I just finished and I am still reeling over it. This book? THIS is why I read. Books where I can not only read, but live through. I Stand Before You is THAT book. The emotions. The FEELS. Everything.
"As I stand before you, judge me not."
Chase Gartner spent four years of his young life in prison because of a very stupid mistake. He was into partying, girls, and drugs. Fast forward four years later and he is released. As he lives in the small town where everyone knows what happened, he tries to turn things around by living life and proving everyone wrong-he will not go down the same road again. He vows to work on being close to his mom and rebuilding a relationship with his younger brother, Will. Kay Stanton has an unthinkable tragic past that haunts her with guilt daily. Kay finds friendship in Chase. They connect on such a deep level. The moment they meet, they sense the sadness in the other. While Kay knows about bad boy Chase. Chase has no idea the guilt she carries. While both swear to just friendship, they both find that life is never the same.
"Kay is a sandcastle on the beach, and I am a fucking hurricane. I'd not only wash her away. I'd fucking destroy her"
Chase warns Kay to stay away. That he's trouble. However Chase and Kay connect like no other. They gravitate towards each other. It was inevitable. This has to be the most genuine and beautiful love story where two best friends fall completely, irrevocably in love. Their friendship,day by day, grew stronger and stronger healing every open wound they both had. They shared the deepest and darkest part of themselves with each other. Their love? It conquered all.
"You help me in ways I can't even begin to explain. You make me want to live to embrace life even. I was barely surviving before I met you."
Chase's past comes back to haunt him. While it hurts Kat, she does not judge. She loves him, hard. Beyond reason. While Kay knows everything about Chase. He is left in the dark about Kay's secret. She is scared that she will lose the only person that means the most to her-Chase. When he does find out? It. Is. Powerful. Even in the most painful moments, you feel Chase's love for Kay and vice versa. She laid her soul bare to him. And instead of running away from her he ran towards her loving her with every fiber in his being. He is the epitome of a soulmate. Chase's love is the kind that someone is destined for. And that someone without a doubt is Kay.
"You give me strength, even when we're not together. You save me...you'll always save me, baby girl. Just knowing you love me like you do."
The author took the two most damaged souls and turned it into something beautiful. Watching them fall in love with my favorite part of the book. Every word uttered. Every touch. I FELT it. These characters love with such a passion that you rarely experience in books. Their love was consuming and deeply rooted. They faced their inner demons, pushed through pain and guilt. Through each other they learned how to love. That they were worthy of love. That love belongs in their hearts, no matter how broken they are. Their love prevailed. It never faltered. They put love above all things. Always.
"His pain resonates in my own heart, it wraps around my soul, mingling with my own deeply rooted pain"
I loved the effortless and flawless writing style. The story is told from both the POVs of Chase and Kay. It is told in a inner dialogue manner. We truly get to see and experience everything from both sides. Their love. Their pain. Their triumph. As I said before, you will not read this book. You will live it. You will savor it. You will love it.
"You're in my soul, Kay"
Do you hear that? That's my heart still beating over this story. Not sure words can truly begin to describe how much I truly loved this story. Love is the most powerful thing that exists. It forgives. It heals. I Stand Before You attests to that. Love finds the person that puts your shattered pieces back together. Chase and Kay are one of my favorite couples ever and I am so glad their story is far from over. The story doesn't end on a cliffy. You just know there's so much more to come. I can go on and on about this story. If you are looking for a story that is full of raw and genuine emotion, look no further than I Stand Before You. It will consume you. Your thoughts about love and life are challenged. This beautiful, emotional, thought provoking story is one of my favorite reads this year.
"And where there's life, forgiveness always has a chance to prevail"
S.R. Grey is the author of the bestselling novel Harbour Falls, as well as Willow Point and Wickingham Way, all novels in A Harbour Falls Mystery series. She is also the author of I Stand Before You, the first novel in the Judge Me Not series (New Adult/Contemporary Romance genres).
Ms. Grey resides in western Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, as well as an MBA. Her background is in business, but her passion lies in writing.
She is currently working on Never Doubt Me, the second novel of the Judge Me Not series. Expected publication: Spring 2014.
Other interests include reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams.
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