Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #4
Hero: Belmont Clarkson
Heroine: Sage Alexander
Date of Publication: September 26, 2017
Started On: June 08, 2018
Finished On: June 09, 2018
We have all come across the expression that sometimes, two people in love, they can act as if they are a universe unto themselves. In the fourth and final book of the Romancing the Clarksons series, Tessa Bailey explores that concept with the favorite couple of dare I say, most readers of the series since its debut novel.
Too Beautiful to Break is the story of the eldest sibling of the four, Belmont Clarkson, who literally takes your breath away from the very first moment you lay eyes on him. It is just like Sage Alexendar, the heroine describes him in the book, “Belmont was attractive. Yes. That much was made obvious by the way women got a certain look in their eyes as he passed. He evoked a chemical reaction that started in your stomach, as if he’d tucked his coarse index finger into your belly button and twisted. His height might have made him rangy, if it weren’t for all the muscle, honed from hours working on his salvage boat. His skin had an all-weather texture, bashed with salt water and sunshine, but his inner glow kept it from dulling in the slightest. Dark hair skirmished around his face and collar, no style to speak of, but thick and inviting and gorgeous in its disarray. The first time she’d set eyes on Belmont, she’d thought of far-off places. Grassy moors and mist and trench coats. Things she’d never witnessed, but read about in books. He was the only one of his kind.“, and I don’t think I can do more justice to Belmont’s character than that.
Belmont and Sage’s connection is one that manifests through every word, phrase, and sentence that describes them together in the entire series. Too Beautiful to Break just sets this fact in stone and Tessa Bailey brings to life how two people that are entirely drawn to one another like Belmont and Sage can disappear into a world of their own making. It is like Belmont tells Sage, they are two halves of one whole and I cannot agree more.
While for onlookers and even for us readers who have been following their “relationship” closely since the series began, it feels as if Belmont is the person who needs Sage to keep him grounded. When in reality Sage too, desires and wants that visceral connection between the two and uses it as her lifeline when things get too tough.
Sage is someone who comes from a broken home, with two dysfunctional parents whose entire world only consists of the two of them. Sage had grown up being a witness to the destructive dependency cycle that is her parents. It is the same sort of dependency she identifies with Belmont, a connection which she swears that she is severing for his own good as well, because the past that she had run from had come calling and Belmont has no place in any of it.
Sage comes from a small mining town, where the town’s entire population depends on the income generated from the mines. The fact that Sage had also taken the easy way out and run from a life that continued to bring her down, a life where she had been excluded from the family experience that should rightfully exist in a household that has two parents who are as love in with each other as Sage’s parents are; run Sage had, and run as far as she could.
It comes as a shock to Belmont when their parting brings to light the fact that it was not only him that had yearned for more when it comes to Sage and him. Sage lets him know in no uncertain terms that it is not okay for Belmont to take up such a large chunk of her life and not see her as a woman. Oh boy, does that seem to set Belmont off to finally act on his impulses that had been right about driving him nuts with his burgeoning desire for Sage, and enjoy it, I so did.
Belmont is the kind of man whose quite demeanor hides a wealth of passion inside of him. Belmont has trauma from childhood, the truth behind which he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his mother. Miriam, in the opening lines of the book, talks about how Belmont had grown up right in front of her eyes, become too solemn and forgot how to be a child, because he had carried the heavy burden of the sorrow his mother had carried in her heart for his father whom Belmont has never met.
Sage is adamant that she does not follow in the same path as that of her parents, whose toxic dependency cycle on one another prevents them from actually living and making a life together. So Sage pushes back, and Belmont who has been in love with Sage since forever, doesn’t hesitate to do everything in his power to prove to Sage that when it comes to her, he would move mountains because there is a fundamental truth that will never change – he is hers and she is his.
I found the trope that Tessa explored in Belmont and Sage’s story to be really interesting. I have come across various relationships where two people are just wrong for each other, even if they claim to love each other with everything they have. However, to witness two people who actually flourish, want, and need the other’s toxicity to make their love stronger is a novel concept in the way Tessa explored it in this novel.
I understood Sage and her need to get away from HER dependence on Belmont and vice versa. But that does not mean it doesn’t hurt Belmont, which hurts Sage as well. But what Sage did was important for the longevity and sustainability of their love for each other. You can love someone till your soul aches from it, but to make it stick and work so that you have that love with you for your lifetime takes hard work, commitment, and willpower to not lose essential pieces yourself in the love you have for the other. That I believe is a vital message for anyone and everyone, and I loved how Tessa explored it all with great sensitivity without painting anyone as the “villain” for it being so.
I loved and adored Belmont. I mean, who wouldn’t? He is the kind of strong and silent hero that romance novels often bring to life and we all swoon over. But I believe Belmont is in a league of his own in the understated manner in which he exudes an aura that refuses to be denied. When Belmont is in the room, you HAVE to sit up and take notice even though he has eyes for no woman but Sage. Yes, he is that kind of hero. His vulnerability at the core, and the fact that he was a virgin who had waited to discover the wonders of sex and lovemaking with the woman he loves was somehow fitting when it came to Belmont.
Loved the ending. I believe it delivered exactly the kind of peace and harmony between the Clarkson siblings that Tessa wanted to when she first started out with the series.
Final Verdict: In Too Beautiful to Break, Bailey delivers the kind of love that is all consuming in its ferocity, gentleness, and ability to give. There is a beauty to Belmont’s character, supplemented by Sage’s that is hard not to fall for.
“You are a woman, Sage. You’re the only woman,” Belmont breathed in a rush as he reached Sage, hauling her off the ground with both arms and up against his body—
And then their lips touched for the first time.
Something parted in Belmont’s mind, like clouds after a storm, and so much light shined through, it would have blinded him. Would have, if his eyes had the ability to remain open against the onslaught of euphoria. Need, too. There was always the need, but with his mouth finally pressing against Sage’s, desire grew huge and demanding. Going against every rule he’d given himself, Belmont tilted his hips and let her feel it.
“I stole it out of your suitcase. I broke a commandment and everything.”
“Why?” He breathed into her hair, sinking heat like an anchor in her belly. The shirt came off, her arms dropped to her sides, and she was left in nothing but a bra from the waist up. Inches from Belmont. “Why, sweetest girl?”
A light steam had begun curling in the air like beckoning fingers. Maybe this is a dream. It felt like one of the fevered fantasies she woke from on occasion, sweat slicking her breasts and neck. “Because I like the way you smell and it hadn’t been washed.”
His exhale was gravelly. “Sage.”
His soaped-up palms coasted over her rib cage and down, raking over her hips and moving inward to her belly. When his fingertips grazed the waistband of her underwear, Sage gasped and pushed her bottom back up against his groin. Belmont gritted her name, his vision doubling before swooping back together. “I’ve never been with a woman like this, Sage.” The truth was out, mixing with the shower mist, before he could stop it. “Never touched a woman beneath her underwear. Or her breasts. Never been inside.” He couldn’t swallow, so a choked sound broke loose. “I don’t really have a way to explain how much it’s you. Out of a million women, it would always have been you. My body…the part you feel between my legs…has never ached for anyone else.”
“I—I’ve never been with anyone, either.”
She pushed up with her backside, elevating his groin, inviting him to grind forward, so he did. He did it hard. And firebursts blinked in front of his eyes, the promise of satisfaction riding low and painful in his gut. But nothing compared to the flood of need that almost sank him when she spoke again. “I’ve touched myself, Belmont.” Even in the muted candlelight coming from the bedroom, he saw the pink flush steal up her neck and cheeks. He loved that display of Sageness so much, he licked it. He licked the increasing wealth of pink, up and down, left to right, until she started to whimper. “I know what I like.”
Put your head back on my shoulder,” he ground out. “I can’t see your eyes.”
Danger. She shouldn’t. Being face to face with Belmont brought too much gravity. It would suck her back in, turn her back into someone she couldn’t be. But the gathering of release put a hole in her defenses. This was the man she’d clung to for dozens of hours, quietly begging for more. For all. So she didn’t just put her head on his shoulder, she threw it, using a foot on his knee as leverage to cinch higher. “There. There,” she choked out, peering up into his shadowed face. Shadowed, save his eyes, which practically glowed like blue coal as they raced over her face. “I’m right here.”
“I missed you.” A tremor moved through his huge body. “Don’t keep me banished.”
Sage’s flesh clamped around the thick presence of Belmont’s finger and she broke. She broke right down the middle, her legs jerking, the private, untested muscles low in her stomach convulsing until she screamed. It was like waking up in the bottom of a pool and marveling at the feeling of being encapsulated in cool, fresh heaven, but still scrambling for the air that waited at the top. So much relief. Almost too much to stand. “Oh my God. Belmont. Please don’t let go of me yet.”
Taking a deep breath for the courage to stop after one, Sage grabbed Belmont by the lapels of his jacket, drew him close, and molded their lips together.
He made this sound—mmmhh—and followed it with a groan so long and deep, she got lost in the never-ending vibration of it. His salty ocean eternity scent clashed with the forest, his texture, the heat of his body, exploding her senses. She’d barely processed that her feet had left the landing before they were dangling in midair, Belmont’s forearm slung beneath her bottom, the opposite arm wrapped around her back. So tight, like he’d never expected to hold her again.
Her teeth grazed his tongue and that shock sent searing pressure climbing up his cock. With a strangled shout, he twisted a hand in the hem of Sage’s dress and held it high, at the notch of her throat, watching in awe and disbelief as white ropes tugged from his body, striping Sage’s smooth, slight curves.
“Jesus, Jesus…Sage…I’m all over your belly.” He pushed the words out through clenched teeth. “Look how gorgeous you are.”
His climax seemed to go on forever and Sage’s reaction only made it more potent, more unbelievable. Watching him go over the edge seemed to elevate her to another plane, as well. She was sobbing by the time he finished, her hazel eyes glassy and unfocused.
She watched through a fevered fog as he wiped the sheen from his mouth, side to side, then ripped the material down the middle with the use of his teeth. “We’re two halves of a whole, you and I, Sage. I know there are things we need to work on. Me, mostly. I need work. But I know your heart, sweetest girl. You wouldn’t have given yourself over to me like that if you didn’t believe. In me. In us.” He tucked one half of the handkerchief into her panties, then dragged them up her leg, gently arranging them back in place. “So no more trading places for secrets. Anything you want to know about me, you ask and I’ll tell you. I’ll tear myself down the middle and let you see it all.”
Sage dug her fingernails into the meat of Belmont’s shoulders, loving his satisfied grunt. “You’re so hot,” she murmured against his mouth. “You’re so huge and hot and you don’t even realize it. Some mornings, when you follow me to get coffee and you’ve got the car keys in your hand…you look like the master of the world. And I’ve wanted you to…”
“What?” he prompted hoarsely. “Tell me.”
She pressed herself down, taking another two inches of his erection, stopping just at the point of pain, his strangled groan splitting the air. “I’ve wanted you…to want to…fuck me.”
“Just a little?” she whispered, barely aware of what she was going to ask, until the question was out. “Just a little. I want to remember you taking it.” My virginity. “I want to remember exactly how it felt when—”
“When I push all the way in, Sage?” His hand turned to a fist on her backside, the opposite one making the pew groan within its grip. “I’m only halfway in right now and you’re already trying to close your thighs on me.” His gaze danced over every bit of her face. “Do you really know what you’re asking for?”
“Yes.” Her fingertips skated up his chest and neck, tangling in his hair. “Belmont, please.”
“Oh. Oh, there. Right there.” Her back arched all on its own. “The way you’re sliding on me.”
His sudden focus zapped like an electrical surge, his scrutiny fell over her like a blanket. “I’m not moving. I’ll stay right here.”
“You don’t have to say please to me, sweetest girl.” Belmont’s hair was draping down on either side of his face again, so she could only see the way he bore down on that bottom lip with white teeth, only catch the occasional glimpses of hot blue eyes, but her hands were too busy clinging to his thrusting bottom to tuck the strands behind his ears. “You have no idea, Sage. No idea what it’s doing to me…knowing I can make you feel good this way. Look at you. Do you want me to fuck you harder now?”
“Y-yes. Keep going.”
“Belmont.” Her beautiful eyes held him captive, her thighs gliding up and down his hips in a seductive tempo. “Give me sons. Give me daughters. That’s how it was always supposed to be. From the very first minute.”
Belmont could barely stand the beauty those words unleashed inside him. It was an exhilarating rush through an endless field, Sage at his side. And there wasn’t a single barrier in their way. “I love you so much,” he managed, his hips beginning to flex…and then pump. “Marry me, have our children, never want for anything. Say yes to me, Sage.”
“Yes, yes, yes.”