Title – Fighting to Breathe
Author – Aurora Rose Reynolds
Publication Date – July 6, 2015
Series – Shooting Stars, #1
Lea Lamb and Austin Wolf were young when they fell in love. They never imagined the future could hold anything other than together-forever.
When Lea’s father dies in a tragic fishing accident, she’s crushed under the weight of her grief and catches a glimpse of another type of future, one she knows she’s not strong enough to face.
Austin is angry. For the past fifteen years, he’s believed the woman he loved with every ounce of his soul left him without so much as a backwards glance.
When Lea unexpectedly returns to their hometown, all the years of heartache inside Austin bubbles to the surface and presents itself as blinding rage.
Faced with the truth about the past, a newly discovered secret, these former lovers will learn that if they want to have any chance at the future they’d given up on all those years ago, they will have to rescue one another from drowning in pain so debilitating it will leave them both fighting to breathe.
Fighting to Breathe is a quick, sweet read that you can lose yourself in for an evening. This book was a great reprieve from the emotionally charged and intense dark romances I’d encountered lately, projecting an overall lightness that was most welcome. There is something about this story that just felt peaceful. Fighting to Breathe is truly a story of coming home, letting go, accepting love, and starting over. This second chance romance wasn’t overly complicated or teeming with angst. Fighting to Breathe was simply a love story about two people who had to grow up and learn to live with the inevitable tragedies of life before finding their way. Lea and Austin’s story was satisfying in its substance and relatability, making Fighting to Breathe a smooth, relaxed read that flowed effortlessly.
“…we’re inevitable, Lea, and I know you feel it too. I’m drawn to you in a way that even if fifty years passed, I would still crave you on a primal level.”
Lea was a character that was very easy to connect with. Aurora Rose Reynolds wrote her with a vulnerability that felt entirely genuine. Her experiences had so clearly shaped the way in which she saw the world and the manner in which she handled relationships. Despite her fears and constant struggle for most of the story, she never felt weak or whiny. She was simply a woman experiencing a lifetime of heartache in a short period of time on top of a loss she’d never properly grieved. Lea had a fragility about her that made my heart hurt, but then the ache would lessen with the realization of her ability to keep going and the inherent strength she demonstrated. Austin’s heart carried its own cracks, and his inability to hide his true feelings tore at me while the incredible kindness and empathy that this demonstrated endeared him to me. Austin had a soothing quality about him that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The way he handled Lea’s return and the strength and support he leant her, had me feeling the warm and fuzzies for him.
“The only times I have ever been afraid in my life have been the times I’ve been forced to think of a future without you.”
Fighting to Breathe wasn’t action packed or outright thrilling, but it carried a sense of believability in its simplicity. This story was very much something you’d encounter in your own world, wherever that may be. Aurora Rose Reynolds wrote characters that could easily be someone you know in situations that we’ll all experience in our lives. This absolute relevancy gave Fighting to Breathe an emotional weight and social significance that is undeniable. This book moved rather quickly, building on the past relationship between our characters, which is what made it such a quick read. While their extensive history, at least the glimpses of it we were given, was sufficient to move their story forward, I would have liked to know a bit more about their past and the time they spent apart. The secondary characters, specifically Rhonda and Ben added to the story, giving Lea and Austin’s journey a sense of wholeness. I’m hoping we’ll get to hear their story sometime in the future. Fighting to Breathe is an enjoyable, tranquil reading experience that will leave your heart filled with the warmth of fated love.
From the moment I saw the cover of Fighting to Breathe by Aurora Rose Reynolds, I wanted to dive in and get lost between the pages. The synopsis described one of my favorite scenarios, second chance romance, which pushed me further over the ledge. Now that I finished this super quick read, I’m definitely glad that I judged this novel by the cover. It’s a beautiful love story with a unique setting and characters who experience their share of heartbreak and loss.
“I miss you, even when you’re in the next room.”
I think the best thing about these characters was that, as someone who has been in love, I could feel their desires seeping through the pages. There were so many issues that Lea left unresolved, particularly with her long-time boyfriend, Austin. In the meantime, he had spent fifteen years resenting Lea and being angry for leaving him the way that she did. I fell into the trap of watching them struggle and fight through their conflicting emotions. While readers could see that they each still loved the other, it was heartbreaking to watch them find that balance of developing a new trust, while still respecting their own fears.
“Not this time, not when the love I felt for her then is nothing compared to what I feel now. So don’t think I don’t want her, that I don’t want back what was stolen from us, because I do.”
While I loved their story and the flow of their relationship, I wish that some of the conversations these characters had went a little deeper. At times, Austin felt like a caveman asserting himself; and there were instances that it was what Lea needed, but there were other times I felt like I needed more meat and heart. I wanted to get more of that battling of the issues, rather than just the face value of being able to fall back into their old ways. It had been fifteen years so I would presume these characters had a lot to catch up about and reacquaint themselves with. Furthermore, there were several editing issues – a couple of them glaringly obvious – which I have a hard time with in books.
“I’m alone, adrift at sea, fighting to breathe, with no one there to rescue me.”
Overall, I truly enjoyed Lea and Austin’s story in Fighting to Breathe by Aurora Rose Reynolds. There was a spark between the characters which created somewhat of a desperation inside me to see where their story would go. I really appreciated the Epilogues and getting all loose ends tied between Lea and Austin. I would definitely recommend this feel-good love story to other reasons, and will probably attempt to get a signed copy on my shelf!
“CAN WE STOP by the liquor store on the way to dinner?” Mom asks from the passenger seat of my car.
“Should you be drinking?” I frown then turn onto the main road—well, really the only road in town.
“What’s it going to do, kill me?” she jokes, making me inhale a sharp breath. “Honey,” she says quietly, and I look at her briefly, wondering how the hell she can be so casual about this. “I’m dying. When it will happen, only the good Lord knows, but it is happening, and there is nothing you or I can do about it. I have made my peace with it, and I want you to do the same.” She reaches over to pat my thigh.
“Make peace with it?” I repeat, shaking my head in disbelief.
“Yes, make peace with it. If you think about it, I’m lucky. I know I’m going to die. I know that sooner rather than later God is going to come take me home, and when he does, I will be ready. I will have had a chance to say goodbye to the people I care about and right any wrongs I’ve caused. I’m lucky, honey.”
“What about me?” I wring my hands on the steering wheel, feeling my chest get tight as I fight back tears.
“I love you, honey. I loved you before you were even a sparkle in my eye, and I will always be with you. I know this isn’t easy for you. I know there are going to be a lot of tears shed, but we’re lucky, honey.”
I press my lips together to keep from saying something I might regret. I’m not lucky; in fact, I’m unlucky to the tenth power. How many people have I lost, how many people do I have to loose before it’s enough.
“Oh look! Sheryl!” She yells, pulling me from my thoughts as she reaches over, pressing the horn on my steering wheel while her other hand shoots across me so she can wave out my window. Looking to where she’s waving my heart begins to beat wildly
against my ribcage when I see not Sheryl, but Austin walking into one of the many bars that litter Main Street, only it’s not just Austin—it’s him and a woman with her arm wrapped around the back of his waist as he holds the door open for her.
Even from the distance separating us, my lungs compress at the beauty that is him. The years have been good to him. His hair is still shaggy, only now a little lighter; his face is tan and covered in a beard that makes his crystal blue eyes stand out even more. My eyes travel from his face to his torso, which is covered in a dark green thermal that shows off the muscles of his arms, chest, and tapered waist, then down to his denim-covered thighs. When my gaze sweeps back up, his eyes are on me, and I see them crinkle in confusion then realization that soon turns into anger.
“You missed the liquor store,” my mom complains as I speed up.
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Don’t miss the rest of the Shooting Stars series:
Wide Open Spaces (Shooting Stars #2)
One Last Wish (Shooting Stars #3)
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Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.