It's somewhat difficult to write a review for this book without mini-spoilers. Apologies in advance.
I enjoyed this sexy, second chance love story. The hero/ine were likable and the chemistry between them palpable, but there were parts of Hell Without You that fell just a bit flat for me. Perhaps, there was just too much drama to contend with for this couple that I couldn't get worked up over any one thing.
Clementine has come back to her hometown after completing her MBA to look for a job. She and Donovan have been apart for seven years after spending their teen years together. Things between them weren't perfect (Clem's parents did not favor Donovan, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, for Clem) but they were in love and planning a future together. One incident changes everything. Clem goes away to college in NYC; Donovan enlists in the Marines and they never see/talk to one another again until a happenstance moment when Donovan drives up to his home, which used to belong to Clem's deceased grandmother, and finds Clem there. A storm suddenly hits and Clem needs to stay at Donovan's home while repairs are made on her flood-damaged apartment. Clem quickly realizes that Donovan suffers from PTSD/night terrors and it's not quite safe for either of them for Clem to stay at Donovan's. But Donovan will not hear of Clem leaving, so she stays.
Despite the sleep walking/PTSD drama, Donovan is ready to do whatever it takes to keep Clem in his life, but he's scared of her "running away" again. Donovan is a great hero, if a wee bit too emotionally driven for my tastes. Even though Clem wants Donovan, she is determined to not be the weak girl she once was and find a job in DC to get her career on track and doesn't know exactly how Donovan will fit in that plan now that he's set up roots -- bought a home and a business, in their hometown.
I liked that we get flashbacks into Clem and Donovan's time together before their separation which was good insight as to why they broke up. But it's a good portion of the book before the whole backstory becomes clear. Once it is clear and they start to work through the issues, Donovan is in an accident and then accused of murder. How much more can Donovan and Clem take??? It seems pretty clear who the real culprit is but there's a good twist that comes out of left field.
This couple face a lot of obstacles before they are able to get their HEA. I liked the story overall, but it was just too much drama for one book. I would have liked more love story as these two worked on getting things right the second time than it turning into a murder mystery in the last third of the book. In any case, the epilogue was sweet and I wouldn't be opposed to a story for Donovan's buddy, Ricardo.
*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*