Blog Tour: Promise Me This: Christina Lee

Promise Me This (Between Breaths #4)
Christina Lee 
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Release Date October 7, 2014

A new love will test the boundaries of passion between a privileged boy next door and the tattooed, blue-haired girl who helps him embrace his wild side...

Nate has developed quite a playboy reputation around campus. It's not that he doesn't respect or trust women; he doesn't trust himself. The men in Nate’s family are prone to abusive behavior—a dirty secret that Nate’s been running from his entire life—so Nate doesn't do relationships. But he can’t help himself around one girl…

Jessie is strong, independent, and works at a tattoo parlor. Nate can’t resist getting close to her, even if it’s strictly a friendship. But it doesn't take long for Nate to admit that what he wants with Jessie is more than just friendly.

With Jessie, he can be himself and explore what he’s always felt was a terrifying darkness inside him. Even when Nate begins to crave her in a way that both shocks and horrifies him, Jessie still wants to know every part of him. Testing their boundaries together will take a trust that could render them inseparable… or tear them apart.

"...promise me this:
Explore all the different sides of you. We all have darkness and brightness inside of us. You won't know exactly what you're made of until you embrace all of it, feel it, live it. Only then will you be able to face all that life has to offer, head-on."

We  met Nate and Jessie in some of the other books in the series as they share the same group of friends. Nate seems like the rich, funny, pretty boy who is an adrenaline junkie and into instant gratification, but does not get too close to anyone. But no one really knows his reasons for hiding who he really is and what drives him. He hides his innermost pain, demons, and his needs. 

His friend Jessie is tatted, pierced, and has blue streaks in her hair. She looks wild on the outside, but is also fun, sarcastic, and sweet. She came from the picture perfect family, but she has suffered a loss that has really left her with a void. 

They only knew each other as superficial friends until one night sparked a bit of an interest. And then a road trip to his home town to help her with a photography project sent them down a road they did not anticipate.

She sees below Nate's outer shell to the pain and darkness swirling under the surface and the needs he is too afraid to let show.  He's hesitant to let go, unleash his perceived darkness, and ultimately has a fear of rejection as well.  But she can meet him halfway and is compatible with his desires, while also bringing light towards him. One soul shattering night brings intimacy, passion and trust like they had never known. But Nate has had a lifetime of hiding, and that can not be changed over night.

She was just that kind of girl. Strong enough to take my shit. Any shit I threw at her. But I wasn't strong enough to give it to her--to allow her to see me fully.

I loved Nate. He was funny and witty, but then broken, afraid,  and deep. I just wanted to soothe him and help him fight his battles. He felt lost in the dark, and unworthy. He had so much to deal with and had kept himself isolated. He kept himself on lock down, afraid of rejection and of unleashing what he thought would be hurtful to others. He had so many fears and insecurities that he was terrified of getting too close to anyone.

But Jessie was an exception. First a friend and then someone who sparked passion, supported him and pushed him to explore new things and push his boundaries. She was kick ass...so cool on the outside, sweet on the inside, but also sassy, independent and feisty. But she was willing to keep up with him  and be docile when needed. She was light....she was peace...She complimented his darker parts and his need for control in certain situations.

Together I could feel their deep connection and passion. They literally exploded in a dance of control, passion, and  pleasure. But also with an underlying acceptance of feeling and comfort. There was not a lot of trivial relationship drama in this one. It was more about self discovery and the fear of opening up, letting go, and truly exposing all the sides of one's self. It was definitely a journey especially for Nate who had to figure out who he was and accept all the parts of himself before he could even try to move on or truly be with anyone.

It was like she was the light to my darkness. The key to my enclosure.

We got to visit with old friends from the previous books and Raw Ink...Bennett, Avery, Ella, Quinn, Kai, Rachel, Cory, Dex and Ellie. And Nate's brother Luke was also an integral part of the story.

Christina Lee's writing style flows well, draws you in and digs deep into character development. Both points of view provide insight especially during times of hidden worries and feelings. This was heartfelt and challenging journey from friendship to a true emotional connection and self healing. The characters were truly likable and it was easy to become invested in their outcome. And even though it is fourth  in this series,  it can easily be read as a stand alone. I look forward to more in this series.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Promise Me This is the 4th book in the Between Breaths series by Christina Lee. We’ve seen bits of both characters in previous books, as they are part of the group of friends centered at Raw Ink. Jessie is one of the receptionists and Nate is buddies with Bennett. An unexpected overnight trip pushes Nate and Jessie to step over the line of friendship, but it also opens up wounds that neither Nate nor Jessie are sure they can fully heal. 

Though Nate doesn’t have a tattoo on him and Jessie is continually experimenting with the color of her hair, they build a friendship full of easy banter. There are so many things that seemingly make these two opposites, but neither are concerned with those differences, nor do those differences run much deeper than the surface.

Even their families are a study in contrasts. Jessie’s family is so supportive and caring, with each member encouraged to follow the dreams that make each person individual. Her mom was one of my favorite side characters with her calm, perceptive nature and wisdom. While Nate’s family is so concerned with outward appearance and keeping the family secrets. There is a palpable current of tension and fear whenever his family is together.

Because Nate and Jessie started out as friends, this isn’t so much a story of their developing relationship, but a story of Nate coming to an understanding about himself and his past. He didn’t have the easiest childhood, though by outward appearances he had a charmed life. Nate is so terrified of becoming his father, that he refuses to acknowledge his strength and urges, instead keeping himself distant and unaffected when it comes to women and the future. 

Jessie is the perfect person to challenge Nate’s habits in avoiding intimacy and relationships. Because they began as friends, she can see the parts of Nate that he refuses to acknowledge himself. But she also has to balance just how much of herself she is willing to give, especially as it looks like Nate will never be able to give all of himself. 

While I haven’t read the first two books in the series, I did have a bit of background from Whisper to Me, and loved to see Kai and Nate’s relationship a little bit more. The couples from the first two books pop in and out of this story in a natural way, as they are the friends and coworkers of Nate and Jessie. 

This was a great story of self discovery and exploration. Jessie and Nate make great friends to lovers with off the charts chemistry and connection.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
All Of You (Book 1)
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Before You Break (Book 2)
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Whisper to Me (Book 3)
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Christina Lee 

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys. She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. 

Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014. 

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry. 

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