By Gena Showalter
Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis’s past is full of memories she’d rather forget. But there’s one she can’t seem to shake—her long-standing crush on former army ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out…but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead.
Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves curvy Dorothea night and day, he’s as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her.
But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.
Can’t Hardly Breathe is about a girl in a small town that grew up surrounded by bullies and in need of human kindness. This story takes place in a small town in Oklahoma but it could be anywhere. There is still gossip and everyone knows each other’s business just like how I imagined a small town to be.
I really loved this book. My emotions were all over the place. For me, Dorothea was written perfectly. We were given a brief glimpse in to her high school years, which was plagued with bullies, that gave us the reason why she grew into the person she is today. I love the fact that she never gave up on believing in people. She has inner strength that I’m not sure that she even knew she had.
Daniel was Dorothea’s crush in high school. He never knew what kind of impact he made on her life until years later. He had his own hurdles that he had to get through and I liked that because you never know how someone else handles what has gone on in their life. And everyone handles everything differently. Daniel really cares about his dad, Virgil, and wants him to live a long life and will sacrifice his own happiness to make sure that happens.
Dorothea’s best friends Lyndie and Ryanne are amazing friends. They aren’t perfect and they have life issues of their own but they come together to help each other. They are a great shoulders to lean on. Dorothea’s family on the other hand is somewhat missing in action or the enemy. Holly, Dorothea’s sister, is selfish and still has some emotional growing to do. She has her own reasons for acting the way she does but that doesn’t excuse some of her behavior. And her mother seems to just be going through the motions of life and doesn’t seem to be there for either of her children in the beginning.
Daniel also has great best friends and business partners in Brock and Jude. They went through a lot together in the service and they are really the only ones that understand what each of them have gone through. I also loved Daniel’s dad, Virgil. And it is apparent that Virgil loves his son. Virgil also has some great one liners that make you laugh out loud and also make you think.
I really couldn’t get enough of this book. It touched my heart. Dorothea and Daniel have great chemistry together and I loved the strength that both of them had to show. And I also loved the fact that this book illustrates that words matter, especially in kindness. And that life does go on after high school.
Can’t Hardly Breathe
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