Can’t Hardly Breathe- Gena Showalter

“Fierce and gorgeous and battle ready, he jumped to his feet. He was a thousand dreams come true… a million fantasies in the making. An illusion. He was nothing but a heartbreak waiting to happen. “I’m not ashamed of you, Thea. Of course, you’re worth something. You’re worth everything.”

What a marvelous story of getting your self-esteem back and finally getting what you really deserve. Your heart will break and mend with the love that Thea and Daniel shower towards each other. It was easy to encourage their relationship from the start. She paired two extremely loveable characters together and made them even more vulnerable and easy to relate to.

All Dorothea knew growing up was that she wasn’t good enough for anyone. The kids picked on her relentlessly and she never got her first true love to reciprocate. While being picked on, Daniel came to her rescue letting her know that she was good enough. He just ever out through the effort to make her feel how true his words really were. Dorothea hoped and prayed that he would rescue her like a damsel in distress, but it never happened.

After High School, Dorothea made a life of her own and moved out of Strawberry Valley. She was going to school to be a meteorologist and met the man of her dreams who had their sights locked in together. Until Jazz ruined everything and had Dorothea fleeing back to her hometown helping her mom take care of the Inn.

Working at the Inn made Dorothea look towards the future. She had dreams of making themed rooms to bring in more customers. What stopped her in her tracks was Daniel. Yes, the Daniel who she crushed on ever since he stood up for her and made her feel that her life wasn’t worthless. He comes in and out of the Inn a lot with a different girl on his arm every time he’s around. It doesn’t stop Dorothea from looking at her crush.

After their latest encounter, Dorothea wants to change her life. No more hiding in shame. It’s time for her to embrace who she is and what she looks like and finally go after what she wants. And she has her eyes on Daniel. She shows up to his room and she lays it all on the line. He drinks her in but says no. Feeling disgraced like she isn’t good enough, she builds that wall back up and forgets what even happened.

Daniel wanted to say yes to Dorothea but doesn’t do relationships or hook up with anyone from town. His dad hears rumors and starts to plan his wedding and talks about upcoming Grandkids. After being in the military, Daniel just doesn’t get close to anyone. PTSD runs his life and doesn’t want to ruin anyone else’s due to his setbacks. But he’ll be damned if he doesn’t want Dorothea all to himself. He is now on a mission to make Dorthea believe his words when he tells her that she is perfect just the way she is and that she’s perfect for him.

Can Daniel sweep Dorothea off her feet? Or will both their pasts ruin their relationship before it even starts?

This was the typical girl was bullied, girl turns into a pinup, and the hot guy with washboard abs falls in love with her. But this was a damn good book. It was so much more than romance. They both had a strong back story and didn’t need to lean on each other. But when they are together, it makes the story that much more meaningful.

I haven’t read any of the others in this series, but I want to. She has a special way with words and I’m infatuated with her books now.

Can we also talk about how she mentioned some of her books in this one!!? ❤

4/5