Title: Lead Me Not
Author: A. Meredith Walters
My Rating: B
Genre: New Adult
Series: Twisted Love #1
Main Characters: Maxx and Aubrey
Release Date: August 2014
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Aubrey Duncan understands loss. She knows what rock bottom looks like, and she is determined to crawl back up to the top after the sudden death of her younger sister. She blames herself for her part in the tragedy, convinced that she could have done something, anything, to help her.
In her effort to gain redemption, Aubrey starts fresh at Longwood University and facilitates an addiction support group, hoping she can support someone else in the way she failed her sister. But what she doesn’t count on is an all-consuming fascination with group member Maxx Demelo, a gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed enigma who hides dark secrets behind a carefully constructed mask. He only reveals what he wants others to see. But Aubrey glimpses another Maxx hidden below the surface—a Maxx who is drowning in his own personal hell.
As Aubrey and Maxx develop an attraction too intense to ignore, he pulls her into the dark underbelly of the city club scene, where she is torn by her desire to save him and an inexplicable urge to join him in his downward spiral. Worst of all, she is beginning to love everything she should run away from—a man who threatens to ignite in her a fire that could burn her alive…
What you need to know going into this book...
1. You will need to buy book #2, Follow Me Back, which releases June 2nd.
2. This particular installment does not end in a happy place, but see #1...there is hope.
3. This is not a romance...and I'll explain that in my review.
This book is about Aubrey and Maxx. On the surface, Maxx is the character with the issues. He's a drug addict who can't face up to the depth of his addiction. You would think that he's the one with all the problems, especially since Aubrey is training to be a counselor. She understands addiction. But honestly, Aubrey is just as messed, if not more so, than Maxx. But her addiction and obsession isn't drugs...it's him. Together they form a very UNHEALTHY relationship.
This is one of those books. It's like watching a train wreck. You know it's going to happen. You know the world is going to crash down around these two, just not when and how, but you can't look away from the page. Once I started reading it, this book became MY obsession. The author is a great writer. She takes you right into the internal turmoil that both these characters are going through. I loved both of them...a lot. Even when I HATED the bad choices they were making.
I did enjoy the setting of the book, too. It's set on a college campus. Maxx is a senior, Aubrey is a junior. Maxx is involved in an underground club that moves each week. He's X...the artist who vandalizes and leaves a painting to let everyone know where the club will be. I loved that aspect of the story and his art and how even in the depths of his drug use, that's still something he uses for escape and a way for him to communicate.
Aubrey is a bit more difficult just in that she's not using drugs, so she doesn't have that excuse for the bad choices she's making. Maxx is one of the patients in the therapy group where she volunteers. Getting involved with him is such a bad thing. But what I found more difficult to handle with her is that she knows Maxx is a liar and a manipulator and still lets him suck her into his very destructive world. I really had a hard time justifying her obsession with him in this book and it made me a lot less empathetic to her dilemma.
But the book is good...although it's gritty and no where close to uplifting. This is one of those books that you need to read when you're ready for some heavy-duty angst because it has it in spades. Also, you need to have #2 ready to dive into immediately after finishing this one, because you will definitely want to read the conclusion to Maxx and Aubrey's story (hint: I've read it and all this trauma is worth it in the end.)
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.