After Us

After Us

by Amber Hart

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"Beautiful, lyrical writing and a dangerously suspenseful plot. . .an unforgettable novel that readers will love." --Lucy Connors, author of The Lonesome Young

Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Inside her grows a tumor, fed by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own: a bullet wound, and the memory of a cousin shot in the heart. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin's murder. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

These two broken souls could make each other whole again--or be shattered forever.

Our time will come. And we'll be ready.

Praise for Before You

"Beautiful. . .will settle deep in your heart." -- New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan

"Will hook and hold you. . ." --National bestselling author K.A. Tucker

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617731198
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Series: The Before and After Series , #2
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
File size: 646 KB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. You can visit her on Facebook at

Read an Excerpt

After Us

By Amber Hart


Copyright © 2015 Amber Hart
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61773-119-8



The beach is a moving canvas of people.

Cabanas and waves and bathing suits and sand castles all blend together to create a serene picture of life on the coast. The sky is on fire with blues and yellows and oranges. Tiny puffs of clouds like wisps of cream. Sunscreen lotion saturates the air, smelling like SPF and sweat. I squint through the blaring sun and walk toward a crowd of girls lying on their bellies with the strings to their tops undone. Bare backs naked of tan lines.

"Frozen margarita, extra salt," I say, giving the drink to a girl with blond hair a shade darker than mine.

I balance the tray on one palm. Hand off drinks with another. Like a machine dispensing snacks.

"Piña colada." Next girl. "Sex on the beach." Next. "Vodka and tonic." Last. "Rum and Coke."

I smile. Compliment one of the girls on her leg tattoo. Girls love compliments. Eat them up like sugar. Delicious sugar that serves to fatten my wallet.

I don't know these girls. I don't know most of the people splayed out on the beach like a deck of cards. Ordering alcohol like water, trying any reprieve to cool themselves down from rays that bake them to burnt crisps.

It's too hot to be alive today. The air is breathing fire all over me. The sun is pressing so hard into my skin that it's turning red. If I close my eyes, I can imagine my skin melting off like wax. I'm dripping sweat. Body glistening as though I've jumped in the water. I haven't.

"Thanks," the girl with the leg tattoo says.

One of the girls ties her top and flips over, insistent on showing me her hip tattoos. Two pink bows wrapping up the package of a perfect body.

I remember what it was like to have a perfect body.

"Love it," I say. And I do.

I can never get a tattoo there.

I don't wear bikinis anymore. My swimwear is a collection of one-pieces. Covering certain fragments of me that I'm not willing to show. Holding me together. Though admittedly still racy, especially the one I've got on today, which hugs me like a glove, fitting my every muscle and curve. It's white with wavy ruffles like sea foam over the material around my breasts, plumping them up. A simple tie in the back to support the front. A runway of fabric lining my stomach. Nothing but tiny pieces coming together, exposing skin.

My tray is still stacked full of drinks for another group of people. They look like towers. Like a whole miniature city of skyscrapers and small circular buildings crammed together. Drowning in liquid.

I wait for cash.

A quick glance tells me that the five girls have tipped me something close to fifteen bucks. Not bad.

"Enjoy the heat," I tell them by way of good-bye.

On to the next customer.

All around me, sun tints skin a soft brown, sometimes red. Corners of beach towels flutter in the slight breeze like stingray wings. It hurts to look at the ocean, glittery and reflecting light, a million liquid jewels on display.

I've already checked IDs for the five guys waiting for drinks. They're tall and muscular—with the sort of deliciously ripped bodies that belong in a place like this—each ordering Corona bottlenecks. I hand out beers and accept their cash. Flirt a little. Makes for better tips.

"What are you guys doing out here today?" I ask. Grin.

"Nada, mami," one says in a Latino accent, taking a seat on a lounge chair. The others follow suit. "Just enjoying this weather. Wanna enjoy it with me?"

He pats his lap. Like I'd actually sit on it.

"Can't," I say. Wink at him. "Have to work."

The guy leans forward. Checks me out. I check him out right back. Shaved head, nice lips.

The others check me out, too. Except for the one that walks up behind me, joining the group. He sits with his body angled toward the water, dark sunglasses on, hair falling in his face.

"I'll have one, too," he says, still not looking my way.

What is so interesting that you can't look a person in the eye?

I check the water. Nothing out of the ordinary.

"ID, please," I say. Nothing personal—can't serve underage. Even though I'm eighteen and understand. It isn't worth losing a prime job at the busiest hotel on the beach. A job that pays really well, with customers that tip even better.

He hands it to me, still not looking up. I glance at it. I don't need to see his full face to know that it's not him. Looks more like the guy sitting next to him than the guy handing it to me.

"Gonna have to do better than that," I say.

I need the money that this job provides. With three sisters away at college and Mom working double nursing shifts to support them, I need whatever I can get. Everything we have is already stretched thin. A bubble about to pop.

His rough sigh says he's not happy with my response. He turns to me. I can see his full face now.

Tick, tick, tock.


Time breaks into a million shards. Tiny slivers of moments. Trapping me. My breath catches. Nerves are a fishhook reeling in any response I could've had.

He sees me then. Moves his sunglasses to the top of his head to get a better look. He's watching, watching, watching ... me. Eyes narrow. Unbelieving.

I can't find enough seconds to understand what's happening here. I heard he moved away. I'm searching desperately for a breath of fresh air, but I can't find one.

Wavy brown hair that's almost black. Thick lips that I've kissed once before.

I'm staring at tattoos that wrap around his shoulders, hugging him. A hundred different images, all black and white. Photographic. I'm looking at a sun over his left collarbone, the only bit of light shining into the chest piece. Clouds ripple under his neck like waves. His shirt is off and I'm staring too hard, I realize, because his friends start laughing.

It's a memorial. The piece is to remember someone he lost.


There's a timbre in his voice that makes my insides gooey. I'm melting ice cream on this hideously hot day. He says my name like it's painful for him, looking at me with those incredulous eyes. Willing me to say something, anything, but I can't. I can't.

I run away instead. My feet propel me forward, fast, churning sand beneath my heels. I don't care when a shell cuts the underside of my foot. Or when tiny grains of sea bottom become a natural Band-Aid.

I need to breathe.

I hate that he is here right now.

I love that I've been given another chance to see his face.

"Wait," he calls from behind me.

I won't stop.

Fast, fast, faster.

He won't stop.

Just go, just go, just go.

I'm not quick enough.

"Wait," he says again, grabbing my arm lightly.

Five fingers that burn memories into my skin.

I turn to the sound of his voice.

"Javier," I say, choking on his name. Choking on the memories.

Me and Faith, my best friend. At this same beach. Months ago.

Javier and his cousin Diego, in the water. Faith needed to get Diego's attention. Faith needed Diego in so many ways. I needed to know what Javier's mouth tasted like. I told myself that it'd be fun.

Love was Faith's style. Fun was mine.

I try to shut out the memory, doors closing on my past. Can't.

Javier's lips were every bit as amazing as I'd thought. Plump and gentle and rough and perfect.

We never did more than that. Never talked about the fun day at the beach. Never pursued what we left behind.

I never told him that I've wanted him ever since.

"What are you doing here?" Words are talons clawing their way through my throat.

"I'm with mi familia," he replies, greedily drinking in my features. "My brothers and a couple amigos."

I wonder if he notices that my hair's grown longer, silken fingers tickling my waist. How my eyes have grown heavy with the burden of worry. Javier's face is too much. His face reminds me that I don't have Faith anymore because loving Diego broke her. Faith's in another country now, building schools for underprivileged children, because she doesn't want to live near all the memories. And I'm a memory. Javier's face reminds me that Diego is gone. Both realities are excruciating.

"I thought you left," I say.

"Melissa, cabana five needs their drinks," a coworker says, passing Javier and me in the sand.

I barely hear his voice. I'm too lost in Javier. My coworker, Brock, stops. Sees Javier. Backs up.

"Everything okay?" Throws a defensive arm around me.

Brock is protective like that. He looks out for the girls that work here. It's necessary with all the alcohol we serve. Every now and again, a guy thinks he has the right to a piece of our skin.

"I'm good," I tell him, shrugging his arm off.

Javier looks at Brock, an empty stare.

"Holler if you need me," Brock says.

At more than six feet, Brock is built strong and tall enough to intimidate. He's half Latino, all dark eyes and hair. But Javier has the advantage by a short inch.

"Will do," I say, and Brock leaves.

"I made a trip up the coast for a couple weeks, if that's what you mean." Javier picks up where we left off.

I want to ask more. What's up the coast? When did you get tattoos?

Why do you look so much like Diego now?

Not so much in his features, though they were cousins, so there's a family resemblance, but more in the air about him. His hair is longer, brushing the back of his neck, mixing with his eyelashes in the front. Ink marks him. He's still Javier, but roughened. I guess that's what grief does to a person. When the pain is too much to bear.

"Okay," is all I say.

"You work here," he says.

His eyes steal a glance at the water. I wonder if he's remembering our time together. I am. His lips on mine. My body so close to his. Two people, a tangle of limbs. The water licking our nearly bare skin. A prickling up my back as his fingers braved the peaks of my spine. A place and time when Diego and Faith were here.

He tears his eyes away.

"I should go," I say.

I don't want to go. I don't want to stay.

"Yeah," he says. "Me, too."

I want to ask if he's okay. A glance tells me he's not. His eyes give him away. Their look betrays his pain. Diego was Javier's cousin, but they were best friends, too. I know the void of losing someone you love. I miss my best friend so bad that it hurts, that it actually nips at my heart to remind me daily. But at least I know she's still there. That maybe one day I can visit her.

Diego isn't anywhere.

Javier slips his sunglasses back on, a cover to shield his soul. I'm telling my feet to move because I need to get out of this spot. But all I can think about is how I can't see Javier's eyes anymore. I need to see them. Even with shades on, I feel his stare.

"Melissa," he says, like he needs to tell me something. Like maybe I don't need to leave just yet.


One look.


"Take care."

And he's gone.



I'm walking away from Melissa, but every step I take is painful.

Slicing me up, these memories.

I hadn't planned on seeing her.

I hadn't planned on remembering the day we spent together. That was a time when things were good.

"Javier, man!"

My brother Eduardo is on my trail.


He wants me to wait for him, but I need to be alone. Alone, alone, alone. My thoughts are alone in their misery. I don't dare share them. I lock them in separate files within my mind and never for one minute let anyone see the full scope of what I have planned. Of the anger I wish I could unleash on the ones who took my cousin from me.

To them, Diego was a pawn, at their disposal.

He wasn't a heartbeat that they had the right to end.

Diego became another name in their book of murders; another forgotten cause; a face that they blink at and instantly the memory is gone. Job done. On to the next one.

They stole a member of mi familia, my blood. My best friend. There are so many, many memories.

Us playing soccer as kids. ¡Golllllll! Diego would yell every time one of us scored. Competitive by nature. Brothers by heart.

Us eating mi mamá's home-cooked food, mostly grown in her kitchen garden, slim as the portions may have been. She could make something out of nothing, that woman.

Us as children barely tall enough to reach the counter, grabbing a piece of candy from the local store whenever they gave it away for free on holidays. Because we couldn't afford much. No, that's a lie. We couldn't afford anything. But we were together, always together.

I walk to the parking lot, carrying my sandals in my hand. I welcome the burn of scorching hot pavement on the pads of my feet. Welcome the pain because it's all that I know now.

My brother follows. I hop in my truck. Close my eyes.

"Give me a sec," I say through the open window. Though I know there's no way that'll happen.

"What's with that girl?" Eduardo hops in the truck with me.

"Chica I used to know."

A chica I didn't bother to date since mi mamá has never been okay with her boys dating girls who aren't Latina. Family bonds and all. She's old school. Thinking that I need someone who knows the culture and food and ways of our people.

I close my eyes and recall the night that reminded us all.

"¿Quién es ella?" mi mamá asks in Spanish, wondering about the girl Pedro's brought home for dinner.

I watch the girl, brown hair and the lightest shade of gray eyes. She's pretty, I find myself thinking. But white. Mi mamá's rules are clear when it comes to white girls.

"My girlfriend, Teresa," Pedro answers.

"¿Tu novia?" she asks. "No. Imposible."

"It's not impossible, Mamá," Pedro replies.

Mi mamá's eyes narrow. I know this look. We all do. Her temper is hotter than the spices she's setting on the table.

"You," she says, looking at Teresa, "get out of my house."

She's not yelling. Her voice is frighteningly calm. A harsh breeze laced with the coldest chill of winter.

"You have no place here," she tells Teresa. "And you"—she points to Pedro—"know better."

Teresa looks scared. Pedro stands his ground.

"Now," mi mamá says.

I can't stand to see the look on Pedro's face so I leave the room. But not before hearing arguments from Pedro, and sobs from Teresa.

Eduardo kicks my leg and I open my eyes. He watches me.

"This has to do with Diego, doesn't it?"

And Melissa. "No."

Melissa encouraged Faith and Diego's relationship. Which meant I saw her often. We were the best friends who tagged along with the couple enamorados.

Melissa makes me remember him. I don't do well with surprise reminders.

But Melissa also makes me think of the water. Of that day. Of a time when I wasn't walking in a minefield, watching my every step. Diego's murder has taught me that one wrong move, one slight shift ...

one step,

two steps,

BANG ...

and an entire world can be blown to bits. Earthquakes can rumble the ground and split open the earth and swallow all that was once good.

It can make you see things in a different light. It can open your eyes to a new tomorrow. One filled with darkness and sorrow and so much anger.


My brother's voice disrupts my thoughts.

I am a liar.

Everything has been about Diego's death. Almost eight agonizing months ago.

"You have to let him go."

I clench my fists. "Cállate la boca." It's the nicest warning I'll give. And I'm only giving it because he's my brother.

"He was my cousin, too, you know."

"It's not the same."

And he knows it. Diego and I did everything together. We were the same age, eighteen, unlike my brother, who's older by almost three years. It's not like I lost a wingman. It's not like he moved away. He's gone. Permanently.

The night my cousin died was a normal night at La Plazita, a few blocks of street dedicated to Latino cuisine, culture, markets, dancing, and more. I know that because I'm the one who dropped Diego off there to meet Faith. A final destination, it turns out.

Diego wanted to surprise Faith that night. I think he planned on showing her a glimpse of our Cubano heritage. Faith was good for Diego in a way that nothing had been for a long time. I liked the change I'd been seeing in him.


Excerpted from After Us by Amber Hart. Copyright © 2015 Amber Hart. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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After Us 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
skizzles22 More than 1 year ago
I've wanted to read this one after finishing the first book in the series. They all star different characters, but they intertwine. And this one happened both before and after the ending of the first book. But that also made this one kind of hard to stand on its own, because it almost seemed more focused on what happened in Before You and how those events affected everyone than about these characters in this story. Speaking of characters, I really liked them both. Melissa, who is headstrong, friendly, a girl who just loves to have fun and live her life. But she's hiding secrets from everyone; she's hiding the bad parts of herself behind her smiles. I feel for her, in what she was going through and the fact that she didn't have her best friend to help. She also didn't want to focus on that and instead wanted to just enjoy her life without the constant worry and concern from her family. She had such wonderful character development, even when I felt that she was spending way too much time worried about how the truth would affect everyone around her. But she needn't have worried about Javier and how he felt about her. I really liked him, though it was harder to connect with him because much of his thoughts and feelings revolved around his cousin, Diego, and what happened to him. He was also so hell-bent on rage that he almost didn't realize that life is about worth more than exacting revenge. But he still had great growth as a character. Their romance was sweet, and they had such great chemistry (which was apparent in the first book too). But I wanted a bit more from it, because I thought the I love yous were a little fast and I didn't totally believe in forever for them. But they were a good match, and I loved that they helped each other through everything, even when they were both keeping secrets. Those secrets just made their relationship stronger, because it brought them even closer once they shared them. I also adored the secondary characters. Some of my favorite parts of the book were when Javier and his family were all together. I especially loved Javier's relationship with his brothers and friends; they were hilarious together. I also loved it when Melissa was hanging out with her sisters and mom. They both had such tightknit families and strong bonds. It was those bonds that also helped the two of them move on from what had happened. The plot was the weak point for me, as I said above that I felt the focus was more on the events of Before You than it was on these two characters and their developing relationship. And I think my mood was affecting the reading, because I found myself bored quite a few times throughout the story. Though, I think that was more me than in what was happening. But I did love that ending; it showcased their romance beautifully. I'm not exactly sure what the third book is going to be about or even who the main characters are, but I want to read it. I loved the first book in this series and so enjoyed After Us and I want to continue it! :)
JoannaDursi More than 1 year ago
**ARC provided by Kensington Books via NetGalley** I went into AU already having a soft spot for Diego and Faith and tried to  keep an open mind because sometimes I just don't warm up to secondary characters. But right off the bat I knew there was enough room for Javier and Melissa too.  Javier is dealing with the death of his cousin & his thirst for revenge. Melissa is trying to cope with emotional and physical scars left by a terrible disease and the distance now between her and her best friend. This series is definitely story driven and deals with issues that a lot of kids today can relate to IE: changing relationships between friends, abandonment, relocation and interracial relationships. I enjoy this series and can't wait for book three.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Before You as that book pulled at my emotions and I was gripped by the characters and their actions. I was so excited to get my hands on this book as I was ready for another intensive afternoon with Amber Hart. You don’t need to read the first book in the series to enjoy this second novel but to understand the relationships; I suggest that you start with the first book. In this novel, Melissa is trying to move forward as Faith has left the country to pursue other dreams. It’s been hard since the incident with Diego but Melissa know that Faith must distance herself to heal and their phone conversations although short, are a constant reminder they are still connected. While at work, Melissa runs into Javier and her mind races. Memories of the times that they shared and what their future could bring add confusion yet comforting thoughts in Melissa’s mind. Melissa’s recent health condition plays a major role in her happiness now; it’s always a forerunner in the complete Melissa package. Javier cannot forget the past when his eyes see Melissa either. His attraction to her, yet his commitment to his Mi Mama add difficulty when he looks to his future. Javier also wants to seek revenge for his cousin, Diego but this act alone is detrimental to everything around him. Melissa wants to speak to Faith about these recent developments with Javier but until Faith can pick up her phone, the two friends are living two separate lives. While I enjoyed the novel, it did not have the intensity that the first novel did. There were parts that were exciting and dramatic but I didn’t feel the passion like I did with the first book. Javier commitment to his Mi Mama was to be commended as he thinks so highly of his mother as the whole family tiptoes around this scared woman. Adding Melissa to the mix, her presence in the family, the way the author presented her was wonderfully done. Javier is so set on revenge that he almost misses the big picture. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in this series.
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
After Us takes place on the heels of the epilogue of Before You, picking up the stories of Faith's and Diego's best friends, Melissa and Javier. Melissa is dealing with more than the physical loss of her best friend in the way of a health issue that has altered her life forever. When Faith won't even answer her phone, Melissa feels untethered and adrift as she copes with her new life. I admit that I miss fun-loving Melissa, even though I understand how the events in her life shaped her. I just wish she'd have retained more of her spunk. Even so, After Us is a compelling tale and in some ways better than its predecessor. Much of the best parts of the story center around Javier. Not only has he lost his best friend, but also his cousin. And family is everything to this strong Cuban. He wants revenge from the gang that killed Diego. Torn between his attraction to Melissa, a mother who will not accept a gringa in her son's life, and the desire to avenge his cousin's death, Javier has his hands full. Plot The main plot is the romance between Javier and Melissa, with subplots of a forbidden love, Melissa's illness that she keeps secret, and Javier's drive to join the MS-13 gang to take them down from the inside, all keeping them apart. The various subplots have their own arcs that all collide in a nail-biting conclusion that's pretty intense. World Building Once again, Amber Hart does a fabulous job of creating a lively south Florida Cuban culture. We get to see how cultural differences can drive conflict, or can overcome it. Characters Melissa is sweet, but far more damaged than she was in the first book and as I mentioned, I miss that side of her. She's strong, and I would have liked to see that strength beat back some of the darkness surrounding her. To see more pieces of the vibrant Melissa I fell in love with in Before You. Javier is richly layered, complex, and conflicted. The rest of the cast are shown to us at a high level, but enough that they fulfill their roles without being two-dimensional. Top Five Things I Enjoyed About  After Us 1. Javier's big, crazy, Hispanic family. They love deeply and are loyal to a fault. 2. Melissa's smaller, yet close-knit family that surround each other with love and acceptance. 3. Melissa job. I want a job where I make good tips working on a beach every day, even if the San Diego beaches aren't nearly as warm as the South Florida ones. 4. Javier's misguided determination to do what he believes he needs to. I admire his grit. 5. Javier and Melissa's love for one another is sweet and solid. I never doubted these two would end up together for all the right reasons. Bottom Line After Us is a sweet love story wrapped up in darker themes of gangs, revenge, and racism.
UndercoverBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Okay, where to even start with this review!! ... Emotionally triggering. Keeps yous guessing as you keep turning the pages, not an easy book to put down. Don't do like I did, and try reading this book in a dr's office, hear your name called and tell the nurse one more page. I'm telling you, once you start this book you will not want to do another thing till you finish it! *Received for an honest review*
gaele More than 1 year ago
The second in the series, After Us is the story of two secondary characters from Before You, and these two characters are reeling in the aftermath of what is left behind after that story ends.  Javier is a Cuban immigrant – his disconnection to much of the “American Dream” and his disillusionment with all that he has discovered is well-described and defined, and leaves readers with plenty of imagery and opportunities to see the world in a different way.  Like many immigrants, the comfort in his communicating in a hybrid Spanish/English mix is prevalent, and sadly wholly distracting from the very clever development of his character.  Melissa is still reeling from the loss of her best friend Faith, and all that surrounded her. Nothing is quite the same, and then along comes Javier. Cousin and best friend of Faith’s dead boyfriend, Diego.  These two had a connection that was severed with death and violence, and Melissa just isn’t sure she can deal with him again.   A fairly predictable love story between two broken people that had connected before they were unalterably changed, and relying on one another to heal, avenge, share and stagnate – for they both experience bits of every element as they deal with the other overwhelming issues from family, racism and gangs.  At times, it was difficult to determine if the author wanted to deal with any of the big issues, or just let them continue to populate and distract from the very real need for both characters to deal with their grief and learn to start healing.   Perhaps I’m not the actual “market’ for this title, but it was unfocused and I felt as if some situations were forced and rushed to move the plot along to the next ‘big’ thing. I couldn’t really connect to Javier, as much as his character showed great potential, the overuse of dialectic speech with the ‘spanglish’ was distracting, and felt repetitive ( my aunt, mi tia, she told me)  Pick one, lose the other. Strong writing will give readers the meaning. Melissa’s voice was a little stronger, but lacking in real emotional depth: she was removed from her emotions (understandably so) and her voice reflected her disconnect. A touch predictable, with a repeated reliance on some stereotypical imagery and nods to, without great resolution, to issues like racism and gang violence. We all know it is bad, but what are the characters willing to do to make the changes?   I did not read the first book, and didn’t find a great lack of information. Readers who want a fuller picture to get a sense of these characters and their issues before this story occurs would be well served by reading in order.  I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
chucha_13 More than 1 year ago
It's all about secrets. It's all about revenge. It's all about differences. It's all about friendship. It's all about life. It's all about love. My heart goes out for the girl who has experienced so many bad things in life in such a short time. She had lost her best friend - Faith (as we remembered), had to go away to grieve her broken heart, and there was her secret which made me ache. Aw. She was young, and she had to suffer this. Although it makes me wonder what Javier thinks of the effects of her secret. Because it will affect him too, as much as it affected her. As for Javier, this smooth-speaking hot guy might not have my vote at first. I knew family is important to him, but to do that to Melissa almost twice?! OMG. You need to grovel hard if you wanted to convey your apology. On the other hand, he made up for it big time, and I loved him triple for it. I didn't think he was capable of it. As for his secret - there is danger lurking in there, and although I didn't think it was necessary or important, Javier thought otherwise. He needed to do it, needed to get his revenge. I was just seriously hoping he knew what he was doing... Amber Hart once again proved to us that love can surpass diversity, secrets, dangers, and even betrayals.  Oh, don't worry, you'll know what they're keeping - I was glad I knew, but it was killing me that the other doesn't know about it. They were perfect for each other, despite the circumstances, and the cultural differences. The chemistry was there, it was sizzling, the page was steaming, and yet, before it gets any hotter, Melissa will diffuse it - because of her secret. I fell in love with the first book, and fell harder with her second book. I have been looking forward for Melissa's story ever since I have finished reading Faith's, and it was worth waiting - every freaking page of it. It will give you all the highs, the lows, the swoons, the heartaches that you need. I love how the story progressed, the development of the characters, and even how each secret was spilled. This is something so worth reading.