Both personally and professionally, Alexa knows all too well the power of words. Two years after her boyfriend Christophe’s vicious attack, she’s still trying to see herself as more than simply ‘his victim’, still trying to figure out her own story.
After his trial, she moves from New York City to Toronto in an attempt to start over, but his words cling to her and even in a new country she can’t see how to move into relationships with the new people in her life while hiding the secret of Christophe’s worst offense.
She can’t hide that secret from her coworker Jake, though, because the news buff has recognized her from the coverage of the assault and trial and knows every word she can’t bring herself to say about her ordeal.
With Jake’s help, can Alexa reclaim her story and her life?
Alexa was happy in her relationship with Christophe. Sure he was a bit more controlling than she liked but she planned to spend the rest of her life with him. Unfortunately he planned to destroy her. He did this by taking her to an abandoned building, drugging, assaulting and raping her for two days. That was two years ago and the trial has just ended in a guilty verdict for Christophe.
Alexa is so happy it’s over and now she can once again get back to the life that she’s built for herself in NYC over the past two years – that is after the hype had died down and people stopped staring at her. Unfortunately Alexa realizes two things after the trial – A) the trial has dug up the public’s interest and it doesn’t seem to be dying down and B) she really never built a life for herself after the attack. She decides that a change is definitely in order and her boss (who is absolutely wonderful) suggests she move to the Toronto office. Alexa agrees and soon is off to Toronto.
When she arrives and starts work she’s happy she made the change. The office she works in as a book editor is small and the people are all very nice. Her boss, who is her old boss’s daughter, is kind and is the only one in the office who knows what happened to Alexa, or so she thought. Soon after she begins work one of her co-workers, Jake, tells her that he knows who she is from the papers. Not only that but he comes clean about the fact that he was accused of rape once but never charged or convicted. He was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember if the woman said no or not. He honestly believes she didn’t but he wants Alexa to know because of her background. Alexa is happy Jake told her the truth but asks him to stay away from her.
Alexa begins dating Howard who also works in her office. She’s happy she feels she’s moving on but can’t go to fast. She believes Howard when he says it’s ok for him to go slow but one event proves that not to be true and they break up. As the story goes on Jake and Alexa, surprisingly are the ones who create a deep and binding friendship. They can talk to each other and be truthful about their inner emotions without fear of judgment from others. That friendship turns to love as the couple struggle to deal with their individual pasts and help each other move on.
This was a highly emotional book from word one. I’m not normally a fan of books like that but I liked this one because it didn’t give me extraordinary events just to get a rise out of me. This was just the story of one woman who is trying to get back on her feet after a horrific assault and trying to trust anyone, including her own judgment, is incredibly difficult.
Alexa is a truly amazing woman. The horrors that she went through and the constant reminder of that assault that Christophe left with her (he tattooed her thighs and they’re horrible) make it hard to go on with life. I can’t imagine the emotional turmoil of wondering why it happened and what she did wrong to deserve it all but the truth she has to come see is that she did nothing wrong. Christophe was the sick bastard who was so screwed up because of his controlling nature and jealousy that snapped. Alexa does finally get to that point but it’s hard for her. She trusted a man and this is what she got for it – how can she trust again. Luckily she finds a man, Jake, that is always honest with her and despite his past she knows he’s a good guy.
Jake is awesome. I just love that guy. He was in Wardell’s book, Blank Slate Kate, and I loved him then, too. Getting to read more about him in this book and getting more of his story showed me a man who was kind and gentle, honest and caring. His uncertainty about his actions the night he was accused of rape ate at him and he sought to make amends with Alexa’s help. I couldn’t help but like the guy and thought he was perfect for Alexa.
The book is really great and I can’t say enough good things about it. I recommend this one, definitely, but be remember that it is highly emotional. Though it ends well the getting to the “ends well” is a hard road.
Rating: 4 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place