Hard-edged rocker Graham Allen has it all. He's flush with cash from playing bass in a band by night and restoring classic cars by day. And there are plenty of women willing to share his bed for a night, complication-free. Perfect, because if there's anything he learned from his past, it was to never get attached—to anything. So when bartender Carly Sullivan flashes her innocent smile, Graham isn't prepared for what happens next.
Never fall in love
Two rules, that's all Graham has—never apologize and never fall in love. He knows Carly is everything he should avoid. Cheerful and sweet, she has "relationship" written all over her. But Graham can't stay away from her probing questions and concerned blue eyes.
When Graham discovers Carly is hiding a crushing secret, he's prepared to risk it all. Until in one single moment, everything changes and Graham's past threatens to collide with his future. His life is crumbling down around him, and soon no apology in the world can save him.
He should've known to walk away.
**This ARC was given to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review**
This was SUCH a fantastic story! A nice surprise, too, considering that I wasn't expecting too much. I felt so much for these characters.
No Apologies is really about forgiveness and acceptable, as you can maybe infer from the title. Our main character, Graham Allen, is a hard-edged rocker, who enjoys living life "complication-free". He says what he means and means what he says. He's not a fan of the intricacies of relationships, so he's a one night stand kind of guy. He's a douchebag a lot of the time, but you immediately see that there's more to him. Especially when he comes across our female protagonist, Carly Sullivan.
Carly is an easy-going bartender with a dark secret. She is a very happy person, joyful and encouraging. But her secret really does overtake her ability to live a full life. When she and Graham meet, it's quite the adventure. For both of them.
Graham is not a fan of getting too attached to people, and Carly slowly shatters that perception throughout the book. That is my favorite part about this book -- how slowly, yet perfectly the character development takes place. There is no rushing Graham and his perception shifts. And Carly is just simply being herself the entire time. Graham really was a nasty guy -- not a bad guy -- just a guy with a chip on his shoulder. And Carly realized that.
The relationship between the two didn't go from strangers to lovers. There was a lot of buildup, including friendship. Both parties had a lot of healing to do and Bartel did this book justice by allowing that healing to play out properly.
The world was kept very simple. Nothing too over the top. This was a very character driven story. You find that you really don't care about where the characters are, just that they're together and that there's growth. Between them and within them. I was rooting for Graham and Carly from the very beginning. The supporting characters in this book where very good, too. I felt that all of them were necessary. And used rather well.
All of the scenes between Carly and Graham were so emotional, whether it was good emotion or bad emotion. It was there and it made you feel. I loved every moment of it. Also, Bartel is very good about writing some good feels scenes, especially when it came to the sexy times. So much fun to read about!
Overall, this is probably a favorite book of mine for sure. Graham is a character that was so flawed, so scarred. But he slowly turned into someone who wanted to be better for himself. For Carly. And for his friends/family. You don't see a huge change in his personality, which is why I like Bartel's writing. She let him stay true to who he was. But you do see enough change in Graham that you know he's a better person by the end of the book.
Great book. I loved every page.
Rating: 5/5 stars
About Sybil Bartel:
I grew up in Northern California with my head in a book and my feet in the sand. I dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew me into the world of storytelling. I love the New Adult genre, but really, any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes me swoon.
I now live in Southern Florida and while I don’t get to read as much as I like, I still bury my toes in the sand. If I’m not writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in my backyard, you can find me spending time with my handsomely tattooed husband, my brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
Here are ten things you really want to know about me.
I grew up a faculty brat. I can swear like a sailor. I love men in uniform. I hate being told what to do. I can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks me out. My favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—I can’t decide. I have a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on me for driving directions, ever. And I have a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell my husband.
No Apologies Goodreads