Lengths by Liz Reinhardt and Steph Campbell

Book description via Amazon:

Nineteen-year-old Whit Conrad leaves her conservative Pennsylvania home for sunny California, looking for independence, a fresh start, and a place to stash her grief. She promptly finds a job at a tattoo parlor, a craptastic first apartment, and one friend—Ryan—who is a little less friend, a little more benefits.

Deo Beckett is a soulful surfer with a passion for tattoos and beautiful women. On the eve of his twenty-second birthday, he finds himself living with his grandfather, recently unemployed, and seriously adrift. He doesn’t know much about what he wants out of life, but he does know his current situation isn’t cutting it.

When Deo meets Whit, she’s all sexy makeup and fierce, smart-ass fun. It doesn’t take him long to see past her tough shell. And when he gets a good look at what’s under all the superficial stuff that usually gets his attention, it leaves Deo wondering if there might be more to life than living fast and free.

Too bad Whit has a past she doesn’t plan on sharing—no matter how hot Deo is.  She might want him, but she knows better than to let her guard down.

Deo falls for Whit, and falls hard. But everything about her, down to that mysterious tattoo and the way she thrashes in her sleep, tells him that the girl he loves is hiding something. And the more he pushes for answers, the more Whit pulls away.

Having your guard up is one thing, but are the lengths Whit goes to to protect her secret worth throwing away the second chance she has at happiness with Deo?

Whit and Deo’s relationship sort of reminded me of Travis and Abby’s relationship in Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire because they tried to have a strictly platonic relationship yet interacting with each other the way a couple would and ignoring the chemistry between them all the while trying not to get too intimate physically. But this story is way different in that Deo wasn’t really a “bad boy”, he was kind of a regular guy going through what a lot of guys in their early-20’s might go through.

This was a very sweet story, with a few angsty moments and I enjoyed reading it. I loved Whit and Deo, because they were easy to relate to. They both had issues that were fairly realistic; it was easy to understand why they thought and acted the way they did. I liked that both characters weren’t overly damaged and the drama wasn’t overdone.

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