Book Blast and Giveaway: Breaking to Breathe: Lisa N. Paul

Breaking to Breathe
Lisa N. Paul
Book #3 in The Charistown Series
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Released July 10, 2014

Two people so bent they can no longer stand tall... 

With his sexy looks, his seductive dirty talk, and his resident bad boy reputation,

Kyle Marx was the thrill-ride every woman wanted to experience…at least once.

And once is all he’d ever offer. 

Suffocating in his own personal hell, Kyle thought sex, booze, and drugs could numb the pain of his past 

Until an angel challenged him to fight…to feel

After living through a childhood that left her vulnerable and exposed, Cate Lockton mastered the art of blending in instead of standing out. She locked herself away to prevent more damage to her already fractured heart. She never imagined a man with a past more broken than her own would crash into her world and force her to let him in.
Their lives first collided on a stormy night. 
But Danny’s on Main is where they finally connected. A neighborhood bar where strangers become friends, friends become family and some become lovers, and where the strong learn that while you can bend to exist, sometimes you’ve gotta 
Break… so you can Breathe.

“That’s when I knew,” his voice was low and husky. “I knew you were an angel sent to guide me. You’ve come to me in my dreams. And some nights, I’ve hated it, because I never thought I’d feel your touch again. But that night, when you walked into Danny’s, everything changed, Cate.”

He was hollow inside, just a shadow of a man moving through time, using sex as a bandage to temporarily cover the hole where his heart once beat. He didn't share his demons. He ran from them.
Kyle Marx has been on a destructive path with self hate, alcohol, and behavior that eventually nearly killed him. He plays the cocky, arrogant womanizer who numbs his pain with substances and one night stands. His best friends/pseudo family have tried to be there for him, love him, support him and push him to make changes. But they could not save him from his own dangerous path and nearly lost him. During his darkest hour, he finds his Angel. She comes to him when needs it most giving him the will to fight back. This book begins several months after the end of Storm Front, but also takes us back to pertinent events in Kyle's and Cate's points of view. 

Kyle is a broken man crippled by his past, fears, insecurities, and unable to move on. He has hidden his emotional pain away under a facade that eventually broke down. His views on women and relationships are skewed and negative. He takes what he wants,  needs control, and avoids attachments. 

The proverbial bad boy with that the good girls wanted to fix, but he smart women stayed clear of. Stunningly beautiful to a fault on the outside, but to anyone who spent more than a few hours with him between the sheets, they knew that underneath all of the beauty was an uninviting dark cave of blackness.

As Danny's on Main is rebuilt, we see that Kyle has made some recovery physically, but is still in need of change in his personal life and dealing with his issues. But he is angry, guilt ridden, and fearful of facing his past issues and present problems. He is resistant and keeps falling into the same unhealthy behaviors. But his friends will not give up on him that easily. Kyle is one of those characters that appears to be an arrogant, cocky jerk fairly often. And sometimes I wanted to shake him so he could see what he was doing. But then he could also be sweet, tender, and vulnerable. And he had potential to change and be a better man, he just needed a reason. 

He'd spent his whole life bending. Conforming to everyone's needs, he bent to be who they wanted or needed him to be...but he failed at everything. He failed everyone. He bent so far he could not longer hold himself tall...He was a disaster of a person and a mess of a man. He was broken and wanted to finally find peace. 

And when he comes face to face to his Angel, it just might be the catalyst he did not realize he needed. She ends up being a woman named Cate. She has her own dark, hurtful, secretive past. She has  learned to stay in the background and not gather attention. She is as guarded and not interested in a relationship as he is. She is a girl who does not make male connections and is happy to be a one time deal. And she is even more strong willed and stubborn than Kyle. 

She had no doubt this man could understand her. Maybe that was part of the attraction. Maybe that was why she felt safe in his presence. She knew he'd never hurt her, because he was just as bent as she was. 

So they both agree that one time should be enough. But their usual preferences and personal rules are in conflict to the other one's rule book. But their chemistry is explosive and they have an underlying connection that neither can deny. But for the first time, one night might not be enough for either of them. But that does not mean that there will not be resistance.

These two bent people are close to breaking. But will their meeting be the thing that breaks them free or breaks them completely? 

Peeling away their layers exposes their vulnerability, but also their inner strength. They have lived through pain and disappointment, felt unworthy, and unloved. But that same pain also bonds them and allows them to see the good they have been missing out on and see the possibility hope if they are just willing to take the risk. Their past stories are gradually revealed throughout the book in little pieces to the puzzle. But all the pieces eventually come together, make a clear picture, and allow us to see all that they have endured and what has made them the people they became. But we also see that facing their demons is the only way to ever begin to move on.

"Don't look at me like that, Cate. We all have our demons. You fought yours with solitude. I fought mine with a bottle. My way didn't work. Did yours?"

I admit that sometimes Cate frustrated me. She was good at avoidance and running and really challenged Kyle. But overall she was a likable woman that had been dealt a bad hand, but did her best to overcome it. But Kyle really burrowed into my heart. There were times in the other books and even he beginning of this book that I was not sure that I could get over some of his behavior and actions. But as I saw more of the man underneath, I admit that I totally fell for his charms and heart that he kept buried under walls. 

This series is very well written. There is humor, sexual tension and steam, romance, heart break, emotion, and hope. The characters all have complicated painful back stories. They are damaged people trying to survive with the help of their friends who have become family. But they also all have secrets, fears, and issues not addressed. In each story we come to learn more about each character and eventually see their past that they are hiding from. The stories are not insta-love. They build on  lust, connections, and turn into some thing deeper, but there are  mistakes, miscommunication, denial, drama, and resistance along the way. And the timelines are realistic to the point they are sometimes frustrating to see how much time they waste. But all the characters suffer through growing pains and growth processes that are challenging and intense. 

At Danny's on Main friends come together and create bonds that can't be broken. I loved seeing more with characters from Thursday Nights and Storm Front: Max, Janie, Ryan, Ashley, Lyla, Gage, and their parental figures Danny and Julie. And there were some wonderful additions to the group with Cate's vivacious friend, Elliot, Kyle's equally broken brother, Nix, and a new hot bartender, Ando. I love that these characters are there for each other for support and ass kicking when needed. I look forward to more in the series. I have been not so patiently waiting for Lyla and Gage's book since the beginning. Even though they have been teased in the other books, we have barely scratched the surface of their personal issues. 

This can be read as a stand alone and you will still be given enough information to fully enjoy the story, but I recommend reading Thursday Nights and Storm Front because they are engaging, heartfelt reads that will make you fall in love with this whole group and the couples that end up together. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Thursday Nights (Charistown #1)
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Pain can leave even the strongest of people weak and hollow. But when fate brings two weak souls together, will the love they find mend the fragments that are barely holding them together, or will the weight of their past finally cause them to crumble?

Max DeLucca has spent seven years trying to forget the betrayal of his past. He lives his life from day to day never looking forward and never looking back. The walls around his heart keep anyone from getting too close and prevent him from feeling too much…until he meets her.Her entire life, Janie Silver searched for the kind of love that wouldn’t leave her broken and more importantly, wouldn't leave her behind. She longs for a love that can heal the wounds of her past and give her the future she knows she deserves. She thought she was looking for something that just didn’t exist…until she meets him.

Danny’s on Main is where their story begins. A neighborhood bar where strangers become friends, friends become family and some … become lovers

… it all started on Thursday Nights

Storm Front (Charistown #2) 
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The Darker the Storm, The Deeper the Pain...

Love knows no bounds when two people are destined to be together. One fights to maintain the distance; while the other battles to close the gap.

The Brighter the Light at the End…

Will they move forward together or finally close the last remaining door to their past?

It’s time for Ryan and Ashley to decide. But once that decision is made, there will be no going back…

Always Reach for the Light…

A Neighborhood bar where old wounds heal, friends become family, and some…become lovers…

Danny’s on Main is where their story continues… Where they all shelter each other during the...
Storm Front.
Lisa N. Paul

Lisa N. Paul is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, reader, writer, blogger, and self-proclaimed comedian—just not always in that order.  Ever since she was a little girl, she has devoured books. Falling in love with the Sweet Valley High series at a young age drew Lisa to series books and inspired her to write her own. Thursday Nights is the first book in her Charistown series.

When not writing, Lisa can be found eating french fries and Godiva raspberry truffles, or hanging out with her husband and two sons.

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