Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

*shakes fists at Jared*
What started out as an amazingly emotional, poignant, and heartfelt romance between a girl and her brother’s best friend plateaued into a pile of unnecessary drama that drove me batshit crazy. Still, the writing was incredible and for that and the great first half of the story, I’m rating it 3 stars.

Aly lives a quiet, uneventful life for the past 6 years and rooms with her brother Christopher when Jared reenters her life. Unknown to others, Aly’s carried a torch for him since she was a little girl, and Jared comes to see Aly in a different light. However, Jared’s been hiding a terrible, painful past that’s always the elephant in the room for the other characters.

Aly understands and sees through him and connects with him on a deeper level. Pretty soon, Jared relies on Aly for emotional support and they fall in love, hiding their relationship from Aly’s brother Christopher.

Although the book moved at a turtle’s pace, it was really, really good for me. The fantastic writing stirred enough emotion and I was invested in these characters. Aly was such a great heroine; there is nothing I could nitpick about her. She’s supporting, loving, logical, and undeniably sweet. An all-around great girl to have around!

In the beginning, I really felt for Jared. I love tortured heroes and Jared is definitely one of those. Oddly enough, I felt protective of him because of his past ordeals and was glad he had someone like Aly on his side. However, after the 60% mark I started to get annoyed. Why?
“I don’t get to have this.”
Damaged and tortured men do it for me, but having them resist and fighting their feelings for theENTIRE book all the way to the end is extremely draining. That sentence alone is used 13 times in the book and the number of times Jared runs away or avoids Aly went above that number.

I also felt like Jared’s healing process should have started a lot sooner than at 60%. Granted his reasons for acting the way he did were valid, but enough is enough!
*shakes fists at Jared*

No matter how emotionally evocative the first half was, I can’t give this book higher than 3 stars. The second half completely fell flat for me, and I was more annoyed than touched by the plot and characters.