We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Ann Aguirre’s incredible THE SHAPE OF MY HEART! THE SHAPE OF MY HEART is a New Adult contemporary romance, published by Harlequin HQN, and is the third book in the 2B Trilogy Series. Don’t forget to grab your copy of the first two books and fall in love with her characters all over again!
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THE SHAPE OF MY HEART Synopsis:
Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.
Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain—he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything…because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.
It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.
Make sure you grab the entire 2B Trilogy!
So many questions ricocheted around my brainpan, but Max’s shoulders were pulled up almost to his ears, his chin nearly on the table. Without looking at me, he shredded the napkin in his hands into four pieces and then in half again. The waning sunshine streaming in the smeared window behind him haloed his hair, so that the highlights shone blue instead of tawny or copper.
“You don’t have to tell me a bedtime story,” I said gently.
“No, you need to know. So you understand what’s going on and why it’s so tense when we get there.”
“Okay. If you’re sure.”
“I’ll set the stage.” His tone was brittle, uneven, and the bits of paper in his hands kept getting smaller. “I was sixteen, just got my license. My dad was drinking, acting like a fuckhead. Business as usual. When he started in on Mickey, I grabbed the keys. Figured I’d get us both out of there for a while. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but taking off is kind of my specialty.”
“Between your bike, the garage office, and the place you showed me by the river, I’ve picked up on the pattern, yeah.”
“I thought I was doing the smart thing, you know? But I was driving too fast and some asshole blew the stoplight. T-boned us. Mickey got the worst of it… weeks in the hospital without knowing if he’d make it. Then once he stabilized, we found out he’d never walk again.” He curled a fist and slammed it onto the table, making the pizza box dance. “Ironic, huh? I was worried that my dad would hurt Mickey but I’m the one who—”
“Not true,” I cut in. “That’s a textbook accident. Don’t tell me you blame yourself.”
“It’s impossible to do anything else. No, wipe that look off your face, Kaufman. I didn’t open up to make you feel sorry for me. I just want you to know the deal going in. I mean, my dad’s the biggest asshole I ever met and he hates me, too.”
“What about Mickey?”
“We weren’t talking much when I left. Every day I think, what if I’d put up with my old man’s shit for five minutes more? What if I’d picked a fight with him instead of grabbing those keys? I—” His voice broke on a shuddering inhalation.
Until this moment I didn’t realize how much weight Max carried on a daily basis or how good a job he did hiding it. I came out of my chair and rounded the little table before I consciously decided to make a move. Standing beside him, I hovered, unsure what to do. He answered the question by wrapping both arms around my waist and pulling me onto his lap. Unsettled, unnerved, even, I let him press his face into my shoulder, resting a hand on his head.
His breath warmed the skin of my throat, rousing an inappropriate shiver. Now is not the time. It wasn’t like I’d never noticed his hotness; he specialized in a scruffy, soulful appeal that women of all ages seemed unable to resist. But it was so much better for him to call me Kaufman and confide in me instead of flirting. At the moment, Max needed a friend. I stroked his back for like five minutes before he raised his gaze to meet mine.
“Sorry. The closer we get to Rhode Island, the worse I feel.”
“It’s understandable. You have to be worried about how your brother will react when you see him.” The rest of his family sounded like jackwagons. Though he’d only told me about his dad, if he had any decent aunts, uncles or cousins, they would’ve stepped up when his old man went upside his head with a bottle. A scar like that would take eight or ten stitches, minimum. I imagined Max as a scared kid with blood gushing from his scalp, and all of my protective instincts roared to life. People had been calling me a bitch since I was fifteen, and I was ready to wade in against Max’s family. Yeah, the funeral might be tense and shitty, but if his family said one fucking word—
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.
Courtney has already met and lost the love of her life. After that, all interludes are just meaningless relationships. She doesn’t want to fall in love again. She invests in friendship and has an active love life, but she’s not looking for anything super long-term. Until Max makes her start thinking that he might just be the next serious thing. Max has went through his adult life hiding the pain of his adolescence. He’s been on his own since sixteen and has no plans to return home ever again. Then he gets word that his grandfather died and is forced to confront his past. He invites Courtney along for the ride and soon realizes that with her by his side, he can accomplish near anything. Now can he just find a way to admit that to himself and make it work or will they stay friends and nothing more?
Courtney was a character I would have loved on principle alone. She’s not traditionally pretty, she’s not thin, she’s not the “perfect” girl we’ve seen in every other book. She has a bit of weight and more than once she is called ugly in this novel. And the best part of that? She’s accepted who she is. She’s cool with being that Jewish girl with the weird hair and the less than perfect face. She doesn’t compete in beauty contests or spend the novel trying to lose weight or diet or constantly bash her body. She’s an excellent role model and someone I’ll always try to emulate because I don’t know that I’ll ever be half as comfortable in my skin as she is. Beyond the loving her on principle thing, she’s still an extremely relatable character. She’s smart and driven and determined to do things her way and be herself, everyone else be damned.
Max is a character I’ve been fascinated with since book 1. I loved him almost immediately. The prediction I made when I started the first book was that book 1 would be about Nadia and Mr Hot Ginger, book 2 would be about Lauren and Max and then book 3 would be about Angus and whoever he was meant for. Yeah, I was wrong on that front. Lauren took a whole new direction and Max is really better off. Max reminds me a great deal of Lucas from Tammara Webber’s Easy. Bad-ass engineering studio with a motorcycle and issues with is past? But with a heart of gold and a need to defend woman? Yeah, definitely my type. The way he defended Courtney also won me over pretty quickly. He honestly likes her for who she is, but also happens to find her sexy as hell. I’m also always a sucker for the type who work their ass off to get what they have. There are weeks where all this poor guy does is school and work because that’s the only way to make ends meet. I know all about that struggle, so it’s always refreshing to read about characters in that situation.
Courtney & Max’s relationship is one of those amazing ones that is a transition from friendship to more. I love those relationships. That moment when one or the other realizes the possibility for more and really weighs the options of what they are risking against what will be gained (or possibly lost). The tension between these two was amazing to read through. It was exactly what I wanted when I started it.
I will admit that these are my first foray into Aguirre’s work. I haven’t read her YA’s (though I have the Razorland series) or any of her adult romances. If this is the level of awesome I can expect from her other work, then I plan on working my way through all of them. This novel is a break from the NA tropes we constantly see (not that I don’t enjoy those). These are real flawed characters, but not unfixable. They work towards the mutual goal of betterment. And it was a joy (and sometimes a sadness) to take that journey with them. I look forward to finding out what Aguirre has in store for her new rabid NA fanbase!
****Thank you to Inkslinger PR, Ann Aguirre, and Harlequin HQN for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****