Before You Break
Christina Lee

New Adult
Heat Level: Hot

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control...

A college baseball star isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there's something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them--something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can't ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn's physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him--or to stop herself from falling too far...


Lee rips open grief and suffering is such a heartfelt and poignant way. Kleenex is required.

I really enjoyed this NA tale. This is my first Christina Lee book, and I dare say it won’t be my last. For me the refreshing part is the story behind the characters and the fact that both Quinn and Ella know each, but don’t really know each other.

Now, I won’t give away the spoilers, it’s really hard to discuss this book without giving some, but the secrets were pretty easy to guess and Lee doesn’t hide a lot from the reader. Quinn and Ella both have experienced heartache in their lives. From the outside looking in both characters seem pretty normal, they even describe themselves as living the normal college life: parties, internships, sports, etc.  Yet normal isn’t really how they feel, it’s a ruse. A façade.

Their relationship breaks apart the façade. From the moment they being to interact beyond casual conversation and playing a few video games the sparks fly and the air sizzles. These are two compatible souls following a path they think is the way to go, except finding love changes everything.

Quinn is sexy and tortured. If you’re a tortured hero kind of person then this hero is the one for you. I like tortured heroes for sure, though Quinn gave me a few hesitant moments. Those hesitant moments I dub ‘wounded bear tactics’. The tortured guys are always eager to lash out at those who attempt to help them. In the end their heroic acts are more the self-prostration kind.

Ella is a likable heroine: young, trying to keep her spirits up and in a relationship at the opening of the book. That’s the one thing the back cover didn’t cover. Ella has a boyfriend, who is a douche to a certain extent. He’s the college jock and Ella, the smart girl she is, knows that everything isn’t on the up and up. She doesn’t really care and for the part of the story where she does care, she quickly realizes love isn’t what she and the soon-to-be-ex have.

As far as book mechanics go: pacing is spot on, no drags or lags in this story. There’s plenty of tension, angst, and emotional turmoil to keep the heart pounding. I’m also looking forward to see if Lee has any more books planned around some of the secondary characters mentioned in this story.

Overall, this is a good NA read and perfect for those who love the tortured hero trope or a college backdrop.

Reviewed by Landra