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If You Stay: Courtney Cole

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24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole. 
Seriously. 

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match. 

But he’s got his reasons. 

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count. 

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade. 
So he slipped far, far from it. 

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right? 
Wrong. 

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila. 
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness. 

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it. 

He knows that. And he’s working on it. 

But is that enough to make her stay?






The main characters definitely have the most unromantic and surprising first meeting ever! I was totally shocked and enthralled.


Pax Tate: Tattooed, flawed, pill popping, booze drinking asshole. He is a bad boy, a trust fund baby, used to doing whatever he wants and not answering to anyone. He is also gorgeous, sexy, funny, and can be sweet. But he has a void in his life that he tries to fill in unhealthy ways and he does not even know what he is. He is lost and out of control.

"Are you trying to find some sort of reason that I've become such an asshole? The reason is...I'm an asshole. There are some things in life that can't be explained. Period. Assholes are assholes. Rainbows are pretty. Kittens are cute. Chick flicks are sad. It's the way of things, no explanations."



Mila Hill: Literally saves Pax and is thrust into his life. "She reeks of sunshine and wholesomeness." She is the good girl, good sister, follows the rules, and is not prepared for the whirlwind that is Pax.

She's rambling. And it's cute as hell. I smile. And As I do, I feel like the big Bad Wolf and she's little Red Red Riding Hood. My, what big teeth I have.


She's like a ray of sunshine...and I soak her up. She's got good, healthy energy and I like the way it feels to talk with her. She's like a breath of fresh air. I may be the Big Bad Wolf, but even wolves need to breathe. 



But despite the fact that they are opposites and do not seem to be a good match, they cannot get each other out of their heads.
This is not your typical sweet love story. It is raw and there are harsh situations to deal with. Pax has deep seated issues buried in his past that interfere with his coping mechanisms in the present. He has damaged family relationships, has dealt with loss, and really does not even know what a real relationship means. Mila has her own tragic past and deals with it the best she can. All I know is...I'm drawn to her. She's everything that I'm not and it fascinates the hell out of me. And it fascinates me that she hasn't told me to leave her alone. She seems as entranced by the situation as I am.


Pax: "I don't know. All I know is that ever since I met you, I've wanted to know you...Something about you makes me think that I can be better, maybe even get my shit straight. I haven't felt that way in a very long time. And I feel like I do owe you something."
Mila: "I don't know if it's all that healthy that I'm attracted to you,"..."I've never been attracted to a bad boy before."
 Pax: "Well, I've never wanted to be good before, so I guess it is a first for both of us."


I could not help but feel for Pax even when he was still misunderstood. But it was fun to see Pax try to be the good guy, go on dates, be patient, and be tender. He is also sexy, charismatic, and sarcastic. It is beautiful to see them help each other and open up. Both characters have growth and change throughout the book and when they were good, they were so good. They had electric chemistry and some sexy times. But it is not an easy road for them. Some situations are too hard to take on even with a support system. But Mila was such a genuine and strong woman character and she was just what Pax needed to deal with his issues and realize he did have potential.

But then again, sometimes love has to to put boxing gloves on and be tough in order to survive. Sometimes, you have to do the harder thin..the thing where you let someone grow on their own.


It is a unique, gritty story about facing your past, coping, healing, being open, trusting, and finding redemption. I was drawn into this book from the first page and stayed up til 2 am finishing it because I really just could not put it down. We got have both points of view and it was important to see into their complicated thoughts and intense emotions.


"I'm just not that good at relationships. I haven't had any practice. But if you stay with me, if you stay...I promise that I will never leave you again. I will never shut you out again. I'll put in the work and I'll fix what is broken. I promise."


I am looking forward to book 2 IF YOU LEAVE focusing on Mila's sister Madison. I really liked her in this book and I think she deserves a story of her own. I really enjoyed Courtney Cole's writing style and that she provided realism, emotion, pain, love and happiness and kept you engaged throughout. I loved this story and this couple.

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