Left (Still Standing #1)
by: T.R. Graves
4 Stars ★★★★
Blurb ~ A naive Baylee loves Colt, her boyfriend of four years, more than she ever thought possible. After a little snooping, she's convinced she's well on her way toward hearing an once-in-a-lifetime proposal and starring in the wedding-of-the-year event. Instead, she's blindsided by a very public breakup and the crushing news that Colt is marrying someone else… someone more befitting him and the role his father expects him to take in his law firm.
Baylee may have spent years resenting Ariana, her mother, and her suicide, an intolerable show of weakness in Baylee's opinion, but after Colt leaves her just short of the altar, Baylee sees the world through her mother's eyes. She sympathizes with Ariana's actions and realizes that some things—soul-deep aches—can irreparably damage you and make moving on nearly impossible.
At least that's how she feels until she meets Ryker. With his help, Baylee discovers there is life after Colt, and she prepares to move on by pulling herself up by the bootstraps, holding her head high, and standing on her own two feet. Unfortunately, a new jealous and hateful Colt has his own plans for her, and they are plans no one—especially Baylee—ever saw coming.
*ARC provided by Author for Honest Review*
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t expecting it to be bad but I wasn’t expecting it to be so great and for me to love it as much as I did. I was apprehensive to start this one considering the blurb. I mean I didn’t expect a blossoming romance to work so well considering the circumstances nor did I factor in Ryker. One of the things I loved most about the story was how invested I became early on. I even grew an affection for Colt, which diminished as the story went on. I felt Baylee’s pain and suffering when things took a turn for the worse. The writing will not only suck you in but engage your emotions as if the pain was your own. It was hard watching Colt blindside Baylee and even more so as he continued to deteriorate throughout the novel.
Baylee’s life turns to shit almost overnight. The love of her life suddenly drops her right when she thinks things are going to change for them, for the better no less. Unfortunately for Baylee, Colt is more concerned with his father’s wants and needs than his or even Baylees’. Not a few feet away awaits Ryker and from that night on her life is trivial no longer.
Ryker has a very take charge personality and before Baylee knows it, she’s under his thumb and letting him numb her wounds. No, they don’t have sex right away or even really have an insta-relationship and I was super grateful for that fact. Ryker helps Baylee examine her life with Colt and discover her own self worth. For someone who was willing to give her life to a man who cared so little about her to throw her away at his father’s request, Baylee has a lot of soul searching to do.
However, finding yourself and happiness can’t be easy when said ex won’t stop coming around. Every time Baylee thinks she has things figured out and tries to move on with her happiness, Colt has to step in and stir things up. To say Colt goes a bit crazy would be an understatement, for someone who wanted the breakup, he has a hard time letting go. As if breaking her heart is not enough Colt has to conintually work to make Baylee regret leaving him, as if she was the one who broke it off. He certainly has multiple personalities that in all the years they were together he kept hidden extremely well. Sure the situation sucks for Baylee but I can’t help but be thankful she was able to see Colt’s true colors.
This story was hot. Not only was I sucked into the storyline and the character dilemmas I was also invested in their relationship and journey of falling in and out of love. I loved Ryker, especially his secret identity. I was a bit disappointed by how connected everyone was at the company because it all seemed a bit over the top but I was thankful he was in a position to help Baylee at all. Poor Baylee hasn’t had it easy since she lost her mother. She carries guilt over that even though she was only a child. Even though she and Ryker start off as friends, I loved the connection between the two. I would have liked more from Ryker like his POV or more of his story but I’m sure book #2 will not disappoint. Sometimes it’s not until you think you’re going to lose someone that your feelings have a way of coming to light and Ryker never backed down from what he was feeling. It was a very powerful emotion for a male character. I definitely have a special place in my heart for Ryker.
I honestly loved this book. It sparked all my interests and kept be invested from the beginning. I never expected to enjoy it so much nor love the storyline as much as I did. There is really no mystery but this can certainly be labeled a romantic suspense. Don’t let the blurb fool you, this is a turbulent ride of upheavals and missing seatbelts. Thankfully there is no horrid cliff-hanger but there is certainly an ending deserving of more. Seems as if Baylee’s fight for love is starting all over again and this time she has to fight for her man. I can’t wait. Anxiously awaiting the sequel and I would certainly recommend you read this.