Author Sara Fawkes had fans clamoring for more with her New York Times bestselling e-serial erotic romance, Anything He Wants. Now, she's giving readers exactly what they want with her New Adult debut and first full length novel, Breathe into Me, a sexy, deeply emotional romance that brings Fawkes' signature heat to a highly popular new genre.
How did my life get so broken? It's a question Lacey St. James asks herself every day. Stuck raising her little brother in a trailer park while she works a dead end job at a grocery store, she has a stalker exboyfriend, a bad reputation, and no way out.
And then she meets Everett, who changes her entire existence.
Everett is an outsider who's housesitting his family's mansion off the coast, and for reasons Lacey can't understand, he's completely captivated by her. He seems determined to show her that life can offer more than she'd ever hoped for, if only she believes in herself. She desperately yearns to trust him, but what happens when she finds out that everything he's told her is a lie?
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
SARA FAWKES is the USA Today bestselling author of the erotic e-serial novel Anything He Wants. She lives in California with her menagerie of pets and, when not writing, loves to rebuild old motorcycles and practice her fiddle.
Read an Excerpt
Breathe into Me
By Sara Fawkes
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Sara Fawkes
All rights reserved.
A handsome boy was lying in bed behind me, but the condescending leer on his face made me want to run away.
Too bad he was my boyfriend.
"Why are you getting all dressed up? It's barely eight o'clock."
I ignored him and hooked the bra behind my back, picking up my clothes from the floor before ducking into the bathroom. I wanted to lock the door, but Macon hated that. I didn't want him to get mad or break down the door, not tonight. I should have been out the door half an hour ago but I had to clean up after sex with him — he liked it dirty and rough. Nothing a washcloth and some foundation couldn't fix, but the memory was an oily stain on my mind.
I played with my blond hair, contemplating what quick style would work for going out, then grabbed a hair tie and put it back into a ponytail. As I looked through my makeup, the door slid open and Macon squeezed into the small bathroom behind me. I braced myself against the sink when his hands grabbed my hips, his flaccid groin thrusting against my backside. One hand crept up to my neck, pulling me back against him and squeezing enough to restrict the blood flow. "What's your rush, Lacey?" he murmured in my ear.
"I promised Ashley I'd drive tonight."
The hand around my throat squeezed harder, and I started to tremble as my airway was blocked. Macon thought playing rough like this was somehow sexy — that women liked a man who took control — but I had a feeling he just got off on my fear.
I swallowed, or at least tried to, around the tight grip on my windpipe. "Ashley needs a designated driver," I rasped, putting my hand on his in what I hoped he'd see as an appeasing gesture. "I don't want her to get hurt."
My evident altruism finally won a smile from him. "You're a good girl," he said, letting go of my neck and patting my cheek. "You promise to think on what we talked about?"
Angry words at his condescending manner rose like bile, but all I felt was relief when he stepped away. I nodded silently, not trusting myself to speak. Coughing would only make him angry, so I held my breath until he closed the bathroom door behind him. Only then did I sit down on the toilet, trying to take slow breaths through my bruised throat.
At times like this, I had to tell myself over and over that being with him was better than being at home, but it no longer felt like the truth. The way he acted sometimes sickened me, made me afraid, but I stayed silent. At least with him I had some measure of respect, and people didn't bother me.
My makeup was mostly done, but I put an extra layer on my neck in case the skin showed signs of bruising. I'd grown very adept at hiding the bruises and scratches; he'd certainly given me more than enough practice. Macon was lying on the couch as I hunted around for my shoes. Outside, someone honked, and, peeking out the blinds, I saw Ashley's car.
Shit. She wasn't going to be happy about having to pick me up.
"Looking for these?"
Macon held up my heels with one hand, and I forced myself not to snatch them from him. Trying to put them on while walking, I opened the door and was barely through the entryway when hands grabbed me and pulled me back inside. Slamming me back against the wall beside the door, Macon lowered his head and kissed me brutally. He was all tongue and teeth, his hands grabbing my breasts and twisting painfully.
"Should I tell her to leave without you?"
I shook my head, trying to keep the sudden panic off my face. "I'm her DD, remember? I'd feel terrible if she got hurt driving home."
The darkening of his gorgeous blue eyes made me tense in preparation for his answer, but he finally let me go. "I'll see you later, then," he said, the words more a dark promise than a farewell.
My legs were shaking as I got into the small car. Ashley had the music blaring, a sure sign that she was pissed, but she gave me a cheerful smile that didn't reach her eyes. "Looks like the boy toy can't keep his hands off you."
"Yeah. Look, Ashley, I'm sorry I didn't get to your house. Macon wouldn't let me leave and ripped my other top when he —"
"Meh. Bored now."
I knew Ashley was a fair-weather friend, the kind you went clubbing with but didn't talk to much besides that, but her casual brush-off of my problems hurt. I'd been there for her when her last boyfriend beat her enough to draw blood, but she couldn't be bothered to do the same for me. She started chatting about one of her other friends who'd gotten pregnant without knowing who the daddy was, and I kept my mouth shut, letting her ramble and pretending interest.
"Ready for a night of fun?"
I shrugged, not caring either way. Lately, barhopping and clubbing had ceased being fun and turned into an excuse to get out of whichever house I was staying in at the time. I didn't answer and Ashley didn't seem to care, continuing to prattle on as we headed toward the bar.
* * *
I couldn't remember ever being sober at this bar before, which was probably on account of how lame it was without the haze of alcohol.
Ashley had worked up a buzz right out of the gate, hitting on a few of the older gentlemen and getting shots for both of us. She'd taken four, including the two bought for me, saying I was the designated driver for the night. One of the men, a forty-something with a gold band on his left hand, had tried to pull me down onto his lap. I'd deftly maneuvered my way out of it, laughing and patting his cheek while giving him an easy view down my shirt. That had seemed to be enough for him, and thankfully he'd let me go.
The hotel bar was packed. Summer had hit, and people had returned from college or come to take advantage of the area's beaches. The romantic prospects were much more abundant, but I couldn't make myself care. The thought of any more relationships didn't interest me in the slightest.
"Ooh, who's that delicious piece of ass over there?"
I looked over at Ashley, who was fiddling with her beer bottle label, and then followed her gaze across the room. I zeroed in on the blond boy at the table. "Is that Trent Maverick?"
I'd forgotten that Ashley had gone to a different high school than me. It was easy to forget our age difference. At twenty-two, the brunette was three years older than me, but with her petite frame she looked fresh out of high school. "I went to high school with him," I said over the band's music.
"Did he play any sports?"
He hadn't been on my radar in school. I shrugged. "Probably."
"I'd fuck him in a heartbeat."
The crude way she said it made me wince. Ashley's brain-to-mouth filter was always MIA, but it grew worse when she was drunk. She'd gotten us into trouble more than once by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. The girl had been constantly moving since we'd arrived at the bar, and I felt like a babysitter trying to keep her out of trouble.
A predatory smile crossed Ashley's lips. "Oh yeah, he's so mine."
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. I was too tired to argue or play games tonight. I hadn't had anything to drink, and I just wanted to find somewhere to lie down. I needed sleep; my two jobs had me running ragged lately, but Ashley had insisted I come with her tonight.
Ashley grabbed my arm, tugging me around the dance floor toward the occupied table. I went along willingly enough but wasn't in the mood to do anything more than sit.
"Quit being such a spoilsport, just take the other one."
I hadn't seen the other boy from across the room, but as I drew closer I realized Trent may not have been who Ashley was talking about. Whereas the blond boy I knew was leaning forward, eagerly watching two girls dancing nearby, the dark-haired boy beside him was lounging back in his seat. The tabletop was filled with beer bottles, but it was impossible to tell who had drunk what.
"Hi," Ashley said loudly, still managing to sound sultry even when nearly yelling. "Is this seat taken?"
Trent looked at her, and he seemed to appreciate what he saw, but Ashley only had eyes for the boy beside him. She did what I called her power pose, arching her back to better display her assets. The dark-haired boy ignored her, however, his gaze instead moving to me. Something sparked in his eyes, and I felt goose bumps break out over my skin.
Butterflies fluttered in my belly. Suddenly nervous, I looked away to the dance floor, hoping he would stop staring. My own reaction bothered me; I didn't like how the other boy made me feel. Ashley slanted me a dark look but kept her smile in place to keep up appearances. Without waiting for an answer, she took the seat next to her target. She had no qualms moving in for the kill and leaving me to fend for myself. Reining in my annoyance, I pulled up a chair across the table beside the familiar blond boy, who finally seemed to notice me.
"Didn't I go to high school with you?"
I nodded mutely. Trent was staring at me, a slightly confused look on his face as he tried to place me, then he snapped his fingers. "You're Lacey, right? What happened to you? I know you didn't graduate with us."
"I dropped out before Christmas."
I kept waiting for him to recall me, my body tense and waiting for his reaction, but he just cocked his head to one side. "You dropped out in the middle of senior year?"
"It wasn't the greatest decision in the world," I hedged, uncomfortable at being called out. Even two years later, the decision still haunted me. So close, and I'd just given up.
"Well, it's cool to see you again."
I blinked several times as he turned his attention toward Ashley. His words seemed sincere enough, and I looked away, surprised by how that fact shocked me. Our school had been small, but apparently he really didn't remember much about me except my name. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.
Across from me, Ashley was trying to entice the other boy into dancing, with no luck. I could feel his eyes on me, but I didn't look back at him, hoping he would eventually ignore me. I didn't miss Ashley's glare, however. She didn't seem to like the fact that I'd managed to attract the attention of both guys, and as usual it was all my fault.
Abandoning the dark-haired boy, she pasted a big smile on her face and held her hand out to Trent. "Wanna dance?" It was obvious she was trying to steal him away from me, make me jealous maybe, but I didn't care and Trent didn't seem to mind. He jumped up, eager to get close to the perky brunette, and followed her out on the dance floor.
Once they left, silence reigned at the table. I felt rude ignoring the other boy, but for some reason he made me jittery. The band continued to loudly butcher Johnny Cash, and conversation throughout the room only added to the raucous din.
"Are the bands always this bad?"
I bit my lip at his question. He had a deep voice that sent shivers through me, and I didn't like my reaction to him. "Only if we're lucky." I glanced at him and then looked away again. He was leaning toward me, obviously interested. I'd tried to ignore him, not wanting to rile Ashley, but he really was handsome. There was a ruggedness about him that was totally unlike Macon's pretty-boy good looks, and I could feel my attraction building. That only made ignoring him more imperative, but I hated being rude. "At least this time the singer isn't completely tone deaf. The keyboardist can't keep the tempo to save his life, though."
"Do you play?"
I nodded. "Piano."
"Really." The news perked his interest. "What kind of music do you play?"
"Classical." It had been a handful of years since my fingers had touched ivory, but, despite my tension, I smiled at the memory. "I was really good at it, too."
"Was? You don't play anymore?"
The smile slipped from my lips, and I gave a jerky shake of my head. Eager to change the subject, I continued hastily, "You're not from around here, are you?"
He shook his head. "I'm house-sitting down here with Trent for the summer," he said, and then held out his hand. "I'm Everett Ward."
His hand was soft but thick and heavy; the touch made the butterflies in my stomach dance faster. "Lacey St. James." I cleared my throat, trying to act like his proximity wasn't getting to me. "What house are y'all watching?"
"It's down by the ocean. Really big, too, there's a guesthouse and boat storage behind the house."
"Are y'all staying in the Pass? The Cove?" At his blank look, I added, "You know, Oyster Cove, or Bay St. Louis, or Pass Christian, or ...?"
Understanding entered his eyes as I named the area's coastal towns. "Oyster Cove. Trent is friends with the family. It's a big white mansion off the coast highway."
I blinked. "You talking about the Plymouth plantation house?" I asked.
"Didn't know it was named."
"Do you know y'all are house-sitting for one of the richest families in the county?"
He shrugged, looking back to the dance floor. "Far as I can tell, they haven't lived there for a while."
I might not have originally been from this little corner of southern Mississippi, but I'd learned a thing or two over the last few years. I'd only ever seen the large white antebellum house from the highway, nestled back on the massive property amid regal trees far older than me. I looked back out over the dance floor, a little amazed. "Nice place." An understatement.
Everett shrugged again, but I saw a smile play at the corners of his mouth. For some reason, that made me warm up inside. I got the feeling he didn't smile much, and the lopsided tilt of his lips made him even more handsome. A lock of dark hair fell across his forehead, and I had to resist the insane urge to push it back so I could see his face. He had on a black button-up, long-sleeved shirt with expensive-looking jeans. While he didn't really look out of place in the bar, something still managed to set him apart.
"Unfortunately," he continued, "they don't have a piano, or I'd ask you to come play."
I'm sure you would. Reality crashed in, and I flushed. Boys had been inviting me over for years now with similar lines, and some that weren't as subtle. A bitter gall worked its way up my throat and I swallowed it back. Regardless of what my heart wanted to believe, experience told me I couldn't trust him.
My mood soured by my own thoughts, I stood up. "I need to use the bathroom," I mumbled. Not caring if he heard me, I walked away into the crowd. My view of him was immediately swallowed up and I let out a relieved sigh, ignoring my disappointment. The boy made me nervous, and I couldn't quite explain why. Maybe it was because part of me wanted to trust him, which was a ridiculous idea. I didn't know the boy at all, other than that he was a friend of Trent's.
The bathroom was just inside the corridor leading to the back, but as I reached the end of the hallway an arm snapped into view, blocking my path. "Where've you been all my life, beautiful?"
I whirled to see Macon standing beside me. He was wearing slacks and a tight blue shirt that showed off his muscles. His golden hair was slicked back, and the grin he gave me had a decidedly wicked gleam. Suddenly jittery, I tried to hide my anxiety as he stepped close. If he'd seen me sitting with the other boy ...
"You look good enough to eat tonight," he murmured, running my ponytail through his fingers. I fought back a flinch, but he didn't grab my hair like I thought he would. His hand slid down my shoulder and around my forearm. "Why don't we go talk outside?"
"Macon, I gotta pee." Sometimes being blunt disarmed him enough that I could get away, but the tactic didn't work tonight.
"Come on, I need your help."
Briefly, I thought about fighting myself free — I was in public, there wasn't much he could do to me here — but ultimately decided against making a scene. In my experience, it was easier to just get things over with quickly and go back inside. When our path took us past the storage areas toward the back entrance, however, I started getting nervous again. There was no breaking his hold now; as he drew me farther away from the crowds, his grip on my arm tightened painfully.
It's hard to dig in your heels when you're wearing three-inch stilettos, but I tried anyway. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew for sure I wasn't going to like it.
Excerpted from Breathe into Me by Sara Fawkes. Copyright © 2014 Sara Fawkes. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great Book!! Sometimes a book has the power to overtake your world and as a result, make you realize how precious life really is. Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes had that affect on me. Lacey St. James's lived a pleasant life with her mom, step-dad and four-year-old brother in Oregon. Then her step-dad died, and her mother moved them across the country to Mississippi. Their new home was a trailer in a trailer-park, with Lacey's gossipy wench of a grandmother. Lacey's new life is a horror. She got involved with the wrong kind of men, never finished high school and received verbal beatings daily from her grandmother. Her life was scary and she was drowning. Under her grandmother's dictatorship, Lacey's mother slowly deteriorates and becomes a drunk, while bruises begin to appear on her brother. Meeting Everett takes away some of the pain. He genuinely likes Lacey and wants to be her friend without any strings attached. With his encouragement and a little help from two new friends, her life begins to turn around. However, her past continues to wreck havoc on her future. In addition, Everett has his own demons that he must deal with before he and Lacey can be together. From the very first chapter I was captivated by Lacey's broken and sad life. I connected with her plight immediately, because she, as well as the plot, are so well defined and described. When Lacey cried, my heart was breaking and when Everett became emotional, I felt his despair. This story is replete with raw emotions from both main characters. From time to time an author is able to create a story that you fall in love with, and touches you in such a way that even when you have finished reading, the plot seems to live on in your soul. Breathe Into Me is one of those kind of books. It held my heart in a vise from beginning to end. Don't pass up the opportunity to read this emotional, new adult romance.
LOVED how intense this was! Sara Fawkes is another new to me author and she really has my attention now. BREATHE INTO ME is the story of a small town girl who once had a normal happy life with parents and family who loved and encouraged her. But at fifteen, when the stepfather who adopted her and raised her as his own since she was a baby dies, everything changes. Her mother falls apart and moves their little family across the country from Oregon to a rural town in Mississippi to live with Lacey's abusive grandmother Diana. Everyone she should have been able to trust and rely on to keep her safe is either gone or refuses to do so. She is caught in a spiral of poverty, despair and victimization with seemingly no safe place to turn. Her situation broke my heart. I couldn't help but want to be her champion and was thrilled when she meets Everett, a college boy in town for the summer to work for his friend's dad's construction company. The very first time he meets her he saves her from a dangerous situation and offers her friendship. Not having met anyone she could trust in a long time Lacey doesn't know what to think of Everett. She isn't used to having anyone, especially boys, be kind to her without expecting something in return. Everett doesn't push her, yet always makes sure she knows he's there if she needs anything. He patiently earns her trust and affection even though he fell for her right from the start. My emotions pretty much ran the gamut with this book. One of the many things I loved about this book is that I never got comfortable in the story, meaning from one minute to the next I couldn't predict what was going to happen. I'm trying not to give anything away, but I was continually surprised by twists I never saw coming and honestly that doesn't happen all that often to me. I am impressed by Ms. Fawkes storytelling skills. I was completely enthralled with this book and could not put it down. There are a lot of sweet touching scenes in BREATHE INTO ME, and scenes where Lacey is verbally, emotionally, and sometimes physically brutalized that will piss you off and make you wish your could reach out and hug her tight, and later in the book when Everett finally wins her heart there are some hot sexy scenes! Aside from Lacey and Everett, there are some excellently written secondary characters. Villains, sidekicks, and those who show themselves as true friends to Lacey and Everett. Cherise wins my vote for best friend ever in the scene where she catches that a**hole Mason on her property and teaches him to do a little dance, lol. All I'm saying is girls, we could all use a friend like her. And we could all be so lucky as to have a man like Everett fall in love with us. Don't miss out on this book, it's a 5 star read!! ~Complimentary copy received in exchange for an honest review.
Couldnt put this book down. I can so relate to the termole of laceys life. Her n everett can both finally change their lives n be happy. So much to overcome, but the outcome is so worth it. Sonetimes we do things in our lives to finally be truely happy n they finally get theirs. I hope there is more coming with updates including them, but casey n andrewsstory would be good to. Finished this book in 2 days.
I love it . My favorite book .
4 Stars New Adult Romance Release: April 8, 2014 ABOUT THE BOOK: How did my life get so broken? It’s a question Lacey St. James asks herself every day. Stuck raising her little brother in a trailer park while she works a dead end job at a grocery store, she has a stalker exboyfriend, a bad reputation, and no way out. And then, she meets Everett, who changes her entire existence. Everett is an outsider who’s housesitting his family’s mansion off the coast, and for reasons Lacey can’t understand, he’s completely transfixed by her. He seems determined to show her that life can offer more than she’d ever hoped for, if only she believes in herself. She desperately yearns to trust him, but what happens when she finds out that everything he’s told her is a lie? MY REVIEW: This was very unusual from a typical romance or NA book out right now. And now, unusual is a strong word, but in this case it’s good. I say that because I don’t think you’ll find another NA book on the market like this one. The characters are intriguing in the sense that the author creates very raw and real issues with them. Some could say that they don’t like the heroine, but I have a feeling that if they really understand what the author is trying to communicate—which she did very well—then many would see the astounding effect it could have on how characters are portrayed. The overall story was very complex and highly engaging. You have this girl who has this really horrible life and still tries to keep her head up no matter what comes her way. She has no one to escape to, no family, no friends, and her boyfriend is an absolute hellion. Then Everett comes in the picture, and he sees right through everything. But see, even he has some secrets and our heroine has trust issues. Explosive. That’s the word I’d use to describe this story. It’s good and will have you staying up long into the night reading it. Still, after you’re done, you’ll keeping of the characters. It’s all that, and then some. Get your copy today.
I read this book in 3 days. Definitely kept me on my toes but it took almost the whole book to get to the climax and then kind of fizzled out. Though, i really wish this book was a series but it is good if you want a quick read
Kept me reading!!
This book is fantastic! I don't have anything bad to say about it. I'm so happy that I got it though!!
I generally don't like books where abuse is part of story. Book was a tad rough in spots, but decent love story. Main character has a little brother whom she loved/cared for, so I would have liked a better ending between she and her brother. I certainly did not hate the book, just didn't love it (think I was comparing to AHW, which was not fair as they were 2 different books and I really enjoyed that one)
Love love this but would love to have a part 2 to it
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley.) High school drop-out Lacey lives in her Grandmother’s trailer, and works two jobs to pay more rent than her Grandmother pays. Her mother is always drunk, and her boyfriend Macon likes to be rough with her. When Lacey meets Everett, she feels a spark, and she likes the way he treats her. Can Lacey get away from the people that like to hurt her? And what is Everett hiding? This was an okay contemporary romance, and the ‘love’ scenes were pretty hot! Lacey was an okay character, and I did feel quite sorry for her and the way she was treated. Macon was pretty awful to her, talk about a cretin, and he really deserved to be in jail for what he did to her. Unfortunately her mother and grandmother were pretty darn awful to her too, and it was so unfair the way everyone treated her like trash. The storyline in this was okay, but it didn’t really pull me in. The way that Lacey was treated made me feel angry, but otherwise I didn’t feel all that much for the story at all. The sex scenes were pretty hot, and saved this book for me. If it weren’t for the steamy love scenes I wouldn’t have liked this book at all. The revelation at the end with regards to Everett was interesting, and I was glad that we got a happy ending after all. Overall; okay contemporary romance with some hot love scenes, 6.5 out of 10.
This was not what I expected. This was a wonderfully written story of a young woman trying to find herself, trying to start over, and coming to terms with the life she was dealt. Lacey is broken. She meets Everett who's broken in his own way. These two are good for one another. What I thought I was getting was a romance of sorts. I was wrong. This was much more.