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Redefining Us

(Reclusive #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  500 ratings  ·  122 reviews
In order to truly save him, I need to redefine us.

Xander Dixon was my best friend.
Loyal and dependable.
A brave warrior.
A permanent presence in my life until that fateful day he boarded a plane headed overseas.

Xander’s unwelcome silence haunted me for three years…
Until he suddenly resurfaces.
Blinded by misplaced fury.
Trapped in a pool of darkness.
Unable to escape the pe
224 pages
Published May 28th 2017 (first published May 26th 2017)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  500 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Crystal's Book World ~ Crystal Cordova

My thoughts on the author:

Where should I start? How about where I am recovering from my heart being shattered all over the place. Redefining Us is Harloe Rae’s debut book! Her words swallowed me up and had me fall in love with the book and characters. She is the real deal people! You can feel her story coming from her heart and most importantly her soul. It bleeds out onto the pages. I have never read a book where the words itself, from page to page, really have a hold on me. I read the blurb,
Maggie V
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Redefining Us is a new standalone available May 28th by brand new author Harloe Rae.


Let me start off saying that this book has a lot of emotions. It's raw, and cuts you deep. Xander has previously done some tours overseas and the battles he faced there came home with him. He has lost a lot of good friends in the service, and he is fighting so many demons that he secludes himself from the world, even his old best friend Willow.

Willow is the PERFECT heroine in this book. She is kind, honest and
May 16, 2017 marked it as never-finished
Shelves: arcs, dnf
DNF 50%.

I stopped and started a couple times because I really wanted to love this story. The storyline is something I thought I would love; I just could not connect with the characters. The heroine's voice was just not something I could look over. When she said things like "gosh" I just felt wholly disconnected from her. I never knew I needed dirty language but it just felt so simplistic for the character with the situation she found herself in. The hero for his part was a bit better but he swit
Talia (Red Hot Ink)
4 Childhood friends stars

Full review to come.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
I thought this was going to be JUST a friends to lovers love story but was more than that. It included themes of unwavering love, family, and friendship.... the effects of that war has on a person.... and universal messages that encouraged those in need to seek help, get answers, and overcome.

Xander and Willow have been best friends since childhood and inseparable ever since. That this, until, Xander enlists in the army and cuts off all contact with Willow and everyone. Now three years later, an
Harloe Rae
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
★☆★ $0.99 NEW RELEASE ★☆★
Redefining Us is LIVE!

Universal Amazon Link ➜

Grab this new release for only 99¢ or FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

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Elizabeth Neal
Three years ago, twenty-year-old best friends, Xander and Willow, had to say good-bye. It hurt both of them because things were going to change as Xander prepared to leave with his unit as they were being stationed overseas. But Xander promised to return and pick up their friendship exactly as it was, however, Willow wanted it to be a little different, though she didn't have the courage to voice it, to confess her love, knowing he'd still have to walk away. She just didn't realize he was complet ...more
Tia Louise
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful debut novel!

You know how I love those wounded warriors who find healing in the arms of love. Xander is just such a character, and Willow, his childhood friend comes back to help him heal. It's a passionate, heartbreaking, and in the end, uplifting story.

The author shows so much promise for more great books with her passionate descriptions and true depth of feeling. Looking forward to more from Harloe Rae!

Don't miss this one~
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an exceptional read! I just adore Willow and Xander’s story! It’s so full of warmth and emotion.
It was my first read from this author, and definitely not my last!
Amy Stephens
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I knew the moment I read the blurb for Redefining Us that I had to have this story!

I'm a huge fan of stories where characters come from troubled pasts or they're struggling with serious issues. Such is the case for Xander and Willow, the two main characters in this story. Though we're not really told a whole lot about Xander's problems in the beginning, only that he had returned from being overseas and that he was somewhat of a recluse, bits and pieces are revealed as he opens up more and more w
May 30, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
💝FREE on Amazon today (5/30/2018)!💝

In order to truly save him, I need to redefine us.

Xander Dixon was my best friend.
Loyal and dependable.
A brave warrior.
A permanent presence in my life until that fateful day he boarded a plane headed overseas.

Xander’s unwelcome silence haunted me for three years…
Until he suddenly resurfaces.
Blinded by misplaced fury.
Trapped in a pool of darkness.
Unable to escape the perpetual pain.

Though it would be easy to walk away, I refuse to give up on him.
I wa
Karen Sedgman
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing debut novel Harloe Rae!! Loved every minute of this friends to lovers romance this story really touches your heart, so much emotion!! Willow and Xander have been friends since they where children then Xander went and left for the Army, with promises to keep in touch!!! Three years later Xander is back does not want to see anyone!! Willow is there for Xander breaking down walls and keeps fighting for Xander!! These two are meant for one another!! Most definitely will be reading mo ...more
Amy Rogers
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A one of a kind original story that gets you in the feels from the moment you start the book. Harloe has a way with words with the way she so eloquently describes Willow, Xander and the journey he has gone through. This book truly is a matter of the heart and what matters most. This book is a beautiful story that will be sure to stay with you long after you are done reading. Congratulations Harloe for creating a story that will be sure to capture all of us and not let go.
Ana Oh
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Super Sweet Book!

Lord, my heart may explode from this series! Again, this reminds me of my husband after he came back from the Mid East. He wasn't as bad, but we had to rebuild our connections, and experienced many of the same struggles. The author's description of grueling heartbreak was on point. I don't get thrown back into that headspace much anymore, but I was definitely there and bawling through this one.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a great read!

This was recommended by a friend. I started it without reading the blurb or reviews.

I really enjoyed Willow and Xander's story. The love, heartache and chemistry was palpable. I felt the despair and anxiety they felt.
Sara Lucinda
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the debut novel for author Harloe Rae, and it was well written and fun to read as far as debut novels go. The cover is marvelous and the pages are beautiful I am so glad that I was able to procure a paperback copy of this newly released novel.

When we first meet Xander his is living in a little shack in the woods, back from overseas but away from everyone that he knows. He has bad PTSD from events that occurred overseas and can’t stand to be around anyone or be touched. That is until Will
Wow, I was shocked to find out this was from a debut author! For this being her first book, you would never tell and it hooks you from the beginning to end. You will be shattered right along with Xander and your emotions will be tested when it comes to the feels you experience between Xander and Willow. This is not your typical BF to lover’s book; it touches on some sensitive topics such as battling demons when you return from the war zone. It is truly heartbreaking and this book may help others ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Our reality was much harsher than that fairytale my imagination dreamed up.

What a debut! I love reading stories where the romance doesn’t come easy—where healing isn’t easy. Harloe Rae takes a tortured hero and gives him demons that threaten to consume him and those he cares about. It’s gritty and dirty and everything I live for in romance. Redefining Us is a story you don’t want to miss.

Xander Dixon returns from overseas a broken man. He’s closeted himself in a dilapidated cottage in the woods
Books Laid Bare
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars
As debut novels go I would have too say that Harloe Rae has a beauty on her hands, this was a fabulous read.
I thought she pitched the timber of the book just right, she showed just how hard and harsh life can really be.
Xander is back on home soil but he isn’t the man that he was before he left, he carries a whole new set of demons with him now and in a bid to protect not just himself but those that he loves, he makes the decision to isolate himself. Taking up residence in a rundown cot
Whoo Gives A Hoot
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
* Read more of my reviews at Whoo Gives A Hoot *
I generously received this ARC from the in exchange for an honest review…

What an extraordinary start to a very promising writing career that is sure to come!

I am going to start off my saying that this book will give you all the feels and if you don't like that then this might not be the book for you. However, who doesn't like a story that makes them laugh, cry and leave them on the edge of their seats all at the same time? No one. That is who! Th
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh gosh!!! Normally when I read about a new author or any book I always have my mind on the male character. But this time it was so different, Willow took my heart as a strong person.
Xander made his decision and went for a year mission, things went wrong and he disappeared for 3 years.
The day that he left, Willow tried to tell to her best friend that she was in love with him, she didn't want to ruin their friendship or that's what she thought.
Three years later, without knowing about him at all,
Cj Loves Books
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the struggles our Service Men and Women face day in and day out, when returning from the Harsh Realities of War, is PTSD and other Depression disorders. They don't often feel that there is a place they can turn to. Most of the time, our loved ones do not want to feel like a burden to us, therefore they hold all of their struggles inside.

Harloe Rae does an eloquent job of portraying the internal struggle our Veterans face on a daily basis. The harsh reality of war is that it isn't glamoro
Erika PBookHavenBookBlog
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars for an Amazing Debut!!!

"I need him to understand that I don’t see the damage when my gaze feasts on his glorious form. He could never be a monster to me, no matter what horrible poison fills his head."

Willow and friends since forever, never told each other how they felt....Xander goes to war and comes back transformed. Insert this Authors beautifully written account of Willow's attempt to find the boy she loves underneath an enormous amount of pain and trauma. Filled with
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an amazing debut novel! When I read this blurb I knew that I wanted to read this book and I was not disappointed. This book captured my heart my heart from the first knock on Xander's door. I thought this was just going to be a friends to lovers romance, but this book is so much more.

Xander is home after his time overseas and he is barely surviving from severe PTSD. He has exiled himself to the middle of nowhere to be alone in his daily torment. Willow finds herself knocking on his doo
Margie's Must Reads
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was not expecting the emotional journey this book put me through. It was so visceral, raw and real. To think men and women face demons like this everyday is heartbreaking. Xander and Willow had their childhood to connect them, a friendship that had taken shape since before the darkness came and took over Xander's life. Willow was so strong and compassionate, she just wanted him to feel whole again. Their fight to be with one another, their struggles and their pain had me in tears in some place ...more
Rockin' Rita Mishkin
Great book! This is my first venture into the world of true "new adult" books. The plot is phenomenal and got me through the (IMO) intense sex scenes. Rae really took the time to not just develop her characters but to develop their relationship. If the sex scenes were just a little less graphic (again, just my opinion) I'd have rated 5 stars. It's a solid 4.5/5 for me. I really enjoyed it a can't wait to read Forget You Not her sophomore effort!

Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart; intense; PT
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cheese and rice! I totally fell in love with these characters! Harloe does an amazing job at making us connect to X and letting us know just how truly broken he is. I love the relationship between willow and X. They were best friends and in the end they finally found their way to each other. I am a sucker for happy endings! An amazing job for a debut book, and I can not wait to see what Harloe does next!!!
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Redefining Us is an emotional ride. I loved this book. Willow and Xander were such strong characters. I loved them so much. Willow has such a kind heart and she is there for Xander as he battles his demons.
If I could recommend one book this year, this would be it!
Janet Welling
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really, really bad. Just bad.

This is probably one of the worst books I have read in a while. While the premise of the story is a good one, the execution is sorely lacking. The writing is choppy and very amateurish. One moment Xander is suffering from a severe anxiety attack caused by PTSD and the next is he thinking about Willow naked. Same thing for Willow. She is supposed to be a counsellor and yet all she is worrying about is how hot Xander looks while chopping wood and how she can get him n
Cynthia Rollins
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a 10 star book!! I was given an Arc to read and I'm so glad I got to read this book. I was drawn in from beginning to end. Willow and Xander are childhood best friends that share everything, well almost everything, but when Xander leaves and joins the service promising to keep in touch with his best friend, it doesn't happen. Three years go by and Willow hears nothing she believes she's lost him forever. When she finds out he's back she goes to see her best friend but he's not the Xander ...more
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Harloe Rae is a USA Today & Amazon Top 10 bestselling author. Her passion for writing and reading has taken on a whole new meaning. Each day is an unforgettable adventure.

Harloe is a Minnesota gal with a serious addiction to romance. She’s always chasing an epic happily ever after. When she’s not buried in the writing cave, Harloe can be found hanging with her hubby and son. If the weather per

Other books in the series

Reclusive (2 books)
  • Forget You Not (Reclusive, #2)