14. Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai: Secrets & hidden feelings complicate Gabe & Eve’s affair. Loved the quiet affection in this book: surreptitious supportive touches, quick hand-squeezes, & eyes meeting. Out 3/27 #bkbrk #bookthread https://t.co/9v5qs8BtZQ— Ana Coqui (@anacoqui) February 9, 2018
I had this book on my e-reader for a month before I let myself read it, not because I wasn't looking forward to it but because this series has been fantastic and I really wasn't ready to say goodbye to the Chandlers and Oka-Kanes. I came to this book full of questions and theories and Rai surprised and pleased me at every turn.
"Have you ever wanted something you couldn't have? Her heart thudded. It was like he'd peeked inside her soul and found the one sentence that described her life.
She has the money to buy everything, but the things she wanted couldn't be bought"
Eve Chandler was just a girl when her look-alike mother died in a suspicious accident along with Robert Kane, Livy, Paul & Jackson's father, and the extended family she knew disintegrated under the weight of grief, suspicion and animosity. Trapped at home with an bully of a father, she closed herself emotionally, putting on her best face in public while starving emotionally inside. Inspired by her brother's reconciliation with his long-time love Livy against their father, Brendan's wishes, Eve finally starts making changes in her life, ones she has longed sought to make but feared to because it would make her father notice her, like leaving her cozy position at her mother's charity to strike out on her own.
One of those rebellious choices has her researching a possible business venture by secretly picking up passengers for a ride-sharing service. Unknowingly Gabe, her future's sister-in-law's boss and close friend, has become one of her most regular customers. She hides in her over-sized hoodies, muffles her voice and pretends to be a stranger while ferrying him home after nights at the bar. She knows how incredibly fucked up it is that she lives for the nights she arranges to be there waiting to be his ride home, but she can't stop doing it.
Gabriel Hunter has lived with secrets all his life and the weight of them get heavier and heavier each year. The heaviest right now is how much he wants Eve, yet he knows he doesn't dare cross that line. He grew the adopted son of a cook in the Kane, home. He shared much growing up alongside the Kane kids, but Eve is a Chandler and there is just too much baggage and history tying together their families, never mind a dozen years of age difference to makes it all seem like an incredibly bad idea. But when one by one members of the Kane & Chandler wedding party end up ill or delayed and Gabriel and Eve end up alone in a isolated vacation house, all those very good reasons just seem a lot less important in the face of sly smiles, tempting bathing suits and her vulnerability . While the sex is scorching hot, what killed me was the longing, the furtive hand-grazing, and all the little touches of support and affection that they share before they are ready to let anyone know how they feel about each other, including themselves.
In this series Rai gave us a highly-emotional, piercing story of a family whose secrets, nearly tore them all apart and the courage it took to rebuild it.
No one in these books made it all the right choices, they are not perfect and I rooted for them to find happiness despite family history & dark emotional shadows. Rai's characters are so rich and layered. I loved learning their secrets and seeing them reach for a brighter future, full of love and acceptance. They will have lives full or highs and lows, times of melancholy and anxiety but they will have people who love them, holding their hands each step of the way.
I am not quite ready to let go of this family, but I am hopeful we will see some of these characters again, either in the form of a series following Sadia's little sisters to Gabe's tech-mogul sister.
I received a copy of Hurts to Love You from the publisher for review consideration. It available at all the usual retailers, starting today.