Author: Robin York
Series: Caroline & West #2
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
In Robin York's provocative new novel, two young ex-lovers find themselves together again in the shadow of tragedy--and an intense, undeniable attraction.
Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she's back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart.
Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family--a family that's already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she's on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs.
They're together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn't fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still.
They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn't be harder.
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was absolutely devastated when West and Caroline had to part ways after reading the first book, but knowing that there was a sequel made me rest easy that they would find their way back to each other in some form. After Deeper shook up my world I decided to keep on rocking away and pick up the second book as soon as humanly possible. That possibility just happened to present itself at 4 in the morning. I didn't get much sleep to say the least, but I had a feeling this book would be well worth the sacrifice.
Caroline has not heard from West except sporadically since he left her at the airport and ventured back to his hometown in hopes of protecting his baby sister from the fall out of his tumultuous, troublemaker parents. She was hurt and angry that he threw the promise to keep in contact with her away and started his life over without her. That anger and hurt gets put on the back burner when West calls and informs her his father has been killed. Caroline books the first plane she can to get to him and be by his side. When she arrives West is anything but welcoming. Every word out of his mouth is about how she shouldn't be there or that she should consider going home. West is determined to drive Caroline back out of his life. He even goes to great lengths to hurt and destroy whatever love she carries for him until finally Caroline doesn't know if her love is strong enough for the both of them.
West knew the minute he got back into his hometown that he would never get out again. He had resigned himself to living and dying in the horrible town of Silt, Oregon. He wanted better for Caroline. He knew if he asked she'd move there and be by his side forever. She deserved more than that. She had already had her life practically destroyed by her last ex. He wasn't going to do that to her as well. However, even after pushing Caroline away as forcefully as he can, he finds himself caught up in the storm he caused and thrust back right where he started. He can't hope to win Caroline back, despite the fact that she seems determined to make herself available to him if he ever decides to try.
Where most of Deeper was about Caroline overcoming her obstacles and realizing her worth, Harder was West's turn. West was forced to reevaluate how he felt for himself. He was forced to strive to better his world and that of his baby sister. West seemed even more damaged than Caroline was after her revenge porn situation. West has always known disappointment and that is all he feels he deserves. I wanted to shake West through the entire book for being so stubborn and pigheaded. I wanted him to see how important he was to his sister and Caroline and have him finally realize he could do great things despite his past. I cried a lot more through this book than I did through the first one. I wanted to hug West so hard the entire story. Poor guy. You sure know how to create a disturbed male lead, Robin.
Harder shows the layers of a troubled man and his determination to do right by his family and the woman he loves.