His past was supposed to stay in the past.
Dane, Last Five Seconds’ drummer, is the “quiet” one. It’s not just because his bandmates are boisterous and love sucking up the limelight.
It’s part of who he is, where he comes from. But he’s determined to break free from the chains of his past.
When it catches up to him, his comfortable world shatters, leaving him with an injured back and an inability to perform his work onstage. To get back on the road as soon as possible, he undergoes physical therapy to aid with his recovery.
Enter Charlie. As his physical therapist, she’s a hell of a caregiver, but she’s also feisty. Sometimes she’s abrupt. And snappy. And downright rude. And, like Dane, she’s got a few hidden scars.
But Dane sees something inside her, something that speaks to him. Although Charlie holds him at arm’s length, even after he’s no longer her patient, Dane is finally able to penetrate her armor. While his scars have never fully healed, hers go even deeper.
As they work through their pasts together, Dane is convinced it will make them stronger, but can they ever move beyond their insecurities and hang ups enough to trust each other…or are they destined to be alone?
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Whilst Dane is part of a well known band, I loved how this wasn't all about him being a muso, focusing instead on how damage done in childhood can still impact us as an adult. It also allowed us to see both main characters grow as individuals.
Both Dane and Charlie have issues, particularly around self-worth and self-esteem. Whilst Dane's loving family has kept him fairly sociable, if a little wary of new people, Charlie really doesn't relate well to people, and struggles to let others in. Naturally this leads to a few ups and downs in relationship terms, particularly as they both struggle to be open and vulnerable with one another. Whilst an honest conversation would have avoided some of the trouble that beset them, it wouldn't have fitted with how they were written.
I did find Charlie a little difficult to connect to at first, which wasn't surprising as she's a very guarded individual, which the author portrayed perfectly. However, as she opened up to Dane, and as we learnt more of her life, I gradually came to understand her quickly finding myself as enamoured of her as I was with Dane. I did want to smack Dane around the head when he sent Charlie that text, but other than that the guy was pretty amazing. A strong male without being overbearing or too alpha.
The prose flowed smoothly, making this a really easy to read story, the plot felt totally believable and the pace was perfect for holding my attention. I really enjoyed the story, reading it felt effortless and I quickly found myself immersed in it. Perhaps I would have liked just a little more internal monologue, a little more self reflection by both characters on their decisions and choices. The book didn't necessarily need that though, it would totally come under the remit of "personal preference".
Inferno can totally be read as a stand alone story, and carefully avoids spoilers for other books in the series. It's a dual point of view book, written in first person and one that I am more than happy to recommend.