RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Who Needs Air by Cassie Graham

Title – Who Needs Air
Author – Cassie Graham
Publication Date – April 28, 2017

They fell in love at thirteen.
He wrote a book about it at twenty.
She watched him walk away at twenty-three.
And he made the New York Times Best Sellers list at twenty-four.

Campbell ‘Cam’ Potter stood idly by as August Wyatt took over the world one word at a time. Chapter by chapter, people fell in love with the story he created – the events she lived. And now the book was being made into a movie, it was only a matter of time before August was back in their small hometown in Georgia.

The problem was, when August left five years ago, Cam made a promise to herself. The ending in his book would be the conclusion to their story. There was no sequel, no second chance, no possibility of ever seeing him again. He obliterated her heart and she was determined to never let it happen again.

That is, until Cam gets a late night text from the heartbreaker himself.
New chapters are written, fresh storylines are explored and Cam and August find a familiarity in one another.

Sometimes THE END doesn’t mean it’s over.

Once again, Cassie Graham has mystified me with characters I couldn’t get enough of in a storyline that I wanted to jump into. Who Needs Air took a little bit of everything I absolutely love about the romance genre and wrapped it in a pretty bow for me to unwrap. I fell pretty quickly in those initial moments and the story only got better from there!

“The only thing that matters is August. His words. His hands. His promises. His passion.”

Graham’s characters are incredibly charming and hard not to fall in love with. I came to admire our heroine, Campbell, for her fierce independence and the way that she trusted her heart. She had almost an intuitive nature and felt so sure of herself in the decisions she made and where she wanted to end up. Then you had our wordy stud, August, who just stole the show. The way that he loved Campbell and wasn’t afraid to express it or the way that he was so worried about telling their story in the perfect manner melted my heart time and time again. Even in those struggling moments (where I wanted to do some serious cussing out of the author), something kept me tethered to him. Whether it was the second, fifth, or tenth time falling in love, I have a feeling that these two characters would always find their way back to each other. There’s something about their devotion and loyalty that screams timeless, and I adored every single second of it.

“He’s water and I’m air. So different, yet neither of us can live without the other. We’re deadly, but we’re also life-giving. I’ll drown in him if I allow myself and he might not survive without me.”

Not only are the characters fresh and fun, but Cassie Graham’s writing has grown leaps and bounds! From those first few chapters, I could clearly see a development in everything from her word choice to the imagery she created in her scenes. She wasn’t just telling a story with Who Needs Air, she was enchanting readers down a rabbit hole, breathing that very essence of air into them. She was immersing those readers into this love, bringing the world to life for us to be a part of. I always look for growth when I pick up a subsequent book from an author I’ve previously read, but I can honestly say I was struck speechless (and in complete awe) at just how much Graham has learned and applied these techniques in this brand new novel.

“With her hair out of its previously perfect up-do and makeup a mess, her beauty was a force to be reckoned with. She didn’t even have to try. She just… was.”

Who Needs Air is a second chance at love, but cleverly giving readers a chance to fall in love for the first time too. Through perfectly timed flashbacks, I became addicted to the romance between Campbell and August and needed to see how everything would end up. It comes as no surprise that I truly loved this story, along with every grin, every heart flutter, and every lip-biting piece of ansty romance that it delivered on. Trust me when I say that Who Needs Air is Graham’s best work to date and you won’t want to miss it!

Bringing my body into his with a tug, he squeezes my shoulders. Only, this hug feels different. It doesn’t feel like all the other ones we’ve shared since he came back into town. I’m baffled at first, my arms locked around his torso. He doesn’t let me free and I think he may need this. I think he might need me. He sighs, his face falling into the crook of my neck and I finally understand why it’s so different. I don’t know why it took me so long, but my heart soars and my grip tightens. I force my eyelids closed and I breathe him in, using every ounce of my ability to give him back what he’s offering me so willingly.

He doesn’t have to say the words, but I hear them loud and clear. He’s been looking for someone to care about him in this town. Not someone to fawn over him or tell him what he wants. I’ve shown him that even without the book, he’s still important and this gesture – his foreign and surprising hug – is his way of telling me he appreciates it.

He clutches the back of my neck, his signature grasp, and breathes me in as I cling to his sweater, willing my eyes to stay closed. If I look at him or our reflection in the mirror above the headboard, I’m going to lose it.

Sighing contently, he pulls back and I do the same, opening my eyes.

“Night,” he offers with a smile, bringing his lips to my forehead for a split second before turning around and sufficiently closing me out, unzipping his bag.

I blink a few times, speechless as I watch him pull his sweater up and over his head, tossing it on the bed. His muscles strain and the dimples just above his pant line are so pronounced, my fingers ache to touch them. I turn away, reminding myself that we’re just friends. Friends only, Cam. Hands off. No touching his back dimples. It’s inappropriate and…oh, God, he’s unbuckling his pants.

Walking out of the door with embarrassed haste, I close it behind me.

My skin, tingling and hot, I trace my forehead with my fingertips. The prickle of his kiss still evident. Eager to erase the aftereffect of his touch, I scrub my head like a moron, accidentally creating a deep red spot. It doesn’t help. My skin scorches for long minutes.

After changing into pajamas, I climb into bed and wrap myself in the comforter. I need to sleep and forget the last three hours happened.

Just as I’m about to shut my eyes, my phone goes off with a text message.

August: Tonight was exactly what I needed.

Another one comes in.

August: You’re still so important to me. Please don’t ever forget that.

I chew on my lip and study the words until they become indecipherable. Turning on my side, I plug my phone into the charger and close my eyes.

I’m in so much trouble.

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Cassie Graham is a sassy redhead who lives in Arizona with her handsome husband and beautiful daughter. If she isn’t shoulder-deep in writing a book, you can find her watching Supernatural or reading a delicious romance by one of her many talented friends. She likes front porch sitting in her pink rocking chair, drinking Moscato, chocolate, reading books with her daughter and constantly dating her husband.

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