Written on my Heart
by Cole Gibsen
Release Date: 07/28/15
It's been six months since Ashlyn Daniels was kicked out of her home. Six months since she stood up to her abusive stepfather and got a busted rib—and seeing all her things set ablaze in a backyard bonfire—for her trouble.
Never going back. She doesn't need trouble...especially if trouble is tattoo artist Lane Garrett, who's six-feet-plus of tattooed hotness and a complete ass.
Lane has spent the last decade fighting to support his family. To protect them. There's no room for romance, even with a fragile (yet amusingly feisty) stunner...even if she somehow manages to invade his world and his heart.
But while some secrets are as visible as ink on the skin, others must remain hidden at all costs...
Ashlyn was the last person to think she could find love. Her sorted past checkered with years of verbal and emotional abuse had shattered her perception of emotions to the point where all she was familiar with was fear. Every decision she made and every action she committed stemmed from her deep seated terror. With no discernable way to identify how she felt, finding her footing all on her own was much more than a simple challenge. Even though she had physically escaped the snare of her step father, emotionally it was as if she had never left. So when Lane, a hunky tattoo artist, begins to make his way past all of her insecurities, it not only confuses her, but challenges everything she ever believed herself to be worth of.
Lane had never had an easy life. He always had to work incredibly hard for all that he earned and always owned up to his mistakes. He did not hide from his past, but neither did he broadcast it. Even though all his choices were made out of good intentions, his path had become increasingly lonely. Having vowed to protect his loved ones and the life he had established, he constantly found himself holding outsiders much farther away than arms-length. But when he meets Ash, his carefully placed walls begin to crumble at an alarming rate, and without his permission. Soon he is faced with a decision that he never thought he would have to make: his heart, or his walls.
Cole Gibson does a great job of telling a realistic love story while still giving romance readers those sweet, picture perfect moments we all hope will appear in our own lives. She has created a world that is very easy to insert yourself into, yet you soon find that you don’t want to leave. The plot is always moving forward. Nowhere are there any lagging scenes or unnecessary moments. Each word serves a purpose to the story as a while, which is very refreshing.
Gibson’s characters are well fashioned in their creation and incredibly relevant. Every action and word spoken from each one spoke directly of their composition which was found secure. Ashlyn’s insecurities make her relatable, but not pathetic. There were moments when I wished she would pull herself together more but upon further contemplation it would not have been sincere if she had. Her reactions were normal responses to abnormal circumstances. Lane is also a very well thought-out character. His protective nature was very endearing while his hesitancy was understandable. While I would have liked for him to have been more upfront with Ashlyn, I could see why he wasn’t. In the end, these two characters drove the story in an appealing way. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite character, Em. Although she was a supporting character, her demeanor and comedic relief were vital to the plot. The story would not have been the same without her and she quickly found her way into my heart.
The only thing I did not care for in the story and really did not understand was the dominance Lane exacted in his intimate moments with Ash. Knowing that she was abused, I feel like this was a short sighted and selfish manner in which he chose to interact with her. One does not trust another when treated in the same manner as the untrustworthy. It sometimes felt that she went along with these scenarios out of fear or accepted them because force was all she had ever known. This made the story significantly less enjoyable. Had these encounters been handled with gentleness and care, the story would have been much more cohesive.
Overall, I give Written On My Heart 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the pace of the story and the composition of its characters. However I could not get past some of the inconsistencies they possessed. Gibson has an excellent acumen for storytelling and the way she weaves her tale is very appealing. I would very much be interested in reading her future works and would recommend this read to others.