(No Regrets #1)
by Lauren Blakely
Published: November 21, 2013, Lauren Blakely
Published: November 21, 2013, Lauren Blakely
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
Harley craved Layla, and the one time the two worlds came to close, Harley was being blackmailed in to giving Layla up. Her last sexual encounter before her forced abstinence, was with a tattoo artist named Trey. They had talked and shared an experience she would not lightly forget, and when his is the first face she sees the next night at the first meeting of her Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous group, she wonders if fate had a hand.
From the time he was a teenager, Trey had buried his feelings in meaningless sexual encounters, preferably with older women looking for a temporary stud. They would get a young buck with a lot of stamina, who knew how to please a woman, and Trey would be able to hide from his pain for a little while. He never became emotionally attached, until he met Harley, she was unlike the other women. She was much younger than most of the others and Trey actually had a lot in common with her. He had a hard time letting her walk away.
When Trey and Harley met up at the meeting they knew they could not have any kind of physical relationship for a year and settled for friendship. They talked. A lot. And Harley was able to share everything about her life, her problems and her choices with Trey. He is the only one who knows all of her. And although it is not something her is used to talking about, Trey finds he wants to share his past with Harley as well. As they become closer emotionally, it becomes more difficult to keep their hands off each other. But before they can give love free reign, there are temptations to overcome and blackmail to neutralize....
Wow!! That was intense, and dark, and beautifully written.
This book is the first in a series and as such we are left with a slight open ending. Don't get me wrong.....it IS a HEA....for now at least, but you can tell we are not done.....
It is written in the POV of both Harley and Trey, which goes a long way in unraveling some of the plot that reveals itself slowly over the course of the book. Don't expect to find out in chapter one, what the backstory is, cause you are not going to get it. In fact the placement of some of the characters in the story does not become clear until the last phase of the book.
There is definitely heat in this story, a lot of it is a building sexual tension, but there is most definitely a climax to the tension.....or should I say climaxes? Plentiful!! And since one was a virgin while the other was a playa...it makes for an interesting coupling...and that's all I'm gonna say bout that!!
“The guy from last night who inked my shoulder, and kissed my body, and who gave me something I’ve never felt before – touch without agenda. A true and real want. He didn’t want anything more from me than me. It was such a foreign feeling, but such a wondrous one.”
Harley has a very warped idea of emotions, feelings. Something she was conditioned in and not something that is easily elimated by rationalizing alone. She even has to learn to recognize feelings for what they are in herself. All this is paired with an important phase in maturing, the separation from the security of the parental figure(s). A leap of faith on all fronts for her.
“She’s a girl. And I only know women, and I only know sex. I don’t know what to do with someone who’s not a game, a conquest, a way to numb the pain. With her, I’d have to be myself, to be honest, and truthful, and let her all the way in.”
Although Trey has not found security with his parents for a long time now, he still hasn't given up hope for a spark of a connection. So for him, letting go is part of the growth that needs to take place, as well as giving a voice to the pain that is so deeply hidden and has never been allowed to see light. He recognizes his feelings for Harley but is afraid of what it means.
"It's hard to stay away from the fix. Because the fix feels good. The fix takes away the pain. the fix mends the hole in the heart."
Lauren Blakely's writing is amazingly insightful and beautifully worded. Some of the phrasing is just phenomenal and should be framed!! The quotes I have used are some of my favourites, but to be honest, I could have used almost the entire book, there just is so much..... But the following is my absolute favorite;
"All I hope is that you can someday know that love doesn't have to be a brutal, bitter, power game. Love can be the ugly beautiful."
A gorgeous and accurate description of love...and life: "ugly beautiful". Because it is. Warts and all.
✨Brilliantly perceptive, highly sensual redemptive story with a dark edge✨
**ARC provided in return for an honest review.**