Too Beautiful to Break by Tessa Bailey
Series: Romancing the Clarksons,#4
Released: September 26, 2017
Reviewed by Sheena
Leaving Belmont Clarkson is the hardest thing Sage Alexander has ever done. From the moment they met, she knew Belmont was the one, and getting up close and personal with him on his family’s epic road trip has taken her desire to a new, even hotter level. But there’s no way she can go there—not without revealing secrets that could devastate them both.
Losing Sage is not an option. Belmont’s heart is hers, has always been hers. He knows she’s hiding something from him, but nothing will stand in his way of telling her just how much she means to him. Finding her is easy—saving her from her past could cost him everything.
Favorite Quote: Please understand.” His throat worked. “I love the tide because it’s constant. No matter how often it gets low or rises high, it’ll keep coming back. Know the same about me, Sage.”
“I do,” she whispered.
Belmont and Sage. FINALLY. The tension and conflict between these two have been brewing for three books and is finally coming to a head in the fourth installment of Bailey’s fan favorite Clarkson series. Their connection so palatable that you don’t need to be a series regular to be riveted by their attachment. The first two Clarkson novels, Too Hot to Handle and Too Wild to Tame were sitting pretty on my shelves when Too Hard to Forget released and my group chat was lit up like a firecracker. OhMiGosh, what was I missing and what was my deal, daring to have unread Bailey novels in my burgeoning TBR pile. Too Hard to Forget was a great read- but my singularly pervasive thought throughout the novel was “Holy cow- WHAT IS BELMONT’S DEAL!!” Then like the neurotic that I am, I blasted through the first two novels, thirsting for more- anything Belmont. Limited page time and perpetually in the background, he was a beast, a roar between my ears. So big and life-sized and sucking up all the air in the room, a hurricane and at its eye was Sage. Always Sage and together they enraptured.
But Why? That was always the missing piece for me, what made this co-dependent pair tick, the *why* is precisely why I spent months obsessing over getting my hands on Too Beautiful to Break. And when I finally got it, my first word, whispered as I tapped the screen to begin was..finally. I was finally getting words and words and pages upon pages and chapters upon chapters of Belmont and. it. was. fantastic.
Too Beautiful to Break begins with Sage resolving to go back home and face her parents (she has significant mommy and daddy issues to work out) of course having to leave Belmont behind in the process. Big, strong, protective Belmont who ignites all the feels of her heart, the man who orbits around her very being and for whom she shines for like the sun. It feels like anathema to leave him but their co-dependency has rubbed her raw to her core and is frightening her and she can’t go another day without articulating the damage she is enduring. Belmont of course is rocked to his own core when faced with the fear of losing Sage in his life or finally taking her for his very own which is equally as daunting.
I covet my right to fear for every hair on your head.”
“I never asked you to,” she half sobbed, half whispered.
“You did.” He reached across the console, his fingers hovering just above her thigh, branding the skin beneath her dress. “Your heart asked mine. And mine was already begging.”
She leaves, he follows and then they combust and chaos ensues. We learn about Sage’s home life and why she is so hell-bent on not falling into the same emotional traps as her parents. We learn about Belmont’s true history and parentage as they are both on journeys with regards to their lineage. Belmont is intense. He is so much, too much and threatens to be overwhelming. Sage is his center, his balance, his solace when his PTSD threatens to take him under, for as all-consuming as Belmont is, Sage is equally ready to be consumed.
And it isn’t healthy.
To an outsider, the dependency Belmont had on Sage appeared to be one-sided… it probably seemed as if Belmont merely used Sage as a crutch for his anxiety. Every time he teetered a little too close to the edge of his comfort zone, Sage would get bundled up in Belmont’s big arms and rocked until he relaxed. They didn’t see Sage’s need for reassurance, too. They didn’t realize she stockpiled those moments in Belmont’s arms like a hoarder, memorizing the sensation of being anchored, the feel of his hard chest beneath her cheek, his heart laboring in her ear… Unfortunately, cutting off the growing dependency they had on each other meant welding shut Belmont’s escape hatch in order to escape herself. And ripping off this particular Band-Aid would take ten layers of skin along with it.
I could quote from Too Beautiful to Break all day. Ahhh, the beautiful declarations of love and devotion. Theirs is a raw, uncensored human connection, imperfect and flawed yet perfect in its synchronicity. Belmont’s childhood trauma broke my heart and I understood how he grew into the man he was. What wasn’t wholly clear was, why Sage. He saw her one day and they locked in on one another, but something about their origins as each other’s “one” didn’t come through. I felt like there was something, some knowing that was juuust out of my reach. Maybe more needed to be explained about how Belmont came to be so attached to Sage beyond the “click” that cinched them for life.
Belmont and Sage face down Sage’s hometown nemesis and threat to her family along with facing and learning to channel their attachment in healthy ways. I adored how simplistic Belmont saw their love and I relished in Sage’s strength and refusal to allow him to gloss over the importance of a healthy relationship where they grow together and not just implode in one another’s orbit. Sage is such a good woman. And Belmont is a special, special man. They only ever want the best for one another, even when their greatest fear is, that even the purest intentions could keep them forever apart. Sage was a great heroine to root for, even when I thought she was being too melodramatic, I never really wanted to pop her bra strap in ire- well expect that one time, because REALLY Sage, that is SO NOT the answer *eye roll*. On more than one occasion I had to remind myself that she grew up hard and even though she is making a couple of WTF decisions, she’s doing the best she can to save them all and her insight into Belmont is unmatched.
Thank goodness Belmont and Sage were able to convince one another that a normal and safe union was not only possible but theirs for the taking. Belmont facing his worst fear even when he didn’t have to in order to prove to Sage and himself that she never had to fear for him in that way again was tear jerky. Hell Belmont is probably one of the most polarizing heroes I’ve read. If he isn’t making you lusty, he’s making you cry. He did not so much make me squee as he made me feel overwhelming satisfaction. So much like the most groany, moany, intense blaze of satisfaction you get when something just feels so good that you feel it in every chamber of your heart.
“I can’t hold it in anymore.” “Don’t.” Belmont dropped his mouth down to snare hers, wanting to swallow that single word of permission, to show her how grateful it made him, but the kiss turned into more right away. Their lips were coated in steam from hot, rapid breaths and their tongues met without delay. Eager, willing, desperate. She moaned, causing more moisture to seep from his tip…and there was no more waiting. The combination of her incredible mouth, moving in time with her stroking fist, was a heaven he’d never dared dream of.est thing I’ve ever tasted.”
This novel was all romance, discovery, honesty and the power of love and being the kind of anchor your partner needs while keeping yourself afloat and not sinking one another. Sage learned that she didn’t have to sink in order to be Belmont’s lighthouse and Belmont learned to trust himself and believe he was worthy of every ray of her light and the good things that came his way.
The back story with the town arsehole and climax was a little- a lot “c’mon, really” and some of Sage’s motivations were very thin given what I thought would be obvious and less dramatically drastic measures, but overall Too Beautiful to Break is such a sexy, emotional and a great read I’ve decided not to look too closely at the things that made me goo hmm- primarily because Belmont and Sage absolutely wrung me out!
Good thing the next novel up from Bailey is a lighter, sexy Academy series, dropping 8/29/2017 and I guarantee you I’ve learned my lesson about letting Bailey books sit on my shelf!