I first read this book in 2017 and have recommended this book approximately 5,000 times…give or take a few. It’s hands down my favorite contemporary grovel novel I’ve EVER read and until I read this book, I was laboring under the misconception that I didn’t care for enemies-to-lovers as a trope. Not only is that a big bold-faced lie, enemies-to-lovers is actually one of my all time favorite tropes in romance and this book was the first time I realized that.
Aspen and Bram are like oil and water. Aspen is the best friend of Bram’s little sister so the best friend’s older brother trope also applies here. They fight….and then they fuck. And then they fall hard for each other. And then Bram says something so epically awful in a scene that is so dark and painful, it’s hard to fathom that the two of them could possibly come back from that. (Let me reassure you all, no cheating occurs in this book).
But then….he grovels. And grovels some more.
Here’s part 1 of the Bramwell Gage apology tour:
His gaze moves across my face, his voice gentling even more.
”You’ve been so good for her. Doing what I should have been doing instead of trying to make everything perfect. You’ve already made me so much better, who I am instead of who I should be. But I should have been even better than that. Instead I hurt you again. And I’m sorry.”
Tears sting my eyes, burn my throat again. ”Okay.”
”And I’m sorry…” It trails off into a whistling breath, as if choked to a stop. His throat works before he looks away from me, ”And I’m sorry it took…so long. Two days. That you were alone. I wanted to go back to you the second I walked out the door but I told myself not to. I told myself that you were wrong about me being myself, because now Bethany was in trouble, and she doesn’t need a brother but a father. I told myself it was for the best. Until I saw that computer. And I’ll never fucking forget what it was like to realize you were gone…and not knowing – not knowing if you were – “
His voice breaks, shuddering to a stop. His jaw clenches and his eyes close, and it feels like a long, long time before he starts again. But I can’t fill the silence because I can’t breathe past the ragged ache in my chest, the thick lump in my throat.
”But you weren’t wrong,” he finally continues harshly, and when his eyes meet mine, they’re glowing with fierce intensity.
”What Bethany needs from me is me. And you did everything you could. Your leaving was my fault. I didn’t give you any choice.” He gestures to the envelope. ”So please take that. So you have choices about where to go now, what to do. Even if I’m not one of those choices.” His breath shudders over that before adding, ”And if you ever need anything. Anything. I’ll get it for you. Just ask me and I will.”
I’ve read the last few chapters of this book more times than I can count. Even though I know what’s coming, these final chapters always put a huge lump in my throat because the emotions and the pain of how they’re feeling come through so strongly.
For part 2 of the Bramwell Gage apology tour, I highly recommend you pick up this book – it will gut you and flay your heart open and then help piece it back together again. (It’s also very, VERY hot).