One year after undergoing a unilateral mastectomy, twenty-eight year old ER nurse Stella Ciaramitaro is working on healing all wounds, visible and invisible. And it’s going pretty well. Sure, she has four pain-in-the-butt sisters, an occasionally suicidal dad, and some serious trust issues. And, yes, all dreams of soul mates, mind-blowing sex, and everlasting love have gone the way of her left breast. But overall, she’s hanging in there. Doing just fine, actually.
Or at least she was until HE showed up.
Nathan Drazek is a hot mess and he knows it. The laundry list of things contributing to his dysfunction includes, but is not limited to: a childhood full of mental and physical abuse, four tours in Afghanistan, and ten years policing one of the toughest beats in East Cleveland. Adding insult to injury, he’s ridiculously straight-laced, beyond aloof, and nearly incapable of interpersonal relationships. But that’s okay, because Nathan isn’t interested in anything more than just getting by.
Or at least he wasn’t until SHE showed up.
From the moment Nathan nearly arrests Stella on, sparks fly, limits are tested, and boundaries are shattered. A tenuous, tender friendship quickly evolves into something powerful and passionate they cannot wish away or control. But as they grow closer, new issues arise and old hurts resurface, threatening to destroy their fragile new beginning.
With everything at stake, Nathan and Stella must ultimately decide which runs deeper: their scars or their love.
Nathan pulled Stella back into his arms.
She pushed at his chest, trying to put space between their bodies. “I have to show you…so you know…so you understand…” Stella was pushing, Nathan was pulling, and somehow, in the tangle of limbs and intentions, she grabbed his right hand and pressed it to the left side of her chest.
Stella went limp…her only movement the involuntary trembles racking her body.
Stella leaned into Nathan’s hand, pressing herself into his palm. “See, Nathan?” Her voice was low and strained.
All Nathan saw was her beautiful face and all he felt was concern.
He searched her eyes. “No, Little One. What are you trying to show me?”
Her laugh was hollow. Humorless. “Something missing, Nathan? Go ahead. Feel around. But you’re bound to be disappointed.”
His palm was flat against her chest wall. There was no bump…no mound of flesh where there should be one.
She didn’t have a breast there.
Honing in on his moment of realization, Stella nodded slowly. And then gave him a tight smile he hoped he never saw again. “Bummer, huh?”
Stella standing there, clutching the top of her dress to her chest, her dark-brown eyes so full of fear…it would have killed her to know it, but she looked as vulnerable as a person could.
And it damn near broke his fucking heart.
“What…where…” Nathan shook his head. “I don’t understand.”
“I had breast cancer. Stage III invasive ductal carcinoma. Six months ago. I had a unilateral mastectomy. I have no left breast. As you just felt.”
Three thoughts popped up back to back: first, this woman was even more incredible than he’d imagined. Second, he thanked a God he wasn’t sure he believed in that Stella was alive. And third, he made a tenuous connection between what she’d just revealed to him and where this conversation had started.
“Your ex…the Shaker cop…” Stella’s fingers went white clutching her dress even tigher. “What does your cancer have to do with him?”
“Come on, Nathan. No guy is looking for a one-breasted woman, right? Not when there are so many girls with two. Of course, that’s not what Ryan said.” Stella exhaled a hard laugh. “Well, not to my face anyway.”
Oh my god..I loved this story and I hope I don't give too much away in my review..
I absolutely loved these characters. Nathan is a sexy as hell, very by the book (Sargent stickler), loner and lonely, doesn't have social skills, sweet and amazing guy (he just doesn't know it). Stella is a sexy, tough as nails, kick butt, I take no shit from anybody but Is a compassionate women who's been through hell and back and doesn't want her heart broken.
When these too meet sparks fly but neither will acknowledge until they can dwell on it later when they are alone. They both choose not give their hearts away, Stella because she was hurt in the worst possible way (I wanted to smack the hell outta her ex) and Nathan because he doesn't believe he is worthy of love or happiness. I cried for both these characters they are amazing in their own ways. Stella has her rambunctious family and Nathan has his one friend Danny who is the only person that knows what Nathan went through but even Danny isn't close to Nathan. I just wanted to hug Nathan, I wanted him to have Stella and love and be loved but sometimes it's not that easy. As their friendship progresses to something more Nathan breaks down his barriers only to put them back up when she gets too close. Stella wants to heal Nathan's emotional and physical scars but she can't get close enough. When Stella puts herself out there and shows Nathan her secret I felt for her, she kicks ass in that part. Nathan is in awe of Stella he just doesn't know how to show it. This story takes you on a emotional journey of love, trust, family, hope, patience and so much more. I want to share more but you got to read it yourself, my heart is still so full with these characters and I don't want to ruin any of the story. I absolutely loved this story and hope Danny gets his HEA and Kat they both deserve it. The author kicked butt in this story, she is a amazing writer. 5 huge stars
Meet the Author:
I like nice guys...I always have and I always will. I married one and now I write about them. :)
When I'm not torturing my stoic, stalwart heroes with strong, witty heroines, I enjoy reading, drinking way too much coffee, trying to be the best wife and mom I can be, and procrastinating (especially when it comes to cleaning the house). I am also a part-time student, a lover of history, and hopelessly addicted to Lifetime movies. Do not judge me. :)
I also like smiley faces. A lot. :)
Goodreads book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19373480-all-of-me
"All of Me" by John Legend
"Demons" by Imagine Dragons
"Everything" by Alanis Morissette
"Colorblind" by Counting Crows
"Fix You" by Low Strung (originally by Coldplay)
"Beautiful Disaster" by Kelly Clarkson
"The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes
"Better Side of Me" Blessid Union of Souls
"Something I Can Never Have" by Nine Inch Nails
"We Are Family" by Sister Sledge
"To Make You Feel My Love" by Garth Brooks
"I Will Love You" by Fisher
"Hurt" by Johnny Cash
"Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
"A Beautiful Mess" by Jason Mraz
"1,2,3,4" by Plain White T's
"Ready When You Are" by Trapt
"She is Love" by Parachute
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