"If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. Soon, you’ll be able to stand."
S’renaty James lives a privileged life most her age only dream of living. She is beautiful and popular with her entire life ahead of her. Life could not get any better.
Until her entire life shifts, crashing around her...
Bound by devastation, persecuted by the ones she used to call ‘friends’, haunted by disturbing nightmares, and filled with self-blame, she vows to overcome.
Stefan is everything S’renaty swears to avoid. He is carefree and charismatic. He is primitive, complicated and a total badass. He makes her melt like fine chocolate under a hot summer’s sun the first time their eyes meet. There is something about him, and she makes it her mission to find out.
When he meets S’renaty James, he is not prepared for what comes over him because for the first time ever, a girl leaves him breathless. Now, his primary responsibility is to keep her safe.
He will do anything to protect her. Even lie...
Stefan is the one person she has trusted with her heart. After keeping an unforgivable secret, he could be the one to shatter it to pieces. In fact, he may even destroy her beyond repair. Will she overcome and forgive, letting go of the pain, guilt and shame? Or this time, will she be stronger than the hardest lesson of her life — and, become totally ShameLess?
Trying to recover emotionally from a tragedy that completely changed her life, S'renaty (Ren) decides to have a fresh start. She moves away from the friends she no longer had and the people that literally tormented her.
"Often times I would walk across university grounds only to be shoved from behind, out of nowhere."
Ren meets Stefan in the last place she ever expected to meet someone and she definitely did not think she would see him again, much less in the place she was now calling home. Now with Stefan in her life, Ren slowly begins to live again, to let go of her pain. More importantly, she lets herself love... something she didn't think she deserved.
"You are me wish come true. You are my girl, my Star."
"I love you more than words can say, to the moon and back."
Ren sure as hell didn't expect for her past to come face to face not only with her present, but her future... in more ways than one. Queue the plot twists. People from her past make appearances, secrets get revealed, and the many, many questions are slowly answered. Throughout the book we see Stefan and Ren overcome the many obstacles they face and grow as a couple. We see them both let go of theirs pasts...of their inner demons.... Because yes, Stefan too has his share of emotional scars.
"You're the light of my life, giving light to my darkness, and removing the shame I've carried around all of these years."
In this book we also meet Tucker, Ren's ex-boyfriend. He was someone that was supposed to have her back when she needed support the most.... Someone who was supposed to believe her.... but didn't. So he was that someone Ren chose to remove from her life in order to move forward, even though they were now living in the same city... again. But we'll see more of him. We're getting Tucker's full story in Mel Ballew's next book "FearLess."
Anyway, my favorite part of this book was the epilogue! It was super long and I absolutely love that in books. This allows me as a reader to fully get closure, so I was very excited and happy with that. Oh, and this book has the most amazing quotes ever!!! Every chapter has one in the beginning but we also get a few more throughout the story. I'm a huge quote
Overall however, there were moments where I found myself lacking connection with the writing style. But I must clarify that this is something personal that varies with each reader...so don't let it stop you from reading it. This all said, I believe "ShameLess" is a good and emotional book with a deep romance and a plot full of twists. I'm very much looking forward to Tucker's story.
"No more shame; only love."
On the heels of the truth surfacing in my head, my body reacts. Rapidly, I do a half-turn, lunging down and digging my right foot into the sand, and spin. I push off, hard with my foot, and take off darting back down the sand heading in the direction we just came from. I don’t wait for a response or a reaction from Stefan. I just run fast and hard. I allow my body to dictate its speed. I sprint, running parallel with the raging tides inspiring my motivation. It’s absolutely fucking freeing. Emotional tension blends with the sexual tension surging, pushing me, and giving me additional grit to push on.
“Who needs a rest now?” I cry out into the air now blowing at my back. Dazed, Stefan didn’t see that one coming, and I chuckle as I continue racing down the beach.
In no time, he catches up to me as we near the house. He grabs my hand, halting me, pulling me to his side. Both of us are covered in sweat, and sex oozes off him. I just want to scream. Instead, I lean forward, placing my hands on each of my knees, gasping through huffing breaths. Damn that felt great!
Before I know what is happening, he whisks my entire body up slinging me over his shoulder, and takes off running. We both plunge straight into the ocean. The frigid water bitch slaps me; no cold shower needed. Together, we come up for air. Freezing water runs down our faces.
“What the hell, Stefan?” I stutter out through chattering teeth as shivers possess me. Between the cool breeze off the ocean, and the frigid water, I can’t get warm.
He pulls me to him, wrapping me in his arms, “I told you, you would be in my arms, Star. And, cheaters always get due punishment. I don’t play.” His words, playful, and firm, offer heated softness. I allow myself to welcome the warmth. How is there any possible way to respond to that? I can’t.
In the next instant, Stefan takes both of his hands to each side of my face, saying, “You will always be in my arms,” then leans in closer introducing his lips to mine in a more passionate kiss than any I have had with him or by anyone else.
In this moment, it feels like the first one. I’m dying inside. This icy water holds no refuge to the fervor his body offers mine. He attempts to pull away, but I bring him to me this time, and take all of him, seizing his lips with my own. I bite his bottom lip, sucking it in, nibbling a little harder, and letting him know I want all of him, not just his lips. I want all of him!
Time has a way of transcending. It surpasses more than the grandest of any of our unanswered prayers. It offers us gifts every single day. Pap is right. Each day is truly a gift. Our past is a gift for our present to open. I’m in the present with the most amazing guy. Right now, nothing else matters except for opening my gift, and accepting my present. God knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it. I thank God for giving me the strength to be here, in this moment.
Tomorrow may still be a mystery, but today is unraveling, slowly. It’s like opening a gift, and one I have every intention of treating with care…unwrapping it gently to savor its blessing. Here is to the present; to us!
About the Author:
Mel Ballew resides in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter, along with their two adorable cats.
An avid reader, she has always had an equal passion for writing and has written her entire life, to date. Her mother initially birthed, inspired, and encouraged these loves. The two often discussed writing together but unfortunately, that dream never came to fruition.
Years later, this happened, that happened—life happened.
She stepped away from writing to place more focus on being wife and a full-time mom. Today, she would not have changed a thing. The day her daughter was born became the first day she realized a significant rhythm to her heart was also born. Her daughter, now preparing to go off to college, has grown into a beautiful and responsible young adult.
A twisted turn of events in September 2009 left Mel unable to work outside of the home. Forced to consider other options, and while embracing a therapeutic approach of transcribing all of the challenges facing her, post-accident, she returned to journaling. Once again, the writer within her has been re-birthed—awakened from slumber.
Mel is a hopeless romantic. Blessed, she has her very own soul mate, which she calls husband, best friend, and lover.
She is a simple country gal, with a profound love of true simplicity. She is just as hopeless in her love of nature and regards many of her writing aspirations to appreciating its beauty, although every single story is birthed from her dreams. Sometimes, in life, simply enjoying a chilled glass of sangria on a warm summer’s eve or indulging in her love of chocolate and peanut butter is an expression of enjoying such simplicity. For her, these moments are truly d’vine.