar and fester like an open wound, which is exactly where Jimmy and Lilah are when the second book in their duet begins.
In order for both of them to move forward…to live their best lives, even if they’re still a bit broken and bent, Lilah and Jimmy need to sort out everything that happened between them due to Lilah’s addiction and the maelstrom of highs and lows that they experienced, both as a couple and individually, forcing them to face hard truths and accept the possibility that everything that’s happened may be too much to overcome.
Oh Lilah…this tortured woman put her heart, Jimmy’s heart, her friends and families’ hearts, and readers’ hearts through the ringer and then some. I raged at her…I cried with her…I cheered for her, and while book two definitely didn’t have the same angst level as book one, it was still incredibly emotional because it was two people trying to figure out if their love was strong enough to let go and love on.
Jimmy…boy is that man something special. Every decision that he made when he was with Lilah and when he finally shut his heart to the girl who owned it were his attempts to not be defined by Lilah’s addiction…to not be the enabler that he seemed to so easily become.
I appreciated the authors’ use of the time lapse. At the end of book one, it was more than clear that Jimmy was truly done dealing with Lilah and her volatile behavior, and I can’t blame him for completely stepping away from that train wreck. So, moving the story line forward quite a few years allows both Lilah and Jimmy to try their best to heal their hearts, minds, and bodies, which means that the fact that book two is quite the slow burn when it comes to any kind of relationship between Lilah and Jimmy makes perfect sense, and even though I was quite anxious for these two to do what needed to be made to start a brand new life together, it’s not that easy, so the way it played out and the major obstacles that needed to be take care of was exactly how it needed to go, even if I was holding my breath the entire way to the conclusion.
The Ex-Factor duet is an emotional journey for everyone involved – it’s one that has no easy answers and one that takes time to get everything sorted due to how deep the characters’ wounds go, both self-inflicted and ones due to other people’s influence and neglect. There’s nothing easy about Jimmy and Lilah’s story, but I think that’s why it makes Lilah getting clean and finding her own way while Jimmy works to make a name for himself without being in Lilah’s shadow is essential for their growth and progress, and I can’t see it written any other way than how Michelle Lynn and Elisabeth Grace penned it, even if I was a nervous wreck for most of book two;)
4.5 Poison Apples
All We Were
The Ex-Factor Duet – Book 1
By Elisabeth Grace & Michelle Lynn
Will I ever stop hurting the one person who’s never hurt me?
I’ve done things I can never undo.
No matter how much I wish I could, sometimes the wounds I inflict are too deep, too catastrophic, too septic to heal.
As I look into the eyes of the only man I’ve ever loved I know I’ve gone too far. I’ve finally crossed the line.
Even if he knew my reason for doing this, he’d never forgive me.
He always puts my needs before his own.
Now it’s my turn to protect him.
None of that matters though because the betrayal and disgust in his eyes comes from deep within his soul. There’s no coming back from this.
He will forever be tormented by what he’s seen, and he will never forgive me.
The last fragment of my heart to hold out hope that we’d share a future, withers and dies.
USA Today Bestselling author, Elisabeth Grace, has a soft spot for romance novels with happily ever afters and a hot spot for alpha males! She currently lives outside Toronto, Canada with her hubby and two small children. Life is busy, but never too busy for a good story and to share her love of reading and writing with others.
For more of the lowdown feel free to visit her author website at http://www.Elisabeth-Grace.com
ABOUT MICHELLE LYNN
Michelle moved around the Midwest most of her life, transferring from school to school before settling down in the outskirts of Chicago ten years ago, where she now resides with her husband and two kids.
She loves all thing romance and cries at happy endings!
Visit her at www.michellelynnbooks.com