Twenty-four-year-old Pax Tate is not always a nice guy. He's a tattooed, rock-hard bad boy with a bad attitude to match. But he's got his reasons. His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt. As Pax grew up, he tried to be the perfect golden boy but his dad couldn't overcome his grief long enough to notice. Pax couldn't keep up the impossible perfect façade, so he slipped far, far from it. Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugly, black void in his heart. Until he meets sweet, beautiful Mila Hill. Mila is a carefree smile to his hardened frown, the beauty to his beast.
When memories of his mother's death resurface, Mila is there to help him mend his broken heart . . . but only if he can stop being a jerk long enough to allow it. Pax says he's working on it. But is that enough to make her stay?
This is the first book in Courtney Cole’s Beautifully Broken series. I didn’t know anything about this series until recently when Hodder & Stoughton added a selection of books to Bookbridgr and I requested If You Leave. I didn’t even know that this was the first book, I bought it after receiving If You Leave in the mail so that I could read the series in order. I would definitely recommend reading this first!
The story is all about main characters Mila Hill and Pax Tate. Pax doesn’t make the best of first impressions on Mila but is willing to make it up to her and although she is hesitant at first she agrees to let him.
The first thing I loved about this book was that it was dual POV. I love that in a book and when I read the first chapter from Pax’s POV I just thought yes, I am going to enjoy this! And I did. Pax is an interesting character. He’s the epitome of bay boy and is not afraid to embrace it. He uses drugs and alcohol as an escape, to numb himself to the world and as a result of taking it too far finds himself in hospital and indebted to Mila.
Mila has seen her fair share of tragedy in her life, losing both of her parents at the same time in a car crash. She has a strong personality and although she is still dealing with her grief she has an outlet for it in her art work and photography. Her older sister, taking on mother role, warns her against Pax. Their relationship is sisterly but with a bit of spark with all the looking out for Mila that Maddy does.
When Pax meets Mila properly they have an instant connection. Both are attractive and have similar histories with tragic events in their lives, it’s just that Mila knows what happened to her and Pax has absolutely no idea. Their relationship is sweet and I love how Pax wooed her and completely replaced his need for drugs with his need for Mila. I love how he respected her need to go slow in their relationship too. Pax really proves himself to be a good guy, even giving in to his own tendencies to shy away from feelings and emotions.
In the second half of the book there is some serious character development in terms of Pax as his past starts to be uncovered thanks to Mila pushing him. The story, which was a page turner for me anyway, became adrenaline packed and gripping to the very end of the story.
It was an emotional rollercoaster throughout and I really enjoyed the romance between the pair. I fell just as hard for Pax as Mila did and I loved seeing his character changing throughout the book. I’m so glad that I decided to read this book first as it sets you up for the second book.