Where do I even start with this? Hidden Waters was my first book by Catherine Cowles (I judged the book by its cover, please don’t sue me) but it will not be my last.
I could not get enough of these two. The hurt they have both faced, the horrible events that have drawn their families together and torn them apart, and the difficulty of moving forward are heart-wrenchingly beautiful in this story.
Addie is someone you just want to reach out and hug, but also cheer for every day. She’s so strong and so vulnerable and so determined to make her life something she wants it to be. Her first interaction with Beckett had me wondering how they would end up together but this book did not disappoint.
Beckett’s kind and caring attitude toward everyone, his understanding and acceptance of Addie, and his determination to make life better for those around him were instantly endearing. Watching him work through his own demons and find love with Addie was the best way to end my day.
I really don’t have anything else to say besides wondering how I didn’t find these books sooner. I loved this one.
A note on Content: I would definitely check the content warnings on this one, as it deals with topics such as abuse, gun/knife violence, near death experiences, death/murder, and stalking.
Your Romance Reviewer,
Release Date: June 21, 2022
Read to the end for an excerpt from Hidden Waters.
My family tried to break me. But, somehow, I made it out alive, even though the wounds from that survival are forever carved into my bones. Now, my only wish is for…normal. To know what it’s like to have friends, a job, a home.
The last thing I want is for my new roommate to see the scars I’m so desperate to keep hidden, especially not the ruggedly handsome man who steals my breath and sends my heart into overdrive.
But something tells me that Beckett has demons, too. I see it in the shadows haunting his gorgeous eyes and the way he looks at me with gentle understanding.
As our unlikely friendship becomes so much more, forces from my life slink out of the shadows. And we could both lose everything we’ve fought so hard for—down to our very last breaths…
And now, for an excerpt from Hidden Waters!
“You deserved so much better.”
“I’m getting it. I’m making that beautiful life now. And I’ll appreciate it so much more because of what I’ve been through.”
It wasn’t enough for me. It never would be. But I admired how Addie could view her past. I struggled not to hold her too tightly. The urge to burn the world down around me was too strong. I wasn’t good the way Addie was. I still wanted to start with Allen.
“Beckett,” she whispered against my ear. “I’m okay. It doesn’t hurt. The skin is ugly but—”
I reared back. “Nothing about you is ugly.”
Her cheeks flamed. “It is. It’s just facts. I don’t care. There are so many more important things.”
“Show me.” I was already climbing to my feet.
Addie stood shakily. “I don’t want you to see it.”
My gaze locked with hers. I poured everything I was feeling into that one look. “Please.”
She didn’t say anything for a moment, searching my face for something. Then she nodded and turned around. Slowly, so painfully slowly, she unbuttoned her blouse. When she was done, she simply stood there, not lowering the shirt. Her ribs expanded and contracted in ragged breaths. Then she let the fabric fall to the floor.
Angry slashes crisscrossed her back. They were varying tones, shapes, and depths. In that moment, I knew Allen had done this to her over and over. My hands fisted so tightly I was in danger of breaking a knuckle.
I moved closer and then sank to my knees again. “It’s just me.” My hands went to Addie’s hips. She gave a slight jolt. I stilled. “You okay?” She nodded, the movement jerky, her breaths ragged. I slowly swept my thumb across a patch of raised skin. Then I bent forward, my lips going to the worst of the scars. I ghosted them over the flesh that had been torn apart but had come back together stronger than it had been before.
“Beauty in the strength that carried you through. Beauty in how you refused to be broken. Beauty that you never let yourself become cruel like him. Addie, there isn’t a thing about you that isn’t beautiful.”