A broken woman . . .
Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior, and carries within her a deep mistrust of men who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.
A man in need of help . . .
Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness about him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.
Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .
Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world that had stolen everything from them would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.
“‘Because, Ellie,’ he said, and his voice was filled with so much resolve it made me blink in surprise, ‘I win every time I’m bold in how I love. I want to say I win a hundred times a day, a thousand, by loving the sunrise, and the wind, and the way raindrops sounds on my window.’ he paused, his thumb moving lightly over my cheekbone, caressing my face like I was precious. ‘And you, most of all, you, I want to look at you and say, one evil man did not stop me from presenting my heart to the girl who claimed it. You get my heart, Eloise. You. And, God, I hope you want it. But if you don’t, I still won’t regret giving it to you. Even then, I won’t regret loving you because it means I win.'”
The publisher generously provided a early finished copy of this book to me, and I was so excited because I am a huge Mia Sheridan fan! Most of All of You is truly a love story that fills you up with so much hope. It is beautifully written with amazing depth to the characters.
The Story. It opens up with a prologue from Ellie’s POV about a significant event in her life that altered the way she handled things emotionally. Several years later we find Crystal trying to make ends meet by stripping until Gabriel walks into her life. She notices him the first time he comes in to the Platinum Pearl because she knows he doesn’t belong there, but the funny thing is is that he doesn’t believe she belongs there either. A twist of fate had Gabriel walking into the Platinum Pearl to try and move on from his own past trauma, and in no way expected to meet Crystal. This was very much a story about two people healing each other and trying to find the courage to go through with this epic love they find themselves drawn to.
Crystal/Ellie. Oh Ellie. This girl learned from a young age that life can hand you a shit hand sometimes. Growing up, all Ellie wanted was to be loved and wanted by someone because those who were supposed to decided not to give it. Eventually, Ellie learned how to detach herself emotionally from any physical contact with men in order to endure it for her job. This protective measure is stripped away when Gabriel seeks out her help despite her best efforts to make him go away. Circumstances have Ellie a lot closer to Gabriel than she would’ve liked, but, with no other way around it, she reluctantly accepts his help. Ellie finds herself lost and confused about who she is, and who she wants to be. Gabriel is showing her how things can be, but she isn’t sure if she can simply let them.
Gabriel. You sweet, sweet man. Gabriel was another young child who learned that the simple things in life can be taken away in a heartbeat. All Gabriel wanted was to be able to be physically close to people, specifically women, again, which is how he finds himself in a strip club, Platinum Pearl. He finds himself enamored with Crystal because he can see right through the facade she puts up for her job. Gabriel knows in his gut that Crystal is special and will do anything to keep her. He finds himself with a new houseguest after Crystal suffers from a beating that took place outside the strip club. With Ellie this close, Gabriel begins to see all the cracks in her armor, and falling in love with her anyway.
The Relationship. This is a love story above all else, and it flows in spades throughout this book. These two are trying to find themselves and move on from the trauma of their pasts. One is finding the courage to be close physically to people again, while the other is finding the courage to be close emotionally to people again. Gabe and Ellie are beautiful together and so accepting of each other. I loved reading their story. Yes, there are a couple love scenes, but they are not raunchy. They are epically beautiful and so full of tenderness, which these two need after all they have been through. They find the strength to stand on their own two feet, but also leaning on each other when needed. This is definitely one of my favorite love stories of the year. And the epilogue was beyond perfect!
I highly recommend this book for this who love: love stories, broken heroines who find the strength to build themselves back up again, and sweet heroes who find love in the most simplest of things.
Overall Rating: ★★★★★/★★★★★