Title: Into the Tomorrows
Series: Bleeding Hearts #1
Author: Whitney Barbetti
Genre: Romance, New Adult & College
I was born in sadness, which was just the beginning of a solemn and desolate life. I’m no stranger to pain—none of us are. The night I held my best friend’s hand as she died, I understood true agony. And I never thought I’d feel happiness again. But that was so long ago… Moving to Colorado to be with Colin, my high school sweetheart, was the perfect way to start over and rekindle what had begun to fizzle. I wanted that spark to ignite, to burn in passion and desire. Instead, I found myself falling for Jude, my boyfriend’s roommate. He’s the only person who understands my soul, who can breach the walls I’ve built. But I can’t have him. Because I’m Trista Kohl, and my destiny is sorrow.
PLEASE NOTE: Into the Tomorrows is not a standalone. It is the first book in a series. The sequel, Back to Yesterday, will be published late summer or early fall.
Thoughts: I first discovered newcomer Whitney Barbetti a couple years ago when she published “Ten Below Zero” and though I was relatively new to the book scene at the time, I recognized the genius of her writing. Then she published her “He Found Me” series, and that confirmed it . . . she’s no 1-hit wonder (writer). Barbetti is the real deal. “Into the Tomorrows” is definitely on par with her previous books too. There’s usually a great bit of sadness in her writing, the characters stories that is. Barbetti pulls you in quickly and exposes you to their lives, making you feel what they feel. When her character’s stomach falls you plummet right along with them!
As the book blurb describes, Trista Kohl’s destiny is sorrow. Her Mother told her, “Sorrow. It’s your destiny.” She never wanted Trista, blames her for her woes, for Krista’s Father leaving her when she told him she was pregnant. She drowns her sorrows in booze and later kicks Krista out of the house. Three years after the traumatic death of her best friend Ellie that put Krista in a tail spin, she moves from Wyoming to Colorado to live with her boyfriend Colin. They’d been “together” almost six years, but not really together. It’s an odd relationship and once she arrives at his request he’s distant, running hot and cold or really more like lukewarm and cold. His roommates are twins Jude and Mila. If you’re thinking love triangle, well this is so much more twisted than that!
There were plenty of plot twists I totally didn’t see coming and the ending . . .well that just blew me away. I won’t tell you what happened or who did what, but I found myself wishing Krista would rip someone a new one and take a swing at em’ too. What a cliff hanger, only this cliff didn’t come with an arm back up the 500 foot drop!
Favorite Quote (& I think this one will stick with me a while):
“Time means nothing. Time is disposable. Time is the biggest thief of our lives, but only if we let it steal from us.”
“The moments we waste doing things that don’t make us happy.”
The problem with Colin and me was that we didn’t match. His dark, curly hair and a smile that delivered dimples in his tanned skin. My pale skin, thick stomach, and bleached blonde hair and lips unsmiling. His charisma and my awkward bones. He was happy, always happy. And I was not.
I was a girl with a mom who taught me more about loss than love. A mom who forgot to brush my hair for school growing up, her neglect morphing into forgetting to pick me up from school more often than not. My tennis shoes were worn from my mile-long walks home, their neglect a direct reflection of my mother.
When Colin and I had started dating, I was enamored. I had butterflies. I wrote him notes and I whispered into the phone about him with Ellie. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, that Colin had chosen me.
The first time Colin and I had sex, he’d been so gentle— so kind. He’d kissed my neck, and my chest, and had made sure I was ready before he took my virginity. It was hard to reconcile that Colin with the Colin now, a Colin who pretended I didn’t exist most of the time.
After Ellie died, I felt like I’d lost both of them. I was grieving for Ellie and grieving for Colin and too afraid to tell him, so I kept it to myself. I let it fester, like a wound that I picked at, until it seeped into my blood stream and turned me bitter.
I fought harder to get over that ledge on the mountain than I did to keep Colin as my boyfriend.
Jude shook his head. “Do you not enjoy parties?”
“No.” I said it more firmly than I’d intended. “They’re not my thing.”
“Then why would Colin throw you one?”
“Because they’re his thing.”
“You didn’t hesitate. You answered that without trying to lie to me first.”
My cheeks grew warm. “I don’t lie all the time.”
“Just mostly about the important stuff.”
I shrugged, sipped my beer and laid back on the roof. “It’s exhausting to tell the truth all the time.”
He was silent, the only sounds our breathing and the music that spilled out onto the deck from the door I’d left open.
I rolled my head to the side, feeling looser from the fact that I could finally breathe and that I was feeling a buzz. “What are you drinking?”
“Are you serious?”
“As a heart attack.” His voice was dry. I watched him put the cup to his lips and the curve of his throat as he swallowed.
“Why no booze?”
“I don’t drink. I haven’t in a long time.”
“Are you an alcoholic?”
He huffed out a laugh. “No. I have a few vices, but none of them are stimulants.”
“Because I don’t like feeling out of control.”
I nodded, understanding that to some extent.
“Why don’t you like parties?”
I had a choice here, to tell him the truth or to tell another lie. “Because they’re not my scene.”
He was digging. “Because someone I loved died at a party.”
“I’m sorry.” He said it quickly, not reactionary like he felt the need to give condolences. “That’s as good as any reason to quit parties.”
“Yeah, well,” I said, raising my cup half-heartedly, “not a good enough reason for Colin.”
“Why are you dating him, Trista?”
And that was my signal to go. I began scooting down the roof toward the deck, because I was absolutely not talking to Jude about my relationship with my boyfriend. Those things were mine, and mine alone.
“You don’t have to run away.”
“Well, I don’t want to answer that question.”
“Fuck, Trista,” he said, and it was the first time I’d heard him raise his voice. “Then say that. Do you really think I’m going to disregard your wishes just for my own selfish need to know?”
I was trying to process what he was saying from behind me, because it was more than just one thing. “You want an answer.”
“Not if you’re not willing to give it. Come back up here. And we’ll talk about things that don’t cause you to slide clear off the roof.”
I scooted back, lifting my butt several feet at a time until I reached where Jude lay. “I don’t want to answer that question,” I said, feeling stupid for even trying to run away.
“Okay. Good. You do know how to use your words.”
I narrowed my eyes, but stayed beside him, draining my beer. “I like having secrets.”
“I have them too.”
I nodded, knowing he did.
“Tell me a secret, Jude.”
“Will you tell me one?”
My stomach tightened. “Can I choose?”
“I would think that’s the point. How can I tell you which secret to choose when I don’t even know what your secrets are?”
He had a way of reminding me how silly I sounded and it made me want to prove to him that I wasn’t so young and naïve after all.
“Okay. So tell me one of yours.”
“We have to make a deal,” he said and the heaviness of his words was like stone in my stomach. “That you tell a secret of equal value.”
The music stopped for a second, along with my heart. And then I nodded and the music below us resumed, the beat changing. “Okay.”
He lifted the cup to his mouth, took a sip and tipped his head back, his lips parted just slightly. I watched, mesmerized, as he looked at the stars above. And when his mouth opened wider, I felt my heart tremble.
“I can feel your loneliness, Trista.” He was watching me, the moon reflecting off of his face. “It’s in your eyes, that hunger for something that digs past the superficial. You want someone to know you, but you’re afraid too. And you’re consoling yourself with someone who doesn’t want to know you because you know it’s safe.” He let out a breath, like he was absolving himself of some kind of demon. “And fuck me if it doesn’t make me want to give you what you need. You’re hungry— you’re starving. And I wish you didn’t make me want to feed you.”
A burn began in my chest, spreading like a wildfire across my chest. I knew that in the dark, he couldn’t see just what he was doing to my skin, but I believed, in that moment, that I glowed.
The weight of his gaze was heavy and in my head, I screamed the word, “Safe,” but in my heart—well, I felt something else. A kind of delicious ache, something I knew I shouldn’t want, shouldn’t think about, but still I did. An ache that was as unrelenting as it was emphatic. My hand moved slightly, as if to protect the space that reacted to his words.
“Jude…” It was all I said, all I could say, with him staring at me like that, his words invading my head and forming a memory already. My lips closed and opened, my breath little spurts of air.
“Trista,” he said, leaning closer to me. My heart galloped and my breath caught in anticipation. “Tell me,” he whispered, “your secret.”
I licked my dry lips and tried to remember what secret I’d planned to tell him. But his was so monumental that I couldn’t think of anything to compare. So instead, I told him the truth. “My secret is that you’re right.”