Full Tilt #2
Hello epic book hangover. That's it. I'm done.
This series has captured my heart and wrecked it, yet I can't help and want to start at the beginning right now. I'm in love with the whole lot of main and secondary cast and I just missed them ten minutes after closing the book. I'm trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible but if you haven't read Full Tilt yet...what are you waiting for?
Theo is angry at the world for having his brother taken away. Despite it all, he shoulders the tasks of taking care of his frail mother, going back to school for a business degree and dealing with his father's displeasure about his choice of career. Six months ago he made his brother Jonah a promise. Two weeks later this promise slipped away and he hasn't been able to locate Kacey since, the feeling that he has failed Jonah always present. Until a well-meaning bartender tracks him down and asks him to take care of his late brother's girlfriend.
Kacey's escape from the place with too many memories was silent. She drove all the way down to New Orleans only to play her songs about Jonah at bars. Booze back on the menu she drinks herself into oblivion. Day after day, night after night, not being able to function without being numb. She sees the gaping abyss in front of her but can't pull away. When she sees Theo again after six months the reunion isn't joyful. She is full of shame, guilt and regret but Theo gives her a reality check and she knows she has to get her life back on track.
Teddy finds solace and comfort in his brother's legacy at the exhibit so he ventures there to talk to his brother whenever he feels unsettled. He is the kind of person who tries to carry the weight of everybody's problems, being the rock everybody leans on to.
Theo wasn't only there for Jonah during the worst moments of his life. He was there for a lot of other people, too. Taking their pain, listening to it, deconstructing it. Turning it around and giving it back to them as a piece of art. Uniquely their own, just as pain is unique to the person who bears it.
Where Jonah was light and love, Teddy is something else entirely. He is fierce and passion and not as open. He has walls in place but when they crumble he is magnificent.
Kacey is such an endearing heroine. I adore her. She is sweet, soft, strong and her love for her friends and adopted family beams from the pages. The way she pulls herself out of the black hole with Teddy's help had my emotions all over the place and I admired her so much for it.
"Live in the stars, baby. Okay?" My voice cracked but didn't break, and I smiled through my tears. "You're free. You made me free."
The development of their relationship is stunning, heart-wrenching and devastatingly beautiful. It's a deliciously slow burn and you can't help but root for them. Their dance and their first time together are one of the most erotic scenes I've read.
While you may think at the beginning that their love is unthinkable at some point you will see that these two are perfect for each other. That there was never another choice than for them being together, the love for the person they both lost the common denominator. With their friendship comes acceptance, with their love healing. I know I said Jonah was perfect in my review for Full Tilt. But Teddy? Glorious. Best book boyfriend EVER.
On and on we danced and in the back of my delirium, I knew I'd been right about Theo: if you had him, you had all of him. His kiss was the purest essence of himself: intense, fiery, devoted, entirely in the moment. This close, he was my entire world, with no place for anything else. His body pressed to mine, his hands on my body, his sweat, his mouth...
I think Emma Scott upped the ante with this one. Full Tilt was already amazing but damn. This book did Jonah's story justice if that makes any sense. He was present in every word and thought. His love was shining through the loves of his life and while I thought Jonah's and Kacey's love can't be topped, this author did just that without diminishing it. Kacey and Theo? Utter bliss.
...I love you and that's it. I love you. I love you however you are. No strings or conditions. I love you, and that's it.
Again, the writing is gorgeous, the secondary cast fantastic. At the end there were tears, yes, but they were a mix of a bit sad and a big junk of happiness, enough humor to help you through the sad parts. My emotions are still clogging up my throat. Rarely have I read a story that made me feel so much like the Full Tilt duet, it is hands down one of my top 10 favorites.
Dear Emma Scott, please consider writing novellas about these two. I hate to leave Kacey, Theo and Jonah. They are so deep under my skin and hold a special place in my heart.
"He was right about everything," she said. "We have so much love in us. No end to it."