Most Of All You by Mia Sheridan
Standalone Contemporary Romance
As always, Mia Sheridan wowed me with another emotional powerhouse of a read in Most Of All You. Most who know me know I don’t love the ugly cry books, but this was emotional with a hopeful feel all the way through and I loved every slow-burn second of it.
Crystal has had a horrible childhood and supports herself my stripping. Her heart has been hardened over the years and her self-esteem shattered. She doesn’t have hopes and dreams, she just barely gets by, day to day. One evening, she notices a man in the audience that doesn’t belong in a place like that. He’s somewhat familiar to her.
Lost boy. The words moved through my mind as if someone had scribbled them there. His name was Gabriel Dalton, and he’d gone missing when he was a kid. It was a big-time national news story when he escaped his kidnapper and came home.
Gabriel is a strong man who has made a great life for himself despite having been held captive for years. He just has one more hurdle. He can’t stand to be touched. He came to Crystal’s place of work in the hopes of finding someone to help him, and he saw something special in Crystal.
“The thing is, because of my history, which it sounds like you know a little bit about, I, uh, find it difficult to tolerate…closeness.”…
“You can help me practice being touched by a woman. Getting comfortable with someone in my personal space.”
Crystal (aka Ellie) has taught herself how to escape in her mind. But that’s not what Gabriel wants to learn.
“I want to stay present. That’s what I need you to help me with. Staying.”
After almost an entire life with no love and nobody to depend on, a lifetime of hurt, Crystal couldn’t open herself up to this guy who makes her feel exposed and vulnerable. Gabriel’s outlook on life is hopeful and positive, despite his horrific past.
Sometimes we wore such hurtful, limiting labels in this life, whether they’d been assigned by others or by ourselves. I’d felt damaged and ruined once, but I didn’t anymore. I was still a work in progress, but I wasn’t a victim. I was a survivor.
And Crystal was more than just a stripper. More than just a girl who took off her clothes for men. I knew she was. I’d seen it in her eyes.
When circumstances force them together, feelings develop. It’s not easy for either of them. Ellie can never trust herself to love and not be devastated by that love.
“He needed someone warm and caring. Someone who would nurture him and piece back together the broken parts. Someone who would look in his eyes and be his calming spirit. I was not that girl…”
Gabriel was so surprisingly dominant and alpha, but in a soothing, calm way, if that makes any sense. Like he can just take it all away and take care of you, but he never, ever tried to control her. He knew what that was like. He just wanted to help her.
“our hearts—aligned in such a way that we were meant to heal each other.”
Most of All You was a slow-burn romance, and I’m so glad it took it’s time. There was no insta-love, though there was a spark right from the start. They really got to know each other and they each made each other better for it.
“I don’t mind chasing you, Ellie. Just let me catch you once in a while.”
There is so much more to this story. What Gabriel did for a living, his attitude towards life, his positive outlook all made him one of the most special characters I have read about. And Ellie had such a thick, deep coat of armor, I truly enjoyed watching her change and grow and find her true self through the storyline.
- A slow-burn romance that never seemed rushed.
- A broken man with one of the most positive attitudes.
- I loved what Gabriel did for a living, it was a metaphor for the story.
- It showed how learning to love yourself is a hard journey but a must before you can open your heart to another’s love.
- Mia Sheridan just has this soft, magical way of writing. The emotions don’t really punch you in the face, just gently push you in the right direction until you end with tears gushing everywhere.
- Sigh…did I say I loved Gabriel? He is soft and vulnerable yet alpha and take-charge.
- At times, it may have been a little on the slow side, but in some ways, that added to the beauty.
The Down and Dirty:
Rating: 4.75 Stars (why not a 5? I reviewed this about a week after reading and found the story didn’t stick with me as much as I thought it would), 3 Heat