Series: Lost Boys
on March 10, 2017
Genres: Adult, Military, Second Chance Romance, Suspense
Damian Tate. One look into his sad green eyes and I was hooked. I wanted to be the one to make him laugh, to make him smile. I hadn't expected him to be the one to make me blush, to make me hot...to make me fall in love. He was my first kiss, my first love, my first everything. I wanted forever with him, but life got in the way.
He enlisted, I went to college, and for years we were never in the same place long enough to pick up where we left off.
Thirteen years after he left, tragedy brings him home. The stoic boy I fell in love with grew into a quiet, dangerous and wildly sexy man. He still tugs on all the right strings for me, but he seems determined to keep me at arm's-length.
However, when trouble comes knocking at my door, he is the one to put himself between that trouble and me.
Spending time with him might drive me insane, or it might be our second chance at first love.
Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
One of the things that really drew me into this story was how the characters had an instant, almost unspoken connection. They just knew what the other needed and no questions asked, gave it. You know the saying, “like recognizes like“, and how some people relate that to their sounds finding one another? To me, it felt like that with these two main characters.
“Three words and I was a goner. I didn’t understand what I felt for this boy nor did I appreciate the uniqueness of it at the time, but I did know that little smile and those three words was all it took for Damian Tate to claim a piece of me that I would never get back.”
So the beginning of the book is set in their teenage years, and the ending is when they are in their early thirties, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t see each other during this time. Small, stolen moments, kisses, touches and glances were what kept these two going for all of those years. The hope and love for what they could be, and even if they couldn’t, just having the other safe and close. There were definitely harboured feelings and these moments didn’t help the characters to move on whatsoever, I think they actually strengthened their relationship. But with this, while the situation was heartbreaking, it was also hopeful. I always had hope for these two finding their way back to one another, that fate would make it happen. It’s almost romantic, in a twisted way. Never being able to give someone up but only ever getting small pieces of them in return.
“He didn’t say anything and neither did I. We had already said everything we needed to. He just held me for a really long time and when he walked away he took my heart with him.”
Have you ever started a book and known right away that you were going to fall in love with it? That was me while reading Devil You Know. But before I get to that, one of the first pages had a drawing of Damian’s tattoo. HOLY CRAP I needed a warning, LOL! I started this book late at night while sitting in the dark. I was a little scared for a second. I was hooked by the prologue. Enamoured by chapter one. Heartbroken by chapter two. Aching by chapter three. Crying by chapter four. Shall I go on? Angst is my thing. I love it. But for those who aren’t huge angst lovers, don’t fret, because you do get a reprieve. It’s more so just the beginning which is heavy laden, but with good reason. After the first few chapters it gets easier. But all in all, beginning, middle and end, it was as good, if not better, than I had hoped for.
Now, let’s talk about POV, and this is going into two parts. My first thought was that I really liked how it was not only dual POV, but how it changed rather frequently. You didn’t have to sit through an entire chapter before you got back to the other character. I think this was not only important but an extremely strategic decision given how many years there two spent apart and how they lead two different lives for so long. This way, you got to see what was happening with both of them and how their relationship effected the other. On the flip side to this, readers, be sure to pay attention at the begging of the chapters! The graphic will indicate which character’s POV is starting. Coffee cup for Thea, dog tags for Damian.
“Wherever you are, the places you go, the horrors you’ll see, the people you’ll befriend, please remember me…remember the girl with the crazy hair who is thinking about you every day. You’re not alone, Damian.”
At first, I just assumed that this was going to be a military book that focused on PTSD when the hero finally came home. I mean, I kind of have a right to expect that, do I not? Most of the military or military inspired books that I’ve read are sort of along those lines. But it’s so completely different that I was both floored and super excited. The hero is haunted because of what he believes he is, not because of what he’s done. The military was his solace, his place to belong and become a leader. It truly shaped him into the protective, observant, alpha, swoony package that he is. The military was a way for him to find himself and give him purpose. He became harder, stronger, and created a skill set to be rivalled by the best. The military was more so to explain and show how he became the man he is, rather than be the focus of the book which was a different take than normal but one that I really enjoyed.
One of the main things to tug at (*cough* rip out *cough*) my heart strings were the letters that Thea and Damian exchanged. Now I need to emphasize this. It is no where near the same as Dear John. Yes, he’s in the military. That’s about the only similarity. They are few and far between, but each letter broke my heart more and more. I couldn’t believe all of the pain these two had while trying to let go of each other. So incredibly sad.
“The only thing worse than a life without you, is a world without you in it. Remember me like this. Just like this and know I’m remembering you.”
In the same thought, can I please just give a round of applause to our service men and women? And besides them, the family that are waiting for them at home. I can’t imagine what these would be like. I don’t think I’d be a strong enough person to handle all of this pressure and worry all the time, so I have that much more respect for these people and their families for what they go through.
So while this book covers a lot of ground over the years while the characters are separated, there is still a majority of it set in the present day, so don’t worry, you see plenty of these characters interacting. When they’re finally in the same place at the same time again, my heart basically sighed. I was so excited for them to have a chance together.
This is the type of story that shows a large portion of the characters lives, so sit back and prepare for over a decade with these two. I love how it started as a young adult age group. I have a huge soft spot for YA and it’s one of my biggest guilty pleasures. There’s an innocence and a charm to it. Damian, while still quite and controlled, absolutely had this charm on display. Like Thea, I couldn’t help but to be drawn to him. Even at a young age, there was always a tension and an energy between these two. I FREAKING LOVED seeing this as a constant when they got older. Sparks and tempers flew because there was so much energy. Because of this, Damian at times goes from hot to cold. At first, I was a bit confused and couldn’t really understand why. But when the pieces fell together, wow. He was still that vulnerable boy that Thea first met. He was still battling his past everyday. He was trying to be a protector to those who he loved.
“I love you, but sometimes love isn’t enough. Be happy. Live your life, Thea, and know there’s a man out there who remembers you…will always remember you.”
Along those same lines, I want to touch in a bit of an underlying theme. Family doesn’t always mean blood. You don’t get to choose your family, they’re just there. They could be the best, or most miserable people in your life, and we saw both sides of that coin in this story. What the important part is, is that you can create your own family from those of your own choosing. Even without meaning to, Damian created his own family, and the one of Thea and Cam grew exponentially. Family is everything. Blood is not. It was truly spectacular seeing everyone come together and their love for one another. From the main characters to Anton, Cam, Kimber and Ryder, Mic and Razor, Rosalie, the list goes on.
Thea was such a fantastic character. Not only was she honest, smart and kind, but she was extremely charming, witty, and at times, sarcastic. I loved her sense of humour! I feel like she would be the type of girl I would normally hang out with. Plus she was so understanding, levelheaded, and smart about everything that was going on.
“Have you ever thought about following in your old man’s footsteps? You have a knack for reading people.”
“Becoming a cop? There are a couple of problems with that idea. First, you know my feelings about running, so chasing down a suspect is not going to happen. And blue is not a good color on me.”
I have always loved romantic suspense novels and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t read enough of them. But then I remembered why. I’m a stickler for plot. I sniff out holes, obvious answers and slip ups like a bloodhound, so it has to be a well thought out and meticulously executed plot to keep me guessing while trying to fit all the pieces together. Considering I loved this book, I sure you can deduce quite quickly that the author did just that. So bravo, LA! I’m giving a standing ovation to you. It was complex but easy to follow. The reader never has to guess where the characters are drawing their ideas or conclusions from and the entire dynamic makes sense.
“I cracked the door to my bedroom and smelled coffee. Someone broke into my apartment and started brewing coffee? There was a part of me that had to give the home invader points for having their priorities straight, but that was my coffee. Damn it. I smelled bacon and that was the last straw. Fear gave way to anger. It was one thing to break into someone’s home and kill them, but you were stepping over the fucking line eating their bacon and drinking their coffee.”
There were a few scenes (in particular, the more intense ones) that I think could’ve benefitted from some more detail. Nothing major, but they moved fast and I found myself having to reread to make sure I understood all that was happening.
“Who’s your friend, Thea?”
Seriously? Her too?
“Who? Him? I don’t know. We just left the bank at the same time.”
As I hoped, her attention snapped to me and she glared. “And that’s why he’s standing here with you now.”
“I think he’s a little slow,” I whispered then added, “I didn’t want to be rude.”
“I’m sorry for my daughter, Damian. I really did try to teach her manners, but she is just so damn stubborn.”
For me, the perfect (Ha! See what I did there?) song to emulate this book is Perfect by Ed Sheeran. Between starting out young and the love spanning ages, to an unsure hero, his angel and a soul sweeping, dive in head first kind of love, I really get a Damian and Thea vibe from this song. I’ve only included the first verse, but really, each verse is amazing for them.
I found a love for me
Darling, just dive right in and follow my lead
Well, I found a girl, beautiful and sweet
Oh, I never knew you were the someone waiting for me
‘Cause we were just kids when we fell in love
Not knowing what it was I will not give you up this time
But darling, just kiss me slow
Your heart is all I own
And in your eyes you’re holding mine
I LOVE Anton! Seriously! What’s not to like? Even early on he reminded me so much of Lucien Black, then I was thrilled to see the connection between them. This guy is such an enigma and I’m so enchanted by him, I can’t wait to see what his character will bring to the table when he gets his own book! I feel like I need to start a countdown now.
Everyone loves different things about books and that’s freaking fantastic. Some want an alpha. Others like swoony and charming. Kick ass heroines, rockstar, sports romance, etc. But if I could pick my favourite thing to read, it’s angst. I LOVE having my heart ripped out of my chest. Tear it to shreds, stomp it in the dirt. When an author makes me feel an ache this strong, that’s my favourite part.
“I want a lifetime, Thea.”
“We’ll start with that.”
I was only a quarter of the way into Devil You Know and I’d already had tears. My heart hurt. I was so insanely crazy about this story that I wanted to press a big ‘pause’ button on my life so I could do nothing but read about Thea and Damian. And wow, what a journey they had. LA Fiore put her heart on the pages and it shows – it’s her best work yet! Devil You Know is heartbreaking, yet hopeful. Beautiful, yet scarring. This is not a story to miss. Buy it. Buy now!
*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.