The Air He Breathes (Book Review)

I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”
“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.

But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

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Brief Synopsis

Tristan and Elizabeth have both lost people they loved. Tristan lost his wife and little boy, while Elizabeth's husband past away. They both have to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones and learn to move forward. The question becomes, can they move forward and be happy? Can these two lost souls find love with one another.

Favorite Quotes

(Be Aware, May Contain Spoilers)

“I love you,” I whispered. She smiled in her dreams. Because she already knew."

"It was quite obvious what she was to me, it was so clear why I always wanted her near. She was simply the air I breathed."

"With each exhale, I took in her breath, I drank her into me, realizing that she was mine. Forever and always, no matter what the future may hold. Each day, I longed for her. Each day, I loved her more."

"I crawled under the table next to my beautiful wife and placed my lips against her growing stomach. Within a few weeks we would be bringing yet another miracle into the world. We would be adding yet another beauty to our family."

"His forehead pressed against mine. “Lizzie… I need to prove to you that I’m not going to just run away again. I need to prove to you that I’m good enough for you and Emma.” “Shut up, Tristan.” “What?” “I said shut up. You saved my daughter’s life. You saved my life. You’re good enough. You’re our world.”

"I stayed with her that whole night. I didn’t lie beside her in her bed, but I sat in the chair at her desk, giving her the distance she needed, but also letting her know that she wasn’t ever going to be alone again."

“Tristan,” she said. “He makes you happy?” I nodded slowly. “And that scares you?” I nodded once more. She grinned. “Ah, then that means you’re doing it right.” “Doing what right?” “Falling in love.”

"While Tanner saw hell in Tristan’s stare, I only saw heaven."

“Show me the shadows that keep you up at night. Kiss me with your darkness.”

"There wasn’t anything about her that wasn’t beautiful."

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. I LOVED our heroine, Elizabeth. She was such a strong character with a great sense of humor and a great mother to her daughter (whom I also adored). When she returned to her hometown after a year of being away, she came back hoping to move forward from the death of her husband. Elizabeth lived with her mother for a year, not ready to live in the house she shared with her husband. While she was gone, a new neighbor moved in next door..our hero, Tristan. Except she didn't meet him in the traditional, "I'll bring a pie next door to say hello" type of way. Instead, she hit his dog, Zeus, with her car. Tristan instantly disliked her. She was mad at him for being so negative and awful. He was upset because she hit his dog. As a dog mom, I sided with Tristan in this scene. Later, Tristan was still standoffish. Everyone in town told Elizabeth to be careful of him. But something about him draws her in. Living next door to one another provides them the perfect chance to run into one another on a regular basis. He mows her lawn to help out. She lets him use her shower when his isn't working. After a certain point, their attraction takes hold.

At first, they use one another. Plain and simple. They enter into a sexual relationship calling the other person the name of their deceased spouse. Say, "what?" Personally, I like to focus on the relationship of the couple in front of me and this detracted from that narrative a little. I understand they are both dealing with grief and are coming to terms with their losses, but calling out someone else's name in bed didn't sit well with me as a romance reader. That was a little skin crawling. As a reader, I mentally understood it. I saw what Cherry was doing. As a person, I wasn't too invested in those scenes.

Once they realize that this isn't a healthy relationship (the part where I went, "no kidding"), they decided to stop sleeping with one another. At this point though, Elizabeth and Tristan have feelings for one another. Intrigue! Now, they need to learn how to navigate a relationship not based on their past losses. 

The book takes a few turns along the way once this new connection develops and takes hold in Elizabeth and Tristan. One of Elizabeth's friends goes bonkers, her daughter gets put in danger, and I got mad at Tristan at one point (to sum it up in the vaguest way imaginable). Lots and lots of drama and romance.

The Air He Breathes is a contemporary love story that deals with past hurt and learning to love again. If that interests you, read this book! 

What is your favorite quote from "The Air He Breathes"? Did you enjoy the May Romantics at Hart book selection?