Review ~ Breathe You In by Lily Harlem

Breathe You In by Lily Harlem
Rating:  5 Stars
Author site:
Genre:  Contemporary Romance (Hot)
Blurb:  Sometimes you don’t realize how special a moment is until it’s a memory.
When he held me in his arms I saw a handsome, vibrant man with desire in his eyes and love in his heart. But Ruben Strong was more than that; he was a way out of my darkness, a glimmer of light peeking through my shroud—he was a piece of what I no longer had.
What he didn’t know, but I did, was that he’d been waiting for me. It had taken me time and courage to go looking for him, but if I hadn’t done what I’d done on my bleakest day, he wouldn’t have been there for me to find.
My tumbling decisions led to a meeting that tipped everything I thought I knew about myself upside down. While we were lying warm and naked in his bed, my old memories became new ones and our souls talked to each other in a way only we could understand. And our bodies, once we were brave enough to hum a quiet tune, quickly produced a beautifully sexy song that threw open the doors to love and laughter in my life once more.
Reader advisory – Breathe You In is a romance with themes of love, loss and hope and contains several explicit sex scenes.
Review:  Katie Lansdale is sifting through the pieces of her shattered life. Eighteen months earlier, a construction accident claimed the life of her beloved husband Matt. He was her whole world; every part of her life centered around being Matt’s wife. Now, she is an emotional and physical wreck. She’s lost weight. Her friends try to help by pushing her to go after life again, but she just can’t let Matt go. Katie’s grief is a tangible, palpable thing and it ripped my heart out from the beginning of this beautiful story of loss and finding love again.
After the accident, Katie chose to donate Matt’s organs. Almost a little mad with grief, she becomes obsessed with the need to know who received Matt’s heart and lungs. She needs to see the recipient healthy and thriving, to know that the heart that loved her so much still beats. This might have been a little odd for some readers, but showing the depth of Katie’s grief made her initial actions acceptable in my eyes. People do odd things when they are grieving. She only wants a peek at the man from afar. It seems harmless, until she bumps into Ruben Strong in the museum where he works and falls in love.
Ruben was a real live wire. A Formula One mechanic, he lived his life in the fast lane of racing. Fast cars and faster women were his thing. And then, his heart starting fading away. After his heart transplant, he’s slowed down, works at a museum and lives a quite careful life. He and Katie click immediately. He doesn’t know that she is the donor’s widow. This makes for a strong conflict between the pair. Ruben is a broken hero, broken but still whole. He needs to feel alive again and Katie does that for him. 
Any more and I’d be giving away the story. Breathe You In is both sexy and sweet, tragic and hopeful. The level of emotion Ms. Harlem evokes not only from the characters but the reader as well shows a rare gift. In a few short pages, she managed to make me cry, laugh, and yearn for this couple to connect. Breathe You In has become my favorite title by Ms. Harlem to date. As always, I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for her readers.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. While I do consider the author a colleague and close acquaintance, our association in no way effects my review of her book.