Title: Breaking Skin
Author: Debra Doxer
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 20, 2016
“Deep down, we all want a no-matter-what kind of love.”
Dancing is like magic. It makes me disappear. When I dance I’m not a sister or a daughter, not a lover or a friend. I exist in the moment, onstage, where I turn pain into art and pretend the illusion is real. My past is an abomination and my future is unwritten, but my present is pure, fluid, and focused. I’m content, or at least I think I am, until the night I meet a man who makes me want more.
He’s broken, just like me, but in different ways. He’s older and nothing like the men I’m used to. Compared to him, they’re all boys, immature and insipid, while he’s a force of nature, confident and virile. Virile is a word I’ve never used before, and I only use it now because he embodies it so completely.
At first, he fights the attraction between us almost as hard as I do. But when words like destiny and soulmate whisper through my thoughts, how can I ignore them? He can have any girl he wants, but he looks at me as if I’m the girl he’s waited for his whole life. How can I tell him I’m not that girl?
I wish I were enough for him, wish I were whole. But beneath my facade, I’ve been falling to pieces for a long time, and I don’t know if I’m strong enough to resist the downward momentum.
"I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This author never fails to amaze me. With her stories. Her characters. With her words. Breaking Skin is a profound love story.
“There are certain events in your life that leave an indelible mark. They change you because they write themselves on your soul.”
It takes one moment for someone to imprint themselves on your heart. And that’s what happened to Cole and Nikki. They were both out one night, trying to forget the downward spiral their lives were currently going through. They spotted each other across the room. And sparked a conversation. But something else was sparked that night. That passionate night was something neither one would ever forget. And two years later, they find themselves facing each other again. But circumstances are different. Life is hard. Things are complicated. The one thing that still remains is that the connection felt two years ago? It’s still there. Stronger than ever.
“How is it that you can make me feel so good when everything is such a mess?”
Cole and Nikki are two broken people. Although broken in different ways, they find solace in each other. Cole sees Nikki as the beautiful ballerina who steals his heart on and off the dance floor. He is drawn to her selflessness. In his world, everyone looks out for themselves. In her world, she looks after everyone else. Her passion for life and love for others is that allows him to fall for her. And Cole? He is strength. He’s a testament to love and its power to save. Nikki doesn’t feel so helpless with him around. He sees the beautiful and strong person she tries to hide.
“Because we make each other stronger. The two of us together could slay dragons if we had to."
The emotions in this book are palpable. Deeply moving. Powerful. The author is phenomenal at allowing the readers to understand the deep pain Nikki feels. She is lighter when she dances. Her heart isn’t as heavy. She can put all her feelings of turmoil and anger into her dance. It makes her feel alive. Cole embodies love and everything love can get through. Their love is tested and challenged. But what’s destined to be never falters. It endures.
“With every step, you held my heart in the palm of your hand. When you stopped dancing, it still belonged to you. It does belong to you.”
The writing style is what lured me in as a reader. I read it in one sitting. I was unable to stop reading, as the author masterfully crafted a compelling and heartfelt story. I love that this author always puts her own spin on her contemporary romance stories. Nothing is ever the same. The characters are genuine, relatable. The storyline is a little mysterious to keep your attention, but addicting all the same. Breaking Skin was heartbreakingly beautiful. A definite must read for every fan of contemporary romance.
“I enjoyed watching you dance. You move like poetry.”
“What can I do to help?” he asks.
“You can kiss me.”
Cole goes still.
Wide-eyed, I gaze up at him. I can’t believe I just said that. God knows I want to kiss him.
“It doesn’t have to be anything more,” I say when he doesn’t move. “Just a simple kiss to relieve the tension, because we want to, because it will feel good. It doesn’t have to be a complication.”
Surprise flickers in his eyes as they search mine. He licks his lips but still he hesitates, and I want to scream in frustration. Where’s the Cole I met two years ago, the one who homed in on me like a laser at Blackburn’s? The one who in his own quiet way made it impossible to refuse him.
Before I can think better of it, I push up onto my toes and wrap my arms around Cole’s neck, pushing my body flush against his.
“Please,” I whisper, ashamed that I have to beg but willing to do it anyway.
His jaw flexes and thoughts war behind his eyes, but finally his arms come around me as his lips slant over mine. He pulls me closer, and when his hand fists in my hair and gently tugs my head back to deepen the kiss, I’m lost to him.
Cole takes control and there’s no slow buildup, no gradual descent. Passion consumes us, and it wouldn’t matter if a tornado came tearing through the yard. I wouldn’t notice. But somehow Cole keeps his wits about him. He drags his mouth from mine.
“Langley,” he says, his gaze focused above my head toward the slider into the kitchen. Thinking quickly, he moves us to the side, out of view.
“Did she see?” My heartbeat is frantic, my body strung tight.
“I don’t think so.”
We stand there and catch our breaths together. He rests his chin on my head because neither of us have relaxed our arms. We still have them wrapped around each other.
“A kiss between us is complicated, Nikki. Let’s not fool ourselves.”
Slowly, I unwind my arms from his neck. “Why? Because of Renee?”
He leans back to look at me. “Because of us. Because of how this feels.”
This feels incredible, but I can already sense him pulling away. He’s shutting down again, and my racing heart beats even faster because I’m going to ask the question that hangs between us. The one reason I’m most afraid is the source of his hesitation.
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”
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