Series: Love by Numbers #6
on June 13, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I'm sorry for your loss.
Why do people say that?
When someone you love is taken from you, when a part of you dies along with them, you haven't lost them like you would your car keys or mobile phone. They aren't stuck down the side of the sofa or left in the ignition of your car for you to find later. You haven't absentmindedly put them somewhere and forgotten. You will never lose them because they live in you.
The soul crushing hurt that burns your lungs with every breath you take comes from knowing where they are and not being with them.
The ugly and real definition of grief is being left behind.
I'm sorry they left you.
I'm sorry you are alone.
I'm sorry it hurts to breathe.
Loss; it doesn't even compare.
She was my first love.
She is my last love.
I am an empty husk who pretends to be filled with enough love for those of us she left behind.
Our little girl and newborn son need me.
I am both mother and father now.
I am hollow and empty.
I am a shell.
So why does the girl with the face of an angel and eyes that mirror my emptiness, look at me like I'm her everything?
*Book #6 in the 'Love by Numbers' series. Can be read as a standalone.*
Eight is the 6th book in a series featuring the Fox Brothers. While it is a Standalone I really recommend reading the other books in the series as some of the brothers make an appearance in this story. This is Josh’s story. You need to have tissues handy while reading.
The story begins with Josh, then age 14, when he meets Laura Miles, on her first day at the new school. They both realize they were going to be together, it’s the start of them. And for 15 years they were. They married and became school teachers (they worked at the same school) and had a daughter, Ivy, who’s 3 years old. After giving birth to their son Laura dies unexpectedly. And in a way, so does Josh. He’s so torn with grief that he lashes out at his family. He doesn’t want to go on living without Laura, much less raise their children without her.
“This little girl is the most precious gift Laura ever gave me, and I’ve abandoned her. I’ve forsaken my three-year-old to wallow in my misery because it was easier than trying to live. Easier than pretending that life must go on, but it does have to go on. Despite my shattered bones and split skin, despite my crushed heart and bruised lungs, and even though I burn, I drown, and I die every single morning, this little girl’s life must go on, and she needs me to be present for it.”
Her presence is everywhere. And, as shameful as it sounds, he resents the baby boy that was born the Laura she died. It takes him two months to name him, Arthur. The name Laura had chosen for him. Josh’s brother Issac (Iz) steps in, putting his life on hold, to “help” him with the kids. In a blink of an eye, 8 months go by, and Josh gets a rude awakening when he hears Arthur call Iz “Da-Da”. He realizes that he’s wasted eight months. She’s never coming back.
“You can love people too much, you know, and you can lose yourself in the process.”
“I haven’t lost myself, I’ve lost them.”
“Let grief soften you not turn you to stone. Let the heartache you carry make you wiser, and take all your suffering and transform it into strength. No matter what life has thrown at you, you’re still here, and you can still learn. Be proud of this, be proud of who you are, and if you can’t be, be proud of who you can become. Trust me, you don’t want to end up like me, so go home to your family and love them too much. Because there is never too much when it comes to love.”
When Josh finds out that Iz has a job offer he doesn’t want to take, as it would mean leaving them, he convinces Iz to take it. Josh thinks this is exactly what they need, too. He decides to move, leave everything behind, all the memories of Laura and start over.
“Because memories are not sweet right now, they’re just bitter, and for the sake of myself and my kids, we need a clean slate.”
The advantage of having an older brother, Nate, that has wildly successful nightclubs located in various countries, is that he can ask him for help. So he asks Nate to lend him his villa in Ibiza for a few months. He’s offered it indefinitely. A week later, he leaves everything behind, to start fresh.
Halle Richards is a waitress/singer working at Nate’s nightclub. Halle had a horrible, lonely childhood. She was abandoned, penniless, in Ibiza by her ex-boyfriend. That same day, Nate hired her to work for him. He saved her life. She’s best friends with the manager, Rachel, and when she’s asked to take some supplies to welcome Josh to Ibiza, she doesn’t hesitate. Unfortunately, he’s not very grateful. Let’s say they get off on the wrong foot. Every time she sees Josh, she’s reminded of how awful he can be.
Months later Arthur turns one and Josh decides he needs his family to celebrate the milestone.
“I may have come to Ibiza to escape memories, and to avoid the people I love, but the last month here has shown me that you can’t run from those who only want the best for you. Without them, you’re at risk of losing yourself. With them, you are found.”
I absolutely loved Eight! Of course, the story progresses with a lot more moments of heartache and tears. Sad and happy ones. Josh has quite a journey to make before reaching the other side. Both he and Halle have a ton of baggage weighing them down. There are moments that I seriously doubted either one would make it. There was so much heartache, after all. What’s a little bit more?
“Isn’t that what life is? Just one big old mess. Life is complicated, ugly and often messy, but it’s also beautiful too.”
“It’s also incredibly short, and I’m done with letting it pass me by. It’s like I’m a bystander watching others live while I go through the motions, but I want to live it, I want to embrace the mess, and if I come out a little messy too, at least I can say I lived and not just existed.”
“What changed for you?”
“Everything. When someone you love dies, grief is a by-product of that loss, but it can become indulgent, and it doesn’t serve anyone. The pain you endure becomes something you live on like air or water or food.”
This book gutted me. I have to force myself to quit quoting from it, there are so many beautiful, touching quotes that I highlighted. I’m going to stop now, just ending this review with a recommendation to Read. This. Book!