Just Remember to Breathe: Charles Sheehan-Miles

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Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.

Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.

When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.

Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.:

Love meant a lot. It meant everything. It meant nothing.

This is a story that intermingles past and present. It takes you on a heartbreaking journey of lost love, misunderstandings, deep wounds, self doubt, and difficult circumstances. At the core of it are the intense feelings of Dylan and Alex. They met in high school on a trip and during the past several years had several beginnings and endings. The worst of which left them totally out of communication for 6 months. You learn of events through flashbacks and memories. Emotions run high and you are given little snippets of info weaved throughout the story. So there is some mystery and wonder involved while reading it. I immediately was drawn in and wanted to know what she did to make him cut her off completely?

They meet again later at Columbia when they are assigned to work together. Dylan reappears after being wounded in Afghanistan and he is not the same Dylan she knew. But it does not take long for them to be drawn back into each other's lives. But Dylan really struggles with feelings in inadequacy, guilt, lingering issues from his injury, and past mistakes. Dylan is angry, troubled, protective and totally loves Alex. Alex never stopped loving him either, but has been hurt by him often and it is hard to deal with Dylan's volatile behavior and emotions.

The Dylan I'd fallen in love with was gentle and kind. Thoughtful. Funny. He was still all of those things, but had an edge to him that was new and, to be honest, frightening. This was a guy who's carried weapons in a war for most of the last year. This was a man who had killed, who had seen his friends killed in battle. There were depths to him that were all new and scary as hell.

"Where did we go wrong?"
"Don't know if it's because we couldn't let go, or because we let go too much."

They have to learn to trust, to communicate, to accept their own faults and each other's issues. It was hard to see them going through so many emotional situations. I loved seeing Dylan learn to accept what he cannot change and fight for what he wants. 

"Alex I don't need to keep myself safe from you.I don't want to keep myself safe from you. You mean too much to me. I'd rather have a lifetime of heartache, from you breaking my heart, than even imagine my life without you. Because a life without you wouldn't be a life at all."

"Alex, I don't want to date you. I don't want you to be my girlfriend. I don't want to be together for just a little while. I want you forever. I want us to look at each other, and say we love each other, and decide to be together forever.

Even though Dylan had communication issues, he really was a deep feeling, emotional guy and truly loved her. They were really an endearing couple even though they had a rocky road and it was not always easy to have to endure their pain. 

I am about to read about her sister Julia and Crank in A Song for Julia and I can see her sister Carrie and his friend Sherman having their own story as well.


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