Love isn't supposed to be an addiction. It isn't supposed to leave you bleeding.
Kona pushed, Keira pulled, and in their wake, they left behind destruction.
She sacrificed everything for him.
It wasn't enough.
But the wounds of the past can never be completely forgotten and still the flame remains, slumbers between the pleasure of yesterday and the thought of what might have been.
Now, sixteen years later, Keira returns home to bury the mother who betrayed her, just as Kona tries to hold onto what remains of his NFL career with the New Orleans Steamers. Across the crowded bustle of a busy French Market, their paths collide, conjuring forgotten memories of a consuming touch, skin on skin, and the still smoldering fire that begs to be rekindled.
When Kona realizes the trifecta of betrayal—his, Keira's and those lies told to keep them apart—his life is irrevocably changed and he once again takes Keira down with him into the fire that threatens to ignite them both.
I love a great book about athletes, so when I saw this I was very excited to read it. Sports is a huge part of this book, so I was happy. I loved the story of Keira and Kona. It was your typical something got in the way and we were not able to love each other the way that we want to story. To say that these 2 have very strong personalities that in the end rip your heart out with the emotions. In this case it is a strong case of drop down hard core anger issues. To watch Keira and Kona go at it was one of the best parts of the books. Through their anger you were able to tell how passionately they love each other.
The book starts out with Kona and Keira in college. Kona is pretty much the man-whore of the campus and Keira is just struggling to get by. Her mother is queen bee bitch of the year and pretty much allowed Keira to go off to college to find herself a rich man to marry. Kona is the king of the football field with a big time attitude and a mother that will do pretty much anything to make him the star of the show and secure his future with the NFL. Of course we know that the 2 of them hook up and to say that there are fireworks is an understatement. They are not always good fireworks either. They both have to deal with the results of their impulsive actions and they are not always the best outcomes.
We then FINALLY get to present day. Keira is in New Orleans to bury her monster of a mother that she has not talked to in 16 years and take care of her family estate. Kona is a free agent with the NFL and is looking to see if he wants to play with the NO team. In a classic romance book situation, their eyes meet in the crowded market and BAM- the attraction is still there. It is there that Kona sees the outcome of their past in the walking, breathing form of his younger self.
I did like this book, but it was WAY TOO LONG. There were times that I was scanning the words because in reality, they were not needed. I think that Butler could of had the same outcome, with a more emotional book, without some of the unnecessary scenes. I loved the chemistry between these two and loved how they found themselves again. The last part is only about 25% of the book and it is the most emotional by far (for the exception of one part at the end of the first segment of their past).
“We’re alone for the first time in weeks and I’ve had to be around you all day, walking down sidewalks where I held you as a kid, in hallways where you touched me and all I wanted to do is kiss you again.”
His hands go to her hips, around her stomach. “I’ve been thinking about the party, about kissing you, that song, and how you didn’t hate it. How you kissed me back, how you touched me. I know I’m obvious. You know what I want.”
“You can get that from anyone.”
She is testing him, he knows; it’s in her tone, in how straight she holds her back and Kona can’t help the frustrated growl that leaves his mouth. “You’re not just anyone.” He takes a chance, eases down to kiss her neck, slides his fingers at her nape to expose all of that skin to him and she doesn’t push away from him. “I realized something that first day in the Market, even after I saw Ransom, after I realized you’d kept him from me all this time.”
“What… what did you realize?” Her voice sounds like a whine, then a moan when Kona kisses behind her ear.
“That I haven’t breathed in sixteen years. Not since you, sweetheart; not a real breath once since that day I pushed you away.”
“And… you… you can now?”
His breath moves down her neck and Kona loves the blanket of chills that covers Keira’s skin. “Like my lungs are wide open. Every time you walk in a room, every time I hear you sing, see you smile, touch you… it’s like breathing for the first time.” He pushes her hair out of his way, kisses further down her neck, moves the thin, linen shirt she wears to get to her back, then lowers to kiss her again, right on the spot he’d missed all this time and then, eyes widening, he takes his mouth from her skin. .
“You little liar.” She tries turning around but he keeps her still, lowering her shirt more to see that bright Hibiscus tattoo. “Thought you got rid of it.”
“I… I tried to.” She comes around, hands on his chest. “I meant to, but there was never enough money, then when there was, I just… couldn’t.” When he shakes his head, Keira laughs at him and he loves the sound, loves how easily it comes to her. “Look who’s talking. I know you covered yours up. I saw that spread you did in GQ. You have that massive tattoo over your chest now, all down your arm.” He backs away from her and his fingers go to his buttons. “What are you doing?”
One cock of his eyebrow silences her and Kona grins at Keira’s widening eyes, at how they lower onto his chest as each button comes loose. “I added to my tattoo, Wildcat. I didn’t cover it up. You didn’t see that in the spread because I didn’t want my chest shown. That tattoo is for you and me. No one else.”
Kona pulls open his shirt, and throws it onto the island and Keira’s eyes move to the colossal Polynesian tribal designs, all black, all connected, that cover his shoulder, half his arm and his chest.
“Sixty hours with a bone-tipped rake and a striking stick. I was on the big island for three weeks and most of that time was with Naoki, an old war buddy of my tutu knae’s. There was no smartass tattooer telling me not to get inked for some girl, like Michael did. There was me, Naoki and his two sons. Up until a month ago, this piece was what I was proudest of in my life. Until I met Ransom. Until you introduced me to my son.”
Keira’s eyes soften and she stretches out her fingers like she wants to touch him, but then curls her hand into a fist, until Kona reaches out to her, and places her hand on his shoulder. “This,” he says, to the black waves that circle his entire shoulder, “is for the persistent memory of those I’ve loved and lost. It’s for Luka, for my tutu kane, the ones I pushed away when I was too stupid to realize how lucky I was, how loved.”
Kona turns, slides Keira’s fingers along his skin, up his shoulder, his breath shuddering at the feel of her nails smoothing over his traps, to his shoulder blades. She touches the spherical sun with waving flames and pointed spikes on his back. “This is for rebirth, for the renewal of myself, for me learning to forgive myself and never letting my weaknesses bury me again.”
Then Kona moves Keira’s fingers along his arm, catching her eyes, holding them as he trails her hand to the dark and light shells intricately patterned against the tribal spaces that fill up his skin. “This is for protection, for my family, to remind me of what I lost, what I want to earn again.” Keira holds his gaze, doesn’t watch her fingers being moved back up his arm, to his chest where Kona marked himself for her all those years ago. “This entire piece is the story of my life, Keira; who I was, what I lost, what I want to have back and it all starts here. It starts with you, Wildcat.”
He steps forward, takes her hand and puts it over his heart. “Ku`u Lei. My beloved. Then. Always. I could never get rid of that just like I could never really get rid of you.” Keira’s face is in his hands, his thumbs smoothing over that skin he’d been aching to touch and his chest constricts, heart strumming steady, but fast. “I could be a thousand miles from you, telling myself I don’t want you, that I’d gotten over you, but it would be a lie. I remember the way your skin felt under my fingers. I remember the noises you made when I kissed you, how quick your breath got when I made you come, how soft you held me, how you made me feel things I didn’t think I was good enough to feel. You did that, always. You were mine and I never loved anything more. I never wanted anything or anyone like I wanted you. Like I still want you. My always, Keira. You’re still my always.”
And then, Kona stopped talking, stopped wanting and took what was always his.
Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” launched in October 2013 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
She is currently imprisoned under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.