Breathe by Isabel Jolie
ABOUT THE BOOK
Coming back to where you started is not the same as coming home.
He never should have let her go. His first love, his first everything. The one the young doctor can’t forget. Ten years later, David James knows she’s not the same girl he loved. But he sees Kairi now with her haunted eyes – and he remembers.
Kairi Morrigan returned to Howell Mountain to hide and make a plan. Once an international fugitive, she’s now a part of a secretive black ops team. Her return home is temporary. A shelter without a paper trail. She didn’t expect to see him. Nor did she expect the rush of emotion. David’s caring and honest. He’s a good man, building a life that has no place for her. She knows she shouldn’t but she hungers for his touch, to lose herself in him one more time.
She lost one great love to the people who betrayed her. The one thing she won’t do is risk another person she loves. The one thing she can never give him, or her enemy, is a second chance.
I have been a big fan of Isabel Jolie for some time so I was thrilled to read a new series. When Kairi and David were young they had life by the tail. They were in love and planned to defy the odds until reality struck and one was pushed away. So much has changed in fourteen years: the building of careers, losses, and new outlooks on life. Yet their love has held strong. Will they fight for each other this time, or will fear and doubt tear them apart?
Unfortunately, I was not able to read the first book in the series, Crushed, so I was a little at a loss about what Kairi’s job entailed. However, with patience and Ms. Jolie’s careful and detailed character building I was fascinated with the subject of cybercrime and how secretive and stealthy it is. Kairi is a social engineer for Arrow Security which has lucrative and classified contracts with the government. She’s not a hacker, but her role is to make friends online and gaslights them to find what she needs. After watching her partner, Lara, get murdered in front of her, Kairi has had a lot of therapy and raw emotions that she pushes down to work long hours tracking cyber terrorists including the person who was responsible for killing Lara. She and her crew move around a lot and have set up their new command center in her hometown where she runs into her childhood and college sweetheart, David. Their meetings are uncomfortable because of all their hurt feelings that come rushing back, but there is still a strong familiarity and chemistry they cannot deny.
David is a pediatrician now and is confused about his feelings toward Kairi. He loved her so much for years and he pushed Kairi away in college because he wanted her to experience the life she dreamed about instead of sacrificing her life for his long hours and absences as a med student. The way he sent her off was harsh and he regretted it all his life. Now that he has her back in his life he needs to fight for the only woman he has ever loved. But with her dangerous job and an uphill battle to win her over it’s going to take all his love and ingenuity for a second chance.
David’s ignorance about Kairi’s bisexuality is a bit cringeworthy sometimes as he tries to wrap his mind around it while working out his own baggage. The thing is that Kairi has loved only two people in her life. She lost one of them and she is determined to not lose the other so she continues to push David away. Kairi is dealing with PTSD and staying up all hours to find a cyber-terrorist so she has little downtime. It’s David that helps her relax as they give in to their passion and become closer than ever. David came back to his hometown to take care of his mother who is forgetting things and he’s dealing with his alcoholic and angry brother who is spinning out of control. With Kairi by his side, he is not lonely anymore and he chooses to sacrifice anything to be with her. There are some close calls and uncertain outcomes, but all is well as these two young lovers finally choose love over fear.
If you love a good second-chance romance with a bit of mystery, give this book a try. However, you may want to read the first book in the series to get up to speed on Kairi’s story.
Thank you to Ms. Jolie for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Isabel Jolie, aka Izzy, lives on a lake, loves dogs of all stripes, and if she’s not working, she can be found reading, often with a glass of wine in hand. In prior lives, Izzie worked in marketing and advertising, in a variety of industries, such as financial services, entertainment, and technology. In this life, she loves daydreaming and writing contemporary romances with strong heroines.