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Monday, June 26, 2017

Regret (Under My Skin, #1) [Brin & Nick] by Christina Lee

I loved EVERYTHING about this book. Loved the MCs, the side characters like Elijah, Nick's roommate, loved the setting with Elijah and Brin working at a dog "day care", yeah, as I said - Everything. Nick and Brin getting to reacquaint each other, 11 years after they crushed on one another was the sweetest "enemies to lovers" with an attraction NO ONE can ignore. We get the whole story, with all the heartache and so much confusion and misunderstanding from both Brin and Nick. It was beautiful seeing the "cracks" in both their masks about what they meant to each other back then, and what is happening between them now. 


The story begins with the unfortunate flooding of Brian “Brin” Schubert apartment. It's only a month in which he has to use Elijah's spare futon bed, but he soon realizes it's going to be a LONG month now that he knows Elijah's roommate is no other than Nicholas Dell, his teenage crush and the guy he tried so very hard to forget after Nick "threw him to the wolves" without a second thought. For Nick, what happened between him and Brin was WAY too complicated, and though he wanted to apologize to Brin back then, it didn't work out and so the last day of school was also the last time they saw each other. Up until they realize they're going to see each other A LOT this following month. 

Nick regrets everything that happened, but Brin hates him and really isn't interested in hearing Nick's side of things, and though Nick had his reasons, his past is not something he shares lightly. So they dance around each other, with sizzling attraction and a mistrust they pretend is actually hatred. What Nick represents is exactly what Brin realized he doesn't want in his life partner and so what's the use in building something that is bound to break apart leaving him hurt (again)? With Nick it's a WHOLE different story. He is a broken man, his past left him as a little more than a functioning shell. He lost too much in his life, he doesn't believe anyone would actually stay by his side and truthfully he doesn't think he deserves to be loved, not with the dark secret he hides. 

I'm not going to say anything about what happened, but I WILL say it broke him apart and though he is trying to work his way through the overwhelming guilt, he still doesn't believe he deserves to be happy and live his life to the fullest. He makes the littlest steps but always puts his family's needs above his. It's not wonder Elijah sees the best kind of guy and doesn't get why Brin dislikes him and mistrusts him. But the one thing Elijah doesn't know about Nick is the kind of thing that can change what people think about him and the way they see him, and Nick is broken enough to keep that secret as close to home as he can. I was HEART BROKEN once Nick tells Brin about his past. I was holding back tears and choking with despair at how miserable Nick is and how much he doesn't believe he deserved Brin, or to be happy in general.   

As Brin and Nick spend time together they start to reconnect, but it doesn't take long for Brin to realize there is something so very wrong and mostly sad to the bone about Nick, something that makes a true relationship, one like Brin craves seems impossible. First Brin needs to put his hatred and mistrust aside and actually LISTEN to Nick, SEE him through his eyes and discover the things he didn't know back then which are still haunting Nick to this day. But knowing the truth isn't enough, now he needs to convince Nick they can actually HAVE a future together. 

This story was so deep and emotional. There was so much going on in both their lives. Nick with everything that happened in his family and the connection he has with his mother. I loved her and adored her part in the story. She is a remarkable woman and though I guess she missed some things over the years, once she sees what's happening in front of her eyes, she makes the best efforts to help Nick find his happiness. Brin also have family issues, they are A LOT different than Nick's. He has a loving connection with his mother but he and his father are very distant, it, too, changes in this book, and I loved seeing that. This is the first book in a series and since there are a few (exciting!) options to whom the next ones are going to be about I really can't wait to get MORE! [It's Tristan! "Reawaken" is already HERE]

I could write SO MUCH MORE about this book, but I'll stop now. It's an extraordinary book about guilt and regret and finding a way to forgive, to build a better future through heartache and life's injustice. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  

One last thing I have to say refers not to this book specifically but to Christina personally. The dedication of this book is to a kid I can only imagine went through something very similar to Nick, hoping that like Nick he'll have a brighter future. When you read something so horrible and crushing like what happened in Nick's family the reactions vary. You can focus on the one at fault and bring him/her down looking for "justice", you can look at the "survivors" and wish them a better life, you can be a prosecutor to everyone at hand, or you can be like Christina and look at a "mistake" someone made yet still be compassionate and truly SEE that person and ache for him as well, because though it's hard to see that person as a victim, we can choose to see him/her first as a human being, one that had his/her world crash down on him/her as well. 

This is exactly what made this book so great and what makes Christina's writing so precious to me. She has the amazing ability to SEE people (imaginary or real), be compassionate and forgiving and bring us a real person, flawed yet deserving of love and true happiness. 

I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 


This book will be out on TODAY 26 June 2017 - Go grab it through the link below. 



Christina Lee

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son-- her two favorite guys. She's addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing. 

She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever- afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul.


Facebook Fan Group "The Swoon Room" / Website / Newsletter / Instagram


Rating:
E-Book
Edition
235
pages
Read on:
20-24 June 2017
  

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