By Pamela Clare
Lexi Jewell left Scarlet Springs twelve years ago, vowing never to return to the small Colorado mountain town where she grew up. Now, here she is—over thirty, out of a job and with little choice but to move back in with her eccentric father. Lexi knows it’s just a matter of time before she runs into Austin Taylor, her first boyfriend and her first heartbreak. She’s determined to show him she’s over him—until he steps out of a pickup truck and back into her life, looking sexy as hell in his mountain ranger uniform.
As far as Austin is concerned, Lexi can turn her snazzy little convertible around and drive back to Chicago. After all, she ripped his teenage heart to pieces and turned her back on the town he loves. But from the moment he sees her again, he can’t get her out of his mind. Even her smile messes with his head.
When an evening of conversation turns into something else, Lexi and Austin agree to be friends—with benefits. But as Lexi starts making plans to return to the big city, Austin realizes he’ll lose her a second time unless he can show her that what she’s searching for has been right here all along.
BARELY BREATHING is a second-chance romance between Austin and Lexi, who dated through high school only to break up just before Lexi left for college. Coming home to help her father with some personal issues, she’s forced to face her past while trying to figure out what to do with her future.
I liked Lexi a lot and thought she was a really nice and generous woman despite not having had the best experiences in life. Her stepmother, Kendra, is a real piece of work and I didn’t like her at all. While I liked Lexi, when it came to her father I thought she was a bit of a doormat. He has treated her pretty horribly her whole life and then has the nerve to act all put out because she’s never come home before. To make matters worse, he blames her for his shitty life choices, and she lets him. She eventually stands up to Kendra, but she never really stands up to her father, and I would have loved to have seen her do just that. I liked Austin, but to be honest, I don’t remember a great deal about him. I remember a lot about Lexi, but Austin has nothing memorable happening in his life, past or present.
I enjoyed BARELY BREATHING, which for the most part was light and easy to read. I loved the handcuffed-to-the-bed scene, which was sexy at first, before turning awkward, embarrassing and hilarious. Because it’s the first book in the Colorado High Country series, there were a lot of characters introduced and trying to remember them all was difficult. It also included cameos from two I-Team characters, but you don’t need to read their stories to understand their inclusion here. In regards to the climbing and rescue side of the story, it got extremely technical and was hard to follow, even with the glossary included in the beginning.
BARELY BREATHING is told in dual POVs, is the first in the series where each book can be read as a stand-alone, and comes with a nice HEA for Austin and Lexi. Austin and Lexi’s best friends get the next book, SLOW BURN.
Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country # 1)
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