Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.
Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.
But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.
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“There’s no excuse. Only terrible consequences that people have to live with for the rest of their lives when they make one stupid decision.”
In my opinion, that's what Ten Tiny Breaths comes down to. One stupid decision and its awful consequences. And how, from something completely shattered and horrible, something gorgeous and whole can emerge.
Kacey lost her parents, best friend, and boyfriend in a drunk driving accident. She and her sister, Livie, move in with their aunt and uncle but when the uncle nearly assaults Livie, they run away to Miami and rent an apartment. There, Kacey truly comes to term with her past and learns to move on with the help of her sister and two neighbors, Trent and Storm.
“Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.”
The writing is simple and gorgeous, without any excessive details. Ten Tiny Breaths is just the right length, not too long but not overly short either and with a great epilogue to boot, which wraps up Kacey's story nicely but still leaves plenty of room for Livie's. I have absolutely no complaints about the pacing of the book, everything worked for me.
The sizzling hot chemistry between Trent and Kacey is apparent from the get-go. I love how they're crazy attracted to each other from the beginning but still go through all the natural stages in a stable relationship, fighting off demons from their pasts and getting to know one another properly, before sealing the deal. The epilogue was absolutely perfect, wrapping up the book nicely but still leaving plenty of room for Livie's story.
“Forever’s a long time.”
Trent’s arms squeeze around me. “Forever’s not long enough when it’s with you.”
The character development is just amazing. I think everyone goes through it to some extent, from the main characters (Kacey and Trent), to the side characters (Storm and Livie), to even the minor ones like Tanner and Carter.
“You hate me, don’t you? You must hate me. I can’t help it. I’m broken.”
Trent squeezes me close to him. “I don’t hate you. I could never hate you. Give me your heart, Kacey. I’ll take everything that comes with it.”
I start to cry. Uncontrollably, for the first time in four years.
If I were to describe Ten Tiny Breaths in one word, it'd be forgiveness. Ultimately, that's what this book is all about, forgiving and being forgiven. If the gorgeous cover hasn't convinced you yet, I'd recommend this book for the message alone.
After reading the book, be sure to check out the mirror scene from Trent's POV here.
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