Tuesday, August 9, 2016

★★★ Review For Breaking Through (Breaking #3) by Calista Smith ★★★

Breaking Through (Breaking #3) 


 368 pages
Published August 7th 2016 
by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Free Through 

Or Buy at 

After so much rain, there is finally a ray of sun breaking 
through the clouds that have haunted Raquel’s life. His name
 is Neal and she couldn’t be more happy. She finally has 
everything she’s ever wanted. A nice man, a good job, 
a promising future.

Dante is a thing of the past and she’s determined to keep 
strong boundaries to ensure he stays there. But … now that 
they share a godchild, it’s impossible to rid of him entirely. 
Not when he’s always there. Still, she tries to push it all 
behind her. 

Little does she know that it may not be her past that she 
should be worried about.

Neal might hold secrets that can change everything. 
Suddenly, she isn’t so sure she’ll ever get that happily ever 
after she thought she’d finally found. 

Boundaries break, secrets unfold, and what’s left at the end
 of Rocky’s journey is truth. And while the truth can hurt, 
it can also set you free.

*mature language, mature scenes

Wow I have been waiting for this book for so long. And I was
 not disappointed this was as good as the first two books.
 Now I have to keep a tight rein on what I say as to not ruin 
this for you, but man I want to tell you so much first off this 
is not your typical love story. This is more like real life. And
I warn you there are some points where you are going to cry.
 You know how life does it throughs you so many curve balls.
 But there are some happy moments too. 

You get to see a whole different side of Niel that was so 
surprising; I just could not believe it. But my favorite person 
has to be Rocky and Dante’s god child Naideen. She is so 
cute and funny. You know the term out of the mouths of 
babes? Well some of the things she says is so much fun to 
read. She asks them a question that truly troughs them all. 
Then when things look like they are going fine the all lose 
someone very close to them that has wveryone thrown 
especially Nat. Rocky stepsup to take care of her and 
Naideen. As the recover from that and Rocky heads home 
early man she is in for a sock of her life, when something 
happens in two separate occurrences with Neil and then to 
Dante. Life just trough you sometimes.

Now before I ruin this for you I will leave off here.  I hope you
 enjoy this book as much as I did. If you do like this book, 
please consider leaving a review. The Authors really like it 
when you do; they value your opinions too.

When you're a kid, you picture your life turning out a certain way. I often wondered if anyone's life ever turned out the way they'd pictured. Some people say theirs turned out for the better, but for the most part, life didn't seem to turn out anything at all like you dreamt of when you were a child.
Take my life, for example. It had turned out far from what I had ever imagined for myself. My parents were divorced and Mom had moved on with her boyfriend, Michael. Even moved in together. My dream of living in some foreign land with the Peace Corpswas far out of reach, and I had only moved a little over two hours away from home. In fact, since graduating college, I'd never even left the state of California, with the exception of the one visit to Mexico when I first met Neal.
It wasn't as though my life had been easy, or fun, or even boring. I managed to get pregnant, get engaged, lose my pregnancy, lose my engagement, lose my best friend, lose my mind, reunite with my best friend, reunite with my ex, who it turned out was married, and tear my heart in half between my ex and Neal (who was also married when I met him). Along the way, I learned to make a mean cup of coffee, toned down my addiction to pizza, only to learn that Chinese food is also addicting, and take a chance on finding happiness with Neal.
A chance. I still had no idea what the hell I was doing half the time. I was still trying to figure that one out. The one valuable thing that I'd learned in all the crap I'd been through was that it was okay not to have it all, and still be happy for someone who did. That was where I was today. Reflecting on all the happiness my best friend had and the fact that she was about to add even more perfection into her life. I honestly couldn't wait to celebrate that. Except … along with her celebration of love and happiness and all things perfection, came my normal.
My life. It was this never ending roller coaster of highs and lows that were slapped together to remind me that I was strong, or so I'd been told. People who knew what I had been through over the past few years always reminded me that 'God never gives you more than you can handle', and so, the only conclusion I could conjure up was that I must be really really strong. It was either that or I was left to feel like my life was stuck on repeat, and somehow I continued to be the butt of the joke in this very cruel game.
I drew in a deep breath and reminded myself that the day wasn't about me. It was about Nat and Aiden. It was about that beautiful bundle of joy that I couldn't wait to meet. It was about celebrating.
I'm strong. I can do this. I'm strong! Over and over, I repeated this in my mind. There was no way I was going to let my nerves or fears stop me from being there today, and boy were they working overtime.
I slipped on my heels as I swore under my breath at the thought that this all felt like déjà vu. I didn't want to have to see him, but what choice did I have? He was going to be there, and I was just going to have to be strong, because that was me. Strong. The pillar of strength. So why did I feel like a crumbling pillar on the inside? I heard my heart beating loudly, and it felt like doom. Son of a!
"You ready?" Neal peeked in the door, startling me.
I jumped, unsure if I'd said that out loud. God forbid Neal heard me curse. He was hell bent on turning me into a lady. Lately, anytime he heard me, he'd tack on another mile to our weekly runs. He knew how much I dreaded running with him. He was so good at it. I liked jogging, but the full out exertion runs he went on really put a damper on me finding any joy in us running together.
I tried not to let him see me squirm as I bent down to grab my purse, lying beside my feet. "Yup." I forced myself to smile. I couldn't help how apprehensive I felt.
"You sure?" I was sure he could read right through my fake smile. "We could always drive down later and maybe spend a weekend instead, if you want."
I sucked in a breath, and did the best I could to convince him with a firm kiss to his lips. "No, no. I'm good. Nat would never forgive me. I want to go." The last thing I needed was Neal catching on. He'd be all too happy to skip this event.
He scooped up the bright pink bag with the fluffy stuffed animal sticking out and closed the door behind us. I could feel his eyes on me as we walked on. "I already put the others in the trunk." He guided me to the garage.
"Oh good. Thanks." I fumbled while getting into the car, took a deep breath, and put on some calming music.
He handed me my mug of coffee and a donut wrapped in a paper towel, which he had waiting in the car for me. “I got you a little sugar for your coffee.” He smiled.
“Thank you.”
I took a quick sip of the coffee before biting into the deliciously warm and soft donut. I loved that he referred to them that way. I loved that he would buy donuts on the days he knew were going to be hard for me to brighten my day.
The car ride to Rancho was pretty uneventful. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I didn't have time to stress about the ride down, which normally still made me feel extremely panicky. Besides the music playing, it was a quiet ride. We wouldn't discuss the fact that I was going to have to see Dante again. We'd already covered that countless times, leading up to this moment. There really was nothing more to say. I knew that Neal wasn't happy Dante would be there. He'd expressed that already. I also knew he didn't want anyone knowing how jealous he was. It was my job to keep him from having anything to be jealous of. I'd steer clear of Dante as much as possible. The few times we would have to be in contact, I'd make sure my feelings were pushed somewhere deep inside myself, tucked away and locked under loads and loads of concrete barriers. No one would see a sign of pain, or sadness. No one would ever know that underneath all my layers, a love I'd never forgotten, but lost before it ever had a real chance to be mine was being smothered and left to die.

Neal's fingers interlaced with mine, his grip firm and pushing strength into me. Fresh cut grass wafted through the air as we approached Nat and Aiden's new home. My heels clicked on the red stones leading to their doorway. There were large bushes lining the walkway on one side. They continued on, lining the porch and entryway, which gave the front door lots of privacy. It was really nice, but all the plants and grass smells were getting to me.
I felt a tickle rising in my nose and forced it away. I hated sneezing; it always gave me a headache. The tickle fought its way back and I came to an abrupt stop, letting go of Neal's hand to pinch my nose, determined to win the battle. Neal cocked his head to the side, his eyes narrowing.
"A sneeze." I scrunched my face, forcing it back again.
He laughed, more in relief than enjoyment, and it was at that moment I realized that my battle with sneezing looked like hesitation to him. "Okay. I'm good." I grabbed his hand and continued my walk to the front door. A white sign with a pink teddy bear directed us to the backyard entrance. We walked around to a wooden gate decorated with pink tulle, lined with pink balloons and pink plastic storks. Neal looked at me and stuck his tongue out while making gagging sounds and pointing to the back of his throat. "Stop it. She didn't have a say. This was all Aiden's mom's idea." I pulled back on his arm.
Poor Nat hated it. We laughed all about it for months when she found out her mother-in-law had planned pink everything for her shower. The thing was, when someone buys you a new house for your baby shower gift, they earn the right to throw the shower and decorate however the hell they want to. It was a win-win for both, really. His mom wanted them to move back to Rancho, and Nat wanted a house now that the baby was coming. She originally wanted something small, but she fell in love with this one when Aiden had her envision the extra rooms that they could use; one for a nursery, one for a guest room, one for an office, and one for her very own in-home hair salon. So, a pink, on pink, on pink baby shower wasn't that bad, considering.
Neal pulled the gate open, his hand sliding to the small of my back as we entered the party. Tons of people I'd never met sat around large circular tables, decorated in pink linen as more pink balloons floated around each of their chairs. I couldn't imagine how annoyed they must have been with those things bobbing around their heads. I hadn't been there one minute and already I wanted to pull one of the pins from my hair and walk around popping them all.
I made a quick scan of the crowd. My eyes drifted to a huge pink belly, before finding Nat's familiar face amongst a sea of, you guessed it … more pink. Oh my God! The woman had even put giant pink rubber ducks in Nat and Aiden's pool. I quickly covered my mouth with my hand as I tucked my lips tightly together. I knew if I allowed myself to laugh it would come out louder than acceptable at this point. Neal led me to where Nat and Aiden stood talking to a small group.
"You made it!" Natalia squeaked as her hands clapped together.
"Yeah. She kicked and screamed the entire time, but I managed to finally get her here," Neal teased.
I rolled my eyes and nudged him in the gut with my elbow. "You look beautiful." I kissed Nat's cheek, and hugged Aiden.
He smiled big. "Thanks. Are you sure this outfit doesn't make me look too fat?" Aiden turned sideways, forcing his belly out.
Nat smacked him hard on his belly. "It really has grown, if you ask me." We all laughed at that.
Eventually, they walked us around, introducing us to the rest of Aiden's family and friends before guiding us back to a pair of seats at their table. I glanced around, noticing the large circular table seated ten. "Sit by me." Nat pulled the chair out beside hers.
Swatting at the pink balloon, I took a seat. "Who else is sitting here?" I lowered my voice, hoping to only catch her ears.
As usual, Nat caught on quickly and dipped her head toward me before answering. "Aiden will sit to my right, you here, Neal beside you, and then it's your mom, Michael, my mom, Aiden's parents, and Dante."
My throat tightened, but I held her eyes. "Cool. Are the seats assigned?"
"Nope. First come, first serve. But don't worry about it, okay?" She patted my hand. "Are you hungry?"
Neal and Aiden finished talking and took the seats to either side of Nat and I. Aiden picked up Nat's swollen hand, kissing the backside. "Mom said they're about to serve."
"Perfect." She leaned in, kissing his cheek.
Waiters in black slacks, white collared shirts, and pink vests—both guys and girls, began serving salads and pink lemonade. My mom and Michael, along with Aunt Yvette, finally came to sit with us. I had no idea they'd been in the house the entire time. Suddenly, my nerves started kicking in at the thought that maybe Dante was in there, too.
Placing my fork on the pink linen napkin, I scooted out from the table to greet everyone.
"You look gorgeous, Mija." Aunt Yvette kissed my cheek, and then held me back at arms’ length to get a better look at me.
"Thank you." I twirled for her, knowing she'd be asking me to, anyway.
"The dress fit perfect, eh?" She winked.
"It did." I thanked her again.
Neal walked over and smoothed the dress back down. I hadn't really twirled enough for it to rise up and show my panties, but I knew he was being cautious for me.
A month before, my aunt had called and asked what size I wore. Then about a week later, I opened a box from her. The white halter dress was short and flowy, showing most of my back, and dipped low to show plenty of cleavage as well. I called to thank her, and she told me that when she saw it, she knew it was meant for me. I thought it was the sweetest thing at the time, figuring she wanted to cheer me up since the accident and all. But the last time I spoke with Nat, she told me the real reason behind it. She wanted to make sure I looked like a million bucks the next time I faced Dante. To let him know what a huge mistake he'd made. I didn't exactly wear it for that reason, but of course, it didn't hurt that I felt like a million bucks in it.
After Neal and I were done greeting both my mom and Michael, we took our seats. I picked up my fork and began picking out the bright pink rose petals from my salad, scooting them all to one side. I just couldn't bring myself to eat flowers. Flowers? In a salad? Maybe they were good, but I couldn't. Nat was going on about how swollen she'd become. When she suddenly stopped mid-sentence, I looked up to meet her eyes as I shoved a bite of the raspberries and spinach into my mouth. Her tight pressed lips and worried brow told me all I needed to know. I gulped down the salad, hardly chewing at all. In that moment, it occurred to me more than one thing had changed. Not only had I given up on Dante and chosen to work things out with Neal, but I'd also lost the ability to sense him before laying eyes on him. Normally, my skin would tingle and my breath would hitch. I'd come to rely on these things to warn me before. Now, there was no warning and I felt as though I'd been betrayed by my own body.
Neal's hand reached over to my lap and gripped my thigh. I tilted my head to the side and offered him a small smile, which he didn't return. So, I watched as he stood to his feet, like everyone else at the table, while Dante made his way around, shaking hands and giving hugs to each person he greeted. I knew when he'd gotten close to us because his familiar cologne drifted through the air. A war fizzled throughout my body. Did I stand and greet him like nothing, knowing my body could react and give away the façade I'd carefully crafted to ensure no one would notice the immense pain I felt in his presence? Or did I continue to sit there, hoping he'd read it as anger and ignore me, giving me the opportunity to do the same to him? Which would Neal prefer? Which would cause less of a scene? I fidgeted a bit in the seat, suddenly feeling the tight grip of Neal's hands on the back of my chair. That pretty much made my mind up for me, so I sat frozen and glanced up in time to see the two men who'd each owned a piece of my heart greeting one another.
"Neal." Dante stuck out his hand.
"Dante." Neal did the same.
Both held each other’s icy gaze, gripping firmly to the other’s hand. They let go at the same time, and I hurried my attention back toward my food before catching either of their eyes.
It was then I felt Dante. He reached through my back and yanked my heart from my chest, dragging it out through my shoulder and leaving me to burn in painful flames. At least that was what it felt like as his hand touched the exposed skin on my back. His voice was a whisper of pain in my ear as he greeted me. "Raquel."
Raquel? Something he'd hardly ever called me. My stomach tied itself into knots.
I didn't return his greeting. I felt my shoulders rise and fall as I shoved more salad in my mouth, knowing all eyes were on me. Or at least two. Two eyes, like lasers honing in on the spot where my heart used to be, accusing me of letting it go. I felt translucent. Like everyone could see my bleeding heart as I sat there trying to hold it together. I tried not to choke on my food, when I absentmindedly shoved the petals into my mouth, too. Nope. Not good. I concentrated on chewing and swallowing, then reaching for a sip of lemonade to help rid myself of the ball in my throat and the nasty taste of rose petals before returning the gaze I felt from Neal. Again, I offered a smile. He returned it this time, and I knew I'd saved his heart. I'd made the right choice. All the pain I was enduring was inward, and as long as I kept it there, I could smother it. I could win.
Taking my lead, Dante avoided me the rest of the afternoon. I didn't really pay close attention to where he was most of the time. I just knew he stood away from where I was. And I was able to play the games and enjoy myself over the next hour without having to lay eyes on him. Neal stood by my side, making sure I had drinks and snacks, so I never had to even enter the house. I swear, if he could pee for me, he'd have done that, too. He was so protective of my heart, and it was such a relieving feeling to know that someone cherished me the way he did. He wasn't careless or reckless with me, the way Dante had been.
We were halfway through some game where we were blindfolded and had to use a pink spoon to dump pink little cotton-like balls into a pink bowl, when I heard Nat squeak loudly and a familiar voice shouting right along with her. I'd been watching Neal aimlessly scooping the spoon against the table and failing majorly at getting any into his bowl when the action started. I turned toward the squeals and nearly fell back when I saw who it was.
"Oh my God. Is it you?" Val squealed again when she saw me. "Freaking Rocky! Dude, come here!"
We ran toward one another with our arms stretched out wide and caught each other in a huge hug.
"Val, you look great! How've you been? How's Malachi? Oh my goodness. It's been too long!"
She nodded into my shoulder, still holding me tightly in her arms. "I've missed you guys," she whispered, her voice shaking.
I couldn't believe she was here. I felt so bad that it'd been so long since I'd tried to contact her or Malachi. I watched as Nat waddled her way over to us, tears filling her eyes as well.
"Sorry." She sniffed, as she let me go and held onto my hand while she reached for Nat's hand. "You have no idea how much I've missed you both." She let go of our hands and clapped her hands together loudly. "So, tell me!" She smiled. "How's life in San Diego? Are you married yet?"
"Nope. I'll introduce you to Neal."
"Neal, huh? I had heard you started over out there." She nudged me with her elbow. "You look fantastic. And you!" She turned toward Nat. "Check you out, hot mama! You're all ready to go soon."
Nat rubbed her belly. "Well, you look pretty fantastic yourself!"
"Ah, it's nothing. It's all surgery and plastic. I figured if I didn't have it in my teen years, I might as well pay for it and have it while I'm still young. Mali likes it." She winked.
"How is Mali?" I laughed at the nickname. I'd realized she never answered the first time.
"Good. He's good. Working, like always, but he loves it, ya know? He should be getting word of where he'll be off to next, and I'll probably just end up following him around like usual." She waved her hand through the air and mumbled, "If I can." She broke our circle and walked toward the crowd of game players. "Where's your Neal guy? I want to meet him."
I hurried after her, glancing toward Nat to see if she was following. Nat shrugged as she waddled behind us with a look of worry crossing her face. Maybe she was noticing the way Val seemed to not want to talk about herself, too. It was weird. She seemed happy, yet she kept blowing off the conversation any time it led to her.
Neal walked toward me. "I sucked." He laughed.
"I saw," I joked as we turned toward Val. "Neal, this is my friend Valerie. We went to school together. Val, this is—"
"Hubba hubba. Hello hot stuff!" She wiggled her eyebrows at him and quickly pulled him into a hug. "Rocky always gets all the cute ones." She pinched his cheek, before kissing it and leaving bright pink lips behind. "But did she warn you that I happen to pick up all of her leftovers?" She winked at him.
Neal's cheeks reddened as he glanced toward me, unsure how to take Val's forward behavior.
Nat sat back, laughing at the whole scene. "Val, hands off. You're scaring Neal." She walked forward, latching her arm into Val's. "Have you eaten yet? Are you hungry?"
"Nah. I'll just grab a beer and some appetizers. I'm gonna go mess with the men folk in the garage. You guys wanna come?"
"No. We're good. We're getting ready to open presents and stuff," Nat chimed. "Go mess with the boys and I'll see you inside."
We watched as she made her way into the house before I turned to look at Nat. "How come you didn't tell me she was coming?"
"I didn't think she was." She let out a long sigh. "My mom asked her mom, and she said she couldn't make it."
"Hmm. She seems good. She looks good at least, right?"
Nat just nodded. But I could tell something was off, and I knew she thought so, too. It just wasn't the time or place to get into it all.
Neal looked at the both of us, confusion still all over his face. I took one look at the bright pink lips on his cheek and burst into laughter. "You poor thing. You never saw that coming, did you?" I wiped at the lipstick stain.
"I'm curious to know what you were like in high school. I'm thinking I need to sit with more of your old friends and get the scoop. You and Nat have got to be holding back."
Nat and I looked at each other and laughed again. "Nope. Nothing to tell."
He narrowed his eyes and watched us, not believing a word.


·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•٠· Calista Smith ·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•٠·

Calista is a California girl who relocated to the great state of 
Texas. She resides therewith her beautiful husband, four 
crazy kids and a dog. Calista has loved to write since she 
was a small child. She started writing poetry and eventually
 decided to write fiction. Breaking Down is her debut novel. 
She also has a couple of other books she is working on, 
including Breaking Away, the sequel to Breaking Down.
  Calista also has an addiction to reading and reads
 everything she can get her hands on, in all different genres.

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