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Can't Hardly Breathe

by Gena Showalter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Original Heartbreakers (4)

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819259,301 (4)None
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with an irresistible Original Heartbreakers story about a woman who's never felt desired and the man who wants her more than air to breathe... Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis's past is full of memories she'd rather forget. But there's one she can't seem to shake--her long-standing crush on former army ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out...but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead. Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves the curvy Dorothea night and day, he's as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her. But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Can’t Hardly Breathe is book four in The Original Heartbreakers series. This book made me smile, swoon, laugh, and cry. It’s a story of getting that chance with your high school crush later on in life. I adore this series and was so happy to get Dorothea and Daniel’s story.

I really enjoyed the prologue. We are taken back to high school where we see bullying, dreams, and crushes. Both Dorothea and Daniel captured my heart. I was totally enthralled with Can’t Hardly Breathe. I was amazed at how well Showalter brought the characters insecurities to the for front and how they learned to trust and deal with their issues. I liked how she shined light on bullying and how much it affects people throughout their lives. Then their’s the PTSD storyline with Daniel and how that can affect people too. I was enchanted by this couple and how they came together and ended up relaying on each other. The dogs where a delight, an added bonus and it was great how they helped Daniel realize he needed support. The friendships in this series have been phenomenal. I just cherish how Daniel and his friends plus Dorothea and her friends come together to help make things right.

Showalter brought out the best and worst in her characters. She surrounded them with friends who are loyal. She wrote sensual and tasteful sex scenes that sizzle of the pages. Can’t Hardly Breathe is a lovely story of romance, love, forgiveness, and trust.

Audio: Narrator Savannah Richards has such a soothing and alluring voice. I’m captured from the moment I listen until the very end. Her rendition of the story brings everything out and makes it all that much more real. I highly recommend the audio version for The Original Heartbreakers series.

Rated: 4 Stars

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  angelsgp | May 14, 2021 |
Who ever forgets their first crush? Except with they break your heart without even knowing what they did...can you still feel for them years later?

Dorothea "Dottie" Mathis has returned to Strawberry Valley to run the family inn. She's back in the very place that holds so many mean and self-esteem stealing memories. She was the chubby freckled girl the mean girls picked on. Her father leaves their family (her, her mother and little sister) to remarry and start over with a ready made family. SOB even has the nerve to tell the girls to forget about him and start over, that's what he's doing. Her husband cheated on her. She discovers this and has an accident while trying to get away from their apartment causing her to lose her baby. Doctors then give her the news she may never be able to have children.

Daniel Porter was Dorothea's crush. He came to her rescue the first day of her sophomore year and told her she was perfect just the way she is. In searching for him later that day she finds him in the clutches of one of the mean girls he saved her from....broken is her heart. Now he's back home tired and broken. PTSD has him in it's grips but he seeks no help for it. He originally came back (with two of his friends) to take care of his dad who's health had been slipping. His fear of losing people... we go back to what he saw in combat and watching his father's grief when his mother died, has meant he doesn't let anyone close. And girls from Strawberry Valley are definitely off limits as that would raise dads hopes that he might marry and settle down.

These two dance around each other they would make professional dancers proud with some of the moves they have. He discovers that he was right all those years ago, Thea...his nickname for her, is perfect. She is intelligent, giving, passionate, loving and compassionate. Her outer beauty matches her inner and he would be a sucker for her....if she wasn't a local girl. For her part Thea has been burned too many times by the male species and isn't sure that even hot as he is Daniel is worth the risk. She wants to be priority in his life not some dirty little secret.

Being this is a romance you know how things end up....but the road there is bumpy. Oh and we do have some classic zingers thrown by all parties. Virgil, Daniels's dad, has that small town wisdom that he doesn't mind sharing. "If my sister had been born with a pecker, she would have been my brother. Ain't no use wishin' for what ain't." Holly and Carol, her sister and mother, are two pieces of work. Holly is a spoiled brat who blames everything she can on Thea and uses her as her personal punching bag. Carol has just decided her needs come first. She's quick to gossip about Thea's troubles but doesn't like her dirty laundry out in the air.

Now there are two couples that are hinted at: Ryanne & Jude and Lyndie & Brock. Ryanne and Lyndie are Thea's best friends. They each have there own dramas and issues. One was abused and a child and later by her ex-husband. The other I believe suffered through a husband's cheating. Now Jude and Brock were in the military with Daniel. They've come with him to SV to start a security company and to, well stay close to one another as they all suffer from PTSD and there are not many whom they trust. Jude is a widower having lost his wife and kids to a drunk driver. Brock....I'm not sure we know why he is the way he is, distrustful of everyone, but he's got his eye on the closet bottle of booze and female company....or does he?

Looking forward to seeing how the other couple's stories play out. Glad there will still be the secondary characters around...Virgil and his wisdom would be worth it. Oh and let's not forget Daniel shelter dogs, he adopted a pair of 90 lb. pit bull mixes- Adonis and Echo--- who have one little problem, killer farts! I'm a sucker for dogs and one's the remind me of my own farting dog, even more.

( )
  ChachaJ | Feb 1, 2021 |
Quickie review...
OMG. LOVED IT! The characters, the story line, the flirtiness, the comradery, the effort nine yards were amazing, awesome fun! True, Daniel could be a total arse, but underneath it all he was a TKO, and we're not just talking looks. Dorothea was an amazing leading lady, who broke the mold on what some consider the cookie cutter type, but it was done without turning the whole story into a book about THAT (way to go author!). Their friends, family, and exes were just as stimulating, memorable, and noteworthy... when not getting into fights, carrying grudges, or passing judgment, they left their own marks on our heart that won't be easy to erase.

Definite must read for adult Contemporary Romance fans... and for every girl that was looked over in HS, kicking butt and taking numbers today. 😊 ( )
  GRgenius | Sep 15, 2019 |
Dorothea has crushed on Daniel since he told her she was perfect just the way she was in high school. But she's has years of people undermining her self esteem and personal tragedy that has kept her single. Daniel suffers from PTSD and goes through women to help keep the nightmares at bay, using her inn. After he turns down her offer of a one night stand, he turns an about face spending most of the story trying to get her back. Ok read, but her instant nail polish changes kept pulling me out story immersion.
( )
  wyldheartreads | Jun 20, 2019 |
Can't Hardly Breathe (The Original Heartbreakers) by Gena Showalter  
For all the survivors of spiteful bullies and heartbreakingly cruel jokes.  To every person with a beautiful heart, but a tortured soul. For every hero in disguise looking for salvation.  Ms. Showalter wrote Can't Hardly Breathe for you.  Dorothea is the girl that longed to fit in, but never quite managed to do so.  Daniel is the boy that is beautiful both inside and out, yet has never felt good enough.  Gena Showalter is good at stirring up emotion.  It's inspirational tales of courage like this one that keep her name on people's lips and her stories in their hearts. Ugliness is a state of mind, not a physical trait.   ( )
  Lashea677 | Feb 16, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gena Showalterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Richards, SavannahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with an irresistible Original Heartbreakers story about a woman who's never felt desired and the man who wants her more than air to breathe... Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis's past is full of memories she'd rather forget. But there's one she can't seem to shake--her long-standing crush on former army ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out...but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead. Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves the curvy Dorothea night and day, he's as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her. But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.

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