Title: Break Away
Author: Ellie Grace
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: February 9, 2014
When Olivia Mason catches her fiancé cheating, her life gets turned upside down. With no family and no real place to call home, she heads south for a fresh start in Charleston, South Carolina. Determined to gain her own independence and protect her heart, the last thing she needs is a sexy, tattoo-covered guy to cross her path and test her resolve. Just as she’s beginning to put her life back together, she uncovers a piece of her past that shakes up everything.
Dex Porter has his own demons. A former Marine, he’s haunted by the past and uses whiskey, women and fighting to drown the pain and guilt that consume him. When Olivia arrives in town, he finds himself drawn to her immediately and is surprised by his desire to get to know her. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met but he knows he can’t get close to her without exposing the part of himself that he keeps hidden.
As Dex and Olivia strike up a friendship and fight their attraction to one another, they begin to chip away each other’s walls and help each other heal. However, the past is never far behind and they soon learn that no matter how fast they run, it will always catch up with them.
Break Away tells the story of Olivia and Dex. They are both damaged, struggling to find themselves after life takes away everything they thought they needed to define their existence. Olivia has been burned and just when she swears off men completely, Dex, the cocky and flirtatious player enters her world. Get ready for hilarious innuendos and some feisty comebacks. Olivia and Dex know how to push each other’s buttons and they do not disappoint. This book had me laughing and shaking my head. The chemistry between these two was undeniable, and watching them fight it was like standing in an electrical storm.
“Bottom line: he was unbelievably gorgeous. Then… he opened his mouth.”
Despite the persona he hid behind, I loved Dex as a character. He was complicated and intense yet funny and sweet. He carries secrets that keep him from opening up to anyone. After what he had been through as a Marine who could blame him? Olivia wants to help him heal, but her own past refuses to be left behind. They both prefer to avoid facing the truth, but you can’t move forward with something anchoring you to the past. Dex’s struggle was such a huge part of why I loved this book. Ellie Grace did an amazing job portraying his internal battle that results from the trauma of his time at war. She didn’t just describe his feelings; she made you experience every emotion. Revelations about Olivia had me running the full spectrum of emotions as well. I couldn’t help but shed some tears as my heart ached for Dex and Olivia.
“It was then that I realized I wasn’t the only one with ghosts. We were both anchored to the past, haunted by our own regrets and unable to move forward or let go.”
Break Away had a great cast of secondary characters. We get to see Jake and Nora again (from This Time Around) and enjoy Nora’s blunt questioning of Olivia, her college roommate. Dex’s best friend Nate and sister Amy make sure every attempt Dex and Olivia make at avoiding one another fails miserably. So much for resisting temptation. Then there is Sadie. Sadie is Dex’s niece and like any child, has no filter. She says what is on her mind and asks questions without hesitation which makes for some awkward (and totally funny) moments. Throw in some relatives and co-workers and this colorful crew will keep you entertained and smiling.
“He’s not a carnival ride, Melanie!”
I really enjoyed Ellie Grace’s book This Time Around, but Break Away just took everything to a whole new level. The author’s growth as both a storyteller and writer was clearly evident. The storyline is a bit more complex and the characters are very well developed. The emotional ride this story took me on was raw and real and absolutely beautiful. I loved Dex and Olivia’s story and Ellie Grace told it skillfully.
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Don’t miss the companion novels:
This Time Around