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The Debt #1

Lost Without You

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ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID

Tommy

Seven years ago, I thought I could save Beth, the girl I loved from the monster who was supposed to take care of us. I thought I could keep Beth and all the other kids at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles safe.

I failed. Badly. Now we all have blood on our hands and owe a dangerous man a very dangerous debt. We don’t know when he’ll come calling for payment, but when he does – we pay, or we suffer.

When my turn comes, I’m ready for anything.

Except seeing Beth again.

LOVE IS NEVER FREE

Beth

No one ever tells you that the cost of having your dreams come true is literally every single other part of your life. Yes, I’m a huge pop star these days, but I’m pretty much a mess, too.

I’ve spent my life hiding behind disguises, make-up and costumes, all to protect myself from the kind of pain that comes from revealing your true self to someone.

I did that once. With Tommy. The only person I ever loved. It didn’t turn out so well.

And now, with everything else falling apart around me, I’m suddenly in the backseat of his car.

Being kidnapped.

And the past we’ve both tried to run from is catching up with us.

Contains The Debt: A Prologue and 50,000 more words in the continuation of Tommy and Beth's story.

262 pages, ebook

First published June 19, 2017

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About the author

Molly O'Keefe

102 books2,084 followers
Molly O'Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn't looked back. She loves exploring every character's road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she's not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 168 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
1,987 reviews11.7k followers
June 18, 2017
4 STARS
I wanted everything we never did. Everything I’d dreamed of. Everything I didn’t even know to dream about.


Molly O'Keefe is the queen of broken characters. She weaves incredibly poignant stories that never fail to hit you right in the feels and stay with you. She creates these beautifully broken characters that somehow burrow their way into your heart and you'll find yourself thinking about them long after finishing the book. Lost Without You was just another reason why I've been obsessed with everything this author writes. It was emotional with just an edge of dark, full of feeling, and a book that you'll read with a resounding feeling of dread as you wait for the other show to drop.
She was tourmaline and I was fucking concrete. But she always had been. And I’d always known it.

Seven years ago, Beth and Tommy were each other's salvation in one the darkest parts of their childhood. An innocent, young love forged at a time when they needed each other the most. But then one night change the course of all their lives. A choice was made and a debt must be paid.
I tightened. I clenched. I became hard and solid and impenetrable. I made myself my own armor. And it hurt. And it ached. But it kept me safe.


In the present, Tommy is no longer the skinny starved boy he used to be. He's reserved, closed off, and just as broken as he once was, if not more. But he's grown into his body and can now stand his own. When the debt he owes finally comes calling, he finds himself facing a memory he's spent the last seven years trying to forget; Beth, his Beth, but no longer the Beth that he knew.

Seven years has changed a lot for Beth. Now a famous pop star, Beth hides the girl she used to be behind a veil of fake armor and makeup. When faced with a blast from her past and the boy that she never got over, she finds herself chipping away at her own armor for the mere chance to get lost in him one last time.
We kissed like we were dying. Like an antidote for pain was in each other’s mouths. We kissed like it was the first time and the last time all at once.


But fate is not on their side, and circumstances are dire. Giving into feelings of the past can cost them both everything and for Tommy, it just might.

Lost Without You is no light read. It's full of emotion and an undercurrent of grit. Both Beth and Tommy are broken characters. Life has dealt them different cards, but certainly not easy ones. I ached for these two and everything they've been through and continue to go through. Don't expect much happy to be found in this book, though. As the first in the duet, O'Keefe lays the groundwork for what will certainly prove to be one satisfying HEA (or so I hope). You really get to the depths of these characters and see the hell that they've lived through. And while Tommy's secrets are flayed open, Beth continues to be a bit of a mystery.

Consider me hooked, because I can't wait to get my hands on the next book to see how everything gets resolved. You get a whammy of a cliff hanger at the end, but luckily the wait for book two isn't too long.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰ .
2,121 reviews1,175 followers
June 19, 2017
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Beth and Tommy are 16. At school they are happy and falling in love with each other. But their home-life is horrible! They live in a foster home. For juvenile criminals. We don't yet know what they did to end up there, but whatever it was, they don't deserve the things that happen there!
The pastor foster-father and his wife beat and molest the kids! And they starve them and lock them into their rooms at night!
And one night the kids just can't take it anymore.
We don't exactly know how and who, but the pastor ends up dead for raping Beth .... and Tommy, Simon and Carissa end up in jail.
Only that's not where they're staying for the rest of their lives. They made a deal with this guy Bates.
He gets them out of the murder charges and they'll owe him a debt.
And one day the debt has to be paid. No matter what, where, who, how.
Fast forward seven years.
Tommy is working construction. Simon is a award-winning journalist. Beth has disappeared and Carissa is now working for that criminal ....

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO BETH & TOMMY & THE REST?
WILL THERE BE A HEA?
READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT!!!! ☺
But of course we might have a tiny little cliffy - which is not too bad - book #2 will be out next week ☺

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Phew. That was some book!

Of course you immediately think of that movie ... remember?
And yes, it's a bit like that.
But not really .... it's such a great story.
It starts as this heartbreakingly sad but also adorable young adult thing and we immediately fall in love with Tommy and Beth and we only want the best for them.

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Ugh. It was so moving and heartbreaking and sad.
You hope all through the book that there will be a tiny chance for a HEA in there somewhere. But it's not looking too good ... All those people against us. The drugs. The bad guys. Music business. The pain of the past.
Of course this is only book #1 - so we'll keep on hoping!☺
I loved it.
It was super exciting and suspensy and heartbreakingly sad and adorable and sexy and ugh. I can't wait to see how this story will end!!!
HURRY JUNE 26th!!! ☺

LOST WITHOUT YOU was such a heartbreakingly moving story! About two kids who had a horrible childhood, and how they're fighting for their place in life and love!
Hurry to your nearest amazon for your own Tommy - this one is MINE!!!

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Smokin Hot Book Blog Email
Profile Image for Nalla Reads.
316 reviews22 followers
June 19, 2017
Originally posted on NallaReads

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Molly O'Keefe truly writes some of the grittiest and darkest romances ever... and I LOVE THEM!

Tommy and Beth have endured a past that no child ever should; one that is unspeakable. So when the time comes for them to escape their abusers, alongside the other children at St. Jude's, their decision takes them down a road with harrowing consequences. Beth has now disappeared and Tommy has to decide: take the fall or owe a debt to the baddest man in town? And you'll never know when he'll come calling.

Fast forward to adulthood and Tommy has become a quiet yet formidable man. He works himself hard in order to chase away the demons from his past. But the memories of Beth constantly haunt him to this day. When his debt is called he has no choice but to go as the deal is sweetened by the one thing he has always wanted: to find Beth.

Little does Tommy know that his choice will lead him closer to her than he thought and now he has another decision to make. Does he save Beth from her own past and subject them to a life on the run? Or does he finally close the door on the ghost that's plagued him for years?

The chemistry between Beth and Tommy is palpable and flammable. Having these two get stuck in a room together results in some down right steamy and memory-weighted moments that will have you catching your breath. Add in the fact that this story also challenges your moral compass! Does he stay? Does he go? Should they be together? Should he try to save her? Can she save herself? The suspense is like no other! With an ending sure to leave you begging for more...I know I'm definitely on the edge of my seat for Part 2!!

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Profile Image for SueBee★bring me an alpha!★.
2,417 reviews13.8k followers
Want to read
November 6, 2017
 photo FreeOrxBbysb_zps0163628c.gif

📚 📌 FREE on Amazon US today (11/5/2017) 📌 📚

Book 1 in duet.
FREE: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Without-D...
BLURB:
ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID
Tommy
Seven years ago, I thought I could save Beth, the girl I loved from the monster who was supposed to take care of us. I thought I could keep Beth and all the other kids at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles safe.
I failed. Badly. Now we all have blood on our hands and owe a dangerous man a very dangerous debt. We don’t know when he’ll come calling for payment, but when he does – we pay, or we suffer.
When my turn comes, I’m ready for anything.
Except seeing Beth again.
LOVE IS NEVER FREE
Beth
No one ever tells you that the cost of having your dreams come true is literally every single other part of your life. Yes, I’m a huge pop star these days, but I’m pretty much a mess, too.
I’ve spent my life hiding behind disguises, make-up and costumes, all to protect myself from the kind of pain that comes from revealing your true self to someone.
I did that once. With Tommy. The only person I ever loved. It didn’t turn out so well.
And now, with everything else falling apart around me, I’m suddenly in the backseat of his car.
Being kidnapped.
And the past we’ve both tried to run from is catching up with us.


FREEBIES are often good for MORE than one day. I have gathered all my FREEBIES on a special shelf: Kindle-freebies (currently over 700 books)
https://www.goodreads.com/review/list...
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,341 reviews4,597 followers
June 17, 2017
3.75 Stars

Review to come

**ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,265 reviews2,272 followers
June 12, 2017
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descriptionThis is an OK cover. Good composition. Interesting title work. OK representation of the couple.description

description If I plan on continuing with this series I am going to need to stock up on some happy pills or book some therapy appointments because this story is depressing as hell.

Seven years after the incident at St. Jude's it's time for Tommy to pay his debt. Left with some vague instructions to pick up and make a delivery, Tommy never expects to find himself face to face with Beth again. Except now Beth is known as Jada a world famous pop star.

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I am not quite sure what to say about this one. On one hand, I am extremely intrigued to see where the author is going with this one. It is well written and nicely paced. The plot is interesting and unique. On the other hand, everything is just so...SAD all the time. I thought once Tommy and Beth meet up again we would at least get some joy at seeing each other again. But lord almighty could these two be any more melancholy? Notably, Tommy, you could almost feel this guy's physical pain at being close to Beth again. I'll be honest I struggled to understand his reaction.

In any case, the author has laid the groundwork for some interesting twists and turns. What is up with Beth's mom? Is Clarissa working for Bates? Who is Bates? Why is Rosa in prison? How will Sabastian have to pay back his debt? And finally will Tommy and Beth ever get an HEA? This one ends on a HUGE cliffy, so we will have to wait to find out.description

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Profile Image for  Linathebookaddict  .
1,337 reviews369 followers
June 25, 2017
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Title: Lost Without You (Includes the free prequel, The Debt)
Author: Molly O'Keefe
Category: Dark Romance
Series or Standalone: Series, Book #1
POV: Dual PoV, First Person
Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Scorching Level: 5
HEA: Not telling


I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I love Molly O'Keefe so, I was thrilled when I saw she was writing another series.
This is quite different from her previous work and probably one of my favorite books of hers.
We meet Tommy and Beth. They are teenagers living in a foster home with three other teens, trying to survive under the cruel roof of the Pastor. Their lives in that house are hell and one night everything comes crushing down.
They will survive. Some will loose each other and some others will come closer...but at what cost?
Now Tommy owes a debt and the time has come to repay it.
But what happens when his past collides with his present? In order to be free of the debt, he now has a mission to accomplish. A mission that is so far removed from his work as a stone mason.
Will he make it or will be forever hunted?
As always, the author creates great settings and characters that draw you in. I was captivated by this dark/gray tale of survival, friendship and passion.
Chemistry sizzles, danger lurks and the author certainly has me salivating for the next book.
I totally recommend this book. One of my favorite summer reads so far!



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Profile Image for Elizabeth (Liz).
608 reviews393 followers
June 18, 2017
4 Stars

Note: For a full synopsis, read the book summary. These are my thoughts on what I read.

Over the last few years, I've become quite a fan of Molly O'Keefe writing as M. O'Keefe. Her stories have, more often than not, a memorable combination of grit and edge. Not so much that it bogs down the story or makes it dark (though, I am a dark romance fan, so no disrespect intended to that sub-genre), but enough that it leaves me, at least, more emotionally invested in the characters and the outcome. As a personal note to the author, should you choose, at some point, to delve even deeper into the grit and edge, Ms. O'Keefe, I'm volunteering here and now to read the hell out of THAT book!

The other thing I love about this author is the way in which she builds and maintains chemistry and fire-hot tension between the characters. From my perspective as a reader, the ability to craft that kind of chemistry and tension is not equal among all authors. Though, to be fair, I will say, this is an area which is very personal and subjective to each individual. What does it for one person, doesn't necessarily do it for another. For me, the mix of emotional foundation with (I'm a broken record, I know) the grit and edge I talked about before...well, it just works for me. In a big ol' way, lol.

Lost Without You had all of the above.

The common backstory of this new group of characters, of which Tommy and Beth are the current focus, is sad but very compelling. Obviously, there is more to be revealed as each character gets his or her own book (I hope!). As Lost Without You will be very closely followed by Where I Belong, which is the second half of Tommy and Beth's story, I expect and hope (!) that we will get more answers and revelations about Tommy and Beth. I don't feel like I have the complete picture of how their past impacted both of them individually. Most especially as it relates to the reasons for Tommy's choice in his personal life (trying not to spoil). So, I need more. I need an explanation, or a better one anyway. Because that part doesn't ring true for me yet.

I'm really looking forward to Where I Belong, and I'm very relieved that it releases so soon after Lost Without You! I'm sure it will be the perfect conclusion to Tommy and Beth's story.


Lost Without You - Available June 19, 2017
Where I Belong - Available June 26, 2017

Profile Image for Antonella.
3,096 reviews418 followers
April 30, 2020
I am curious about other books in this series...
this one had all the ingredients that I usually enjoy
* dark & gritty storyline
* relatable & flawed characters
* emotions
* connection with side characters, that I want to read about them
but...I think the execution could be better...
something is off...

as I said I want to read more..this is new to me author!!
3,5
Profile Image for Elaine.
140 reviews6 followers
July 6, 2017
Didn't like both H and h. Safe, but didn't like them
June 9, 2017

4.5 "Unpaid Debts" Stars!

Molly O'Keefe is one of those authors I always jump on the chance to read a new release. She's got the innate ability to mix a lot of story with emotion and a gradual build up of steam. Lost Without You is the newest in The Debt series. The first book, The Debt, is essentially the prologue to this book.

All debts must be paid.

This series revolves around the now-grown kids of St Jude's foster care home for juveniles. Don't let the name fool you- anything but holy things went on at St Jude's. Now grown, all the residents have moved on in life- some more than others, but there's a debt to be paid at some point for their freedom. It's just a question of when that debt will be asked to be repaid...


Tommy and Beth always had a connection back in those days. Hidden romance under the watchful eye of The Pastor. Long since separated, events put these two together again- Tommy's debt to be paid- deliver Beth from here to there. Can he simply get the job done and move on in his life or will past attractions, feelings, get in the way?

"We're not a fairy tale."

Suspenseful, emotional, and steamy all rolled in one. Lost Without You kept me riveted to my kindle and now I'm feverishly anticipating the next installment, Where I Belong. Lost Without You ends in a cliffhanger that'll leave you begging for more Tommy and Beth.




Advanced copy received by author in exchange for my honest review.


Profile Image for Francoise.
752 reviews31 followers
June 19, 2017
3.5 Stars

This story was dark and gripping, Molly O’Keefe weaves layers upon layers of mystery in this romantic suspense. Tommy, Beth and Simon are foster kids. All of them have been in some kind of trouble before entering the foster care system. They have not been lucky, though, their foster home is a dangerous place, led by a devious and abusive couple.

Tommy and Beth are friends. Tommy is the person who takes care of everyone. With him, Beth feels safe and it’s a unique feeling for her. But one night, they fight back and everything changes. Tommy is forced to make a deal with the devil to avoid jail for murder. The devil in question came in and made the murder charges go away.

For years, Tommy has managed to stay out of trouble. This character is lonely, living with his dog. He has been waiting for the other shoe to drop, until he is contacted to pay his debt. He remains steadfast in his refusal to hurt anyone to pay for his freedom. To carry out his mission, he has to kidnap a world famous rock star, drop her in rehab and never look back. But things start to go south, because he simply can’t walk away from the person he has kidnapped. He is more confused than he has ever been in his life, and so was I…

This story had a general atmosphere of deceit, sadness and secrets that makes it unique. It is told in dual POV, providing an insight into the characters’ personality. I found that the writing style of Molly O’Keefe was addictive, but the plot was rather depressing. This book ends with a cliffhanger and we are left with many questions unanswered! But no worries, because the second part of Tommy and Beth’s story will be released soon.

An advanced copy was provided by the author.
Profile Image for Claire Louise¤°.¸¸.•´¯`».
1,000 reviews66 followers
July 7, 2017
As I was reading and getting closer and closer to the end, only a few pages left, I kept thinking how this story was going to be wrapped up because it didn't feel even half way finished at all...

of course not, because it was to be continued... grrrrr...

So anyway, it was enjoyable. At this point I like Tommy more than I like Jada/Beth. This woman is effed up. That opening scene with the orgies and the drugs and the shady doctor was a great setting.

And where the heck was Bates? I needed me some bad guy vibes and Beth's mom was just doing cutting it for me.

I'll read the next one, but I'll admit I was a little disappointed with this one after the great intro prequel of how these people started out.

Pest the dog was super cute though.
Profile Image for Aoi.
767 reviews73 followers
August 6, 2017
The plot is angsty enough, but I felt weirdly removed from any emotion.

And oh, recovering from a drug addiction includes dealing with crazy rollercoaster withdrawal symptoms, and takes professional help. NOT like a wild Saturday night's hangover
Profile Image for Carol (bookish_notes).
1,284 reviews110 followers
Read
May 6, 2021
Update Dec. 30, 2020: I can no longer recommend this author’s books in good conscience. See my review for One Last Chance for a more detailed breakdown. This author used to be an autobuy author for me, but I’m done.

Initial reaction:

Basically dead from feels. Not so low-key FREAKING OUT BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. I don't even read that much m/f romance because awful alpha male tropes and such, but this book (and almost all I've read from this author) has none of that and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

This book ends with a cliffhanger but at least book two comes out on Monday (the 26th) because I can't handle the wait. *dead until I get my hands on book two* Do I need to review this? FINE. Full review will be posted soon since I need something to do while I wait.

Full Review:

*makes a strangled screaming noise* A cliffhanger. This ended in a cliffhanger, y'all. I mean, this book and the sequel are only being published a week apart, but I'm DYING for book two already and at the time of this writing...that's a day away. Everyone needs to go read this. Like, immediately. This book is so good that I feel like I cannot possibly put all my feelings into words? But I will try. This story contains both The Debt prequel novella and the continuation of Tommy and Beth's story. And my god, is this book killer. It's not necessary to read before diving into this book, but this story does contain characters who were in the Bad Boy Romance series (starting first with Bad Neighbor, and then Baby, Come Back).

But Tommy never told me what he wished, and I knew I was part of whatever it was. Just like he was part of all my wishes that I could never say out loud.


The beginning of this book starts off with the characters in their teen years. Is this book YA? The beginning (the prequel) definitely could be, but the last bit of this book certainly is not. So, be warned? We have a diverse cast of characters who are foster children living at St. Jude's Home for Court-Placed Juveniles.  This group of teens are Beth, Tommy, Simon, Carissa, and Rosa. St. Jude's, also known to the characters as St. Joke's, is an awful place where the teens have learned to communicate in near silence and hidden notes, and look the other way when The Pastor and the Wife decide to punish one of them for doing something they don't like.

The dream was Beth. The dream was always Beth.


Tommy and Beth are everything to each other. In love as teenagers and the one thing keeping each other afloat in the messed up situation they've both landed in. Everything falls apart when The Pastor decides to not punish Tommy, but instead punishes Beth for making out in the school art classroom. That is when all the teens decide to put a stop to the silence and save Beth. But at a cost, because everything comes with a cost. A man named Bates offers the teenagers a deal to walk away, with the promise that he will come to collect one day and they have to do whatever he wants them to do, no questions asked. Almost guaranteed to be something illegal, but the only other alternative they face is jail. So, the teens take the deal and walk away.

Until seven years later when the debt comes due.

Seven years and they've all gone their separate ways. Beth has disappeared into the wind. Something happened to Rosa since St. Jude's, and whatever happened we don't really know the answer, but it was definitely nothing good. Carissa seems to be working for the wrong sort of people, but we still don't know why. Simon and Tommy have stayed friends and Simon has done really good for himself. And Tommy? Tommy had it rough and tried to forget his time at St. Jude's working as a construction worker, but when he's approached with an envelope for him to repay his debt to Bates, he can't say no.

That was the trap he'd laid for me. Why he knew I'd make good on my promise. Because I'd loved this girl once. And failing her was my great regret.


I've read Molly O'Keefe's Everything I Left Unsaid and the Bad Boy Romance series, and this is probably my favorite. And I loved those other books. But there's something about Beth and Tommy that just breaks my heart into a million pieces. The author has a way of writing broken characters and placing them in pretty isolated situations. And when it comes to death? Killing off characters (not the love interests, because this is still romance after all) is no problem at all. This is dark and it is gritty and raw.

We get the story from two first-person POVs - Beth's and Tommy's. Tommy is not a bad-boy alpha male character. He is a cinnamon roll who deserves to eat and be happy, and just deserves puppies and rainbows. Okay, he's kind of getting there, because he does have a precious little dog he named "Pest" who follows him around and looks like a mix between a rat and a squirrel and loves eating burgers. IT'S BASICALLY THE MOST ADORABLE RELATIONSHIP EVER (and I swear I will be most upset if the dog dies because I will not be having it). It's been seven years and he still longs for the one person he feels like he doesn't deserve because he wants her to have the world  - Beth.

I'd felt, all those years ago, as if I was a post and she was some beautiful bougainvillea - not the purple one but the orange one, the one you rarely saw. I gave her a place to grow, and she made me beautiful.


Beth has become a pop sensation. She's literally exploded into stardom overnight, but manages to be unrecognizable on stage because she uses elaborate makeup and costumes to hide her true identify. She goes by a new name these days, like an piece of armor she can hide behind. She hasn't fared so well after her days at St. Jude's. She's taking self-medication from a deadly cocktail of drugs just to perform, and this is how Tommy finds her. And kidnaps her.

I think it's hardly a kidnapping though when the kidnapper is a mushy cinnamon roll and has taken his small dorky dog along with him. And also offers up his cell phone so Beth can call the cops on him. The least effective kidnapper ever, basically. This book is a lot of self-reflection and the characters trying to outrun their past, but finding out that the past is catching up with them no matter how much they try to avoid it.

Our complicated future was nothing compared to our complicated past.


Some really awesome things about this book that I think deserves to be pointed out (and really has nothing to do with the story, but I loved the author did this) is the fact that we get characters who aren't described as simply being ambiguously "Asian". It is point-blank stated that Carissa is half-Chinese and another character is Filipino. We also get details that Simon had an immigrant Pakistani father. There's no awkward prompting for this information. It's just there and the story moves on. There's also no judgement at all from Beth when she asks Tommy during their seven years apart whether he's been with other girls or boys. It's a minor thing, but this speaks volumes that it's totally fine Tommy might not have just been into girls, but could've found love with a guy. And this just warms my heart SO MUCH. Tommy even answers, with no hestiation, that there hasn't been any other boys or girls in his life. I had to legit pause my reading and take a few seconds to bask in this awesomeness because I was so, so happy to read this. <333

I loved this book a lot. You guys know I'm really iffy on reading m/f romances, but this is an amazing book by a fantastic author. Tommy absolutely worships Beth and whenever she gives the hint that she might be uncomfortable with something, or when she says "stop", he backs off IMMEDIATELY. Tommy and Beth are so precious and I need them to find their happy ending. I want all these characters, Tommy, Beth, Simon, Carissa, and Rosa, to find their happy endings. In a really messed up way, I kinda want Bates to find a happy ending too. Anyways, this book is all the feels and you won't regret reading this book. I absolutely cannot wait to read book two, Where I Belong!!!

"We're not a fairy tale," I said, and he nodded, his face all folded up, like his thoughts were put away. "I used to think we were."

"So did I," he said and that was a comfort, at least. We'd felt the same way for a while there. And that had enough sweetness in it to last a while.
Profile Image for Suz.
264 reviews6 followers
June 14, 2017
This book takes place 7 years after the Debt. Tommy is sitting in a bar in San Fran, with his dog Pest (a service animal!). He has been living there, working as a stone mason. Simon is now a big time journalist. Rosa, another kid from the home, is in prison (we don't know why yet). While Tommy is waiting for his dinner, in walks a sharp dressed woman who obviously spooks the bartender Lucy. Lucy makes the new arrival a drink and then the new arrival asks Lucy to make herself scarce. Tommy thinks all this is very strange. And then when the woman addresses him by name, he knows for sure that something is up. It turns out this is Carissa from the group home and she now works for Bates. Bates has sent her with an assignment to collect on the debt. Tommy asks what happens if he doesn't do it. There had been a cop killing... Carissa sends a quick text and in walk two cops. Tommy gets the idea and agrees to do what ever the assignment is. Carissa hints that it involves Beth, his love from the group home.

He gets home and sees a shiny BMW in front of his apartment - weird again. He opens the envelope Carissa gave him. New license, ID as a limo driver and a key fob to said BMW. Two addresses - one in Santa Barbara and one in Arizona. Seems simple and he isn't sure how Beth is involved. He grabs Pest, gets in the car and starts driving.

When he gets to Santa Barbara, it is a big old party. Booze and drugs and sex and rock and roll. He keeps asking for Beth. People keep giving him weird looks and telling him Beth got fired. He finally finds Beth.. but it isn't his Beth. Turns out Beth is the personal assistant to a pop star who just had a major meltdown on stage the night before. The pop star in question always wore costumes and wigs and heavy makeup so no one knew what she really looked liked. Her name was Jada. And Jada was in the process of getting an injection of some sort by her personal physician. When Tommy saw Jada's face, he nearly fell over - it was 'his' Beth! And knew this scene couldn't be good. Beth, the fired PA, was threatening to call the cops as she knew that whatever the doctor was injecting was more harm that good. Tommy picked up Jada/Beth, threw her in the back of the car and started driving.

As the drove thru the night, Jada mostly slept. At first, she didn't recognized Tommy as she was still out of it from the drugs. But as she became more aware, she realized who he was. She wanted to talk; he didn't. He saw no point as nothing could come of this. Then she started going into withdrawal and that was not good. They finally got to the destination in Flagstaff - a rehab facility. Tommy breathed a sign of relief. He knew Beth needed this based on her withdrawal symptoms in the car. As they pulled in the driveway, a black woman in a suit came out of the door with a smug look on her face. As she started to approach the car, Jada/Beth started screaming at Tommy to get them out of there - that was her mother.

In the Debt prologue, we never knew the scoop on Beth's mom but there was something creepy there - why did Beth end up at St Jude's when she had a parent, and a parent who is a doctor at that? and the night it all went down with the Pastor, Beth's mom showed up at the hospital when Beth was taken from St. Jude's. And here she is again. Beth is clearly terrified of her mom. We still don't know why...

Tommy obeys Beth and pulls away. He find them a motel to wait it out. He is a recovered addict. He knows how Simon got him over his addiction and plans to do the same for Jada. He finds them a motel off the beaten track to wait it out. He gets rid of the BMW and gets a nice Ford pickup, like the one he has back home. He gets food, some clothing including cute funny socks and now they wait.

Jada sleeps it off. Tommy gives her water, Gatorade and slices of oranges when she wakes up. When she finally comes to, she takes a long shower. Post shower, Beth convinces him to go to sleep - he is exhausted from taking care of her. While he sleeps, she goes out to get some better food (she remembers he loved Doritos and baby carrots - the Pastor and his Wife didn't feed Tommy much and those were things he loved from her lunches) as well as some makeup and McDonalds.

He wakes up and finds her gone. And assumes the worst. Of course she is gone. She is a huge pop star - why would she stay with a stone mason? She has a life to get back to. But when he opens the door of the motel room and sees the truck pulling back in. He decides then and there that he is not going to waste their time together. That they are going to finish what they started in the art room. Things get hot and heavy pretty quickly but they don't have a condom so ....

Beth starts talking about wishes, like she did when they were kids in HS and that was always hard for Tommy. Because to his way of thinking, kids like them don't get wishes... but he lets Beth talk about her wishes and how they might have met again after 7 years apart. It was very sweet.

Tommy went out to get more food (and some condoms). When he came back, they both decided that this would be it. They would have sex, get it out of their systems, Tommy would drive Beth back to LA and they would never see each other again. And while they were having sex, Tommy let it slip that he was a virgin. Which Beth didn't want to let go... how could someone so handsome, so kind, so hot still be a virgin. And Tommy, being Tommy, didn't want to talk about.

The next morning, after copious amounts of sex, Beth woke up to a cleaned room with everything packed up. Tommy was ready to take her back to her life. When she asked him what he was going do (because she recognized he hadn't paid his debt), he said he would figure that out once he dropped her off at her apartment in LA.

They drove for awhile and stopped at a truck stop between Arizona and California. Beth went to get food and Tommy got gas. While Beth was in the restaurant, she noticed people looking at her which was weird. Given all the makeup she wore, no one knew what she looked like for real. But on all the TVs, it was her mom telling about how she had been kidnapped with pics of her at McDonald's from the day before and a picture of Tommy shopping for clothes, including cute funny socks. She hightailed it outta there...

Tommy got gas and then went to the men's room. When he got done with his business, there were two guys blocking the door. One of them was Sammy (who we met in Baby Come Back - and Sammy was putting on his gloves which is NOT good) and Sammy said he had message from "Mr. Bates."

OMG!!!

we know how Tommy ended up in foster care but we still don't know why Beth did.... and why is Rosa in jail? will learn that in the next book? and how did Beth's mom end up working with Bates? why is Carissa working with Bates? and who really killed the Pastor?

I know that all will be revealed in Where I Belong - Molly is a great author and doesn't leave things hanging. She is like JK Rowling... she puts something casually in book 1 that really means a lot in book 3. And I loved the Harry Potter references that Jada/Beth made in this book!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,805 reviews476 followers
June 19, 2017
Originally posted at SmexyBooks-http://smexybooks.com/2017/06/review-...

Favorite Quote: “It’s time to pay your debt.”

Lost Without You picks up seven years after the events in the prequel, The Debt. If you haven’t read The Debt, no worries, it makes up the first half of this story. Fans who did read it will remember that Tommy did everything he could to keep his friends safe at the St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles and when he failed to do so, Tommy and the group finds themselves in debt to a very dangerous man Given the chance to escape the home and the system, the group splits and they all go their separate ways.

Seven years have passed since that awful night and besides Simon, Tommy hasn’t stayed in contact with the others in the group and that suits him just fine. The years haven’t been easy but he survived against the odds. When Clarissa is the one to contact and tell him the time has come to pay his debt, he is wary but relieved the wait is finally over. He is told he has 24 hours to secure a package and deliver to a specific address or suffer the consequences. When he arrives at the specified pick up, he is shocked to discover the package is his first and only love-Beth.

After all these years…Beth.

Beth aka Jada is a pop star whose meteoric rise to fame has left her lost and broken. The events of the past are never far from her thoughts and often fuel her bad decisions. Though we never learned exactly what landed her in St. Jude’s, the clues in here hint at greed, betrayal, and abuse. The endless parties and drugs are wearing on Beth, evident by the fact that her last half of her tour was canceled and she has come home to “recuperate.” When she wakes up in the back of a car with no memory of how she got there or why she sees Tommy and is shocked by how much she’s missed him…and still loves him. Realizing that she is being kidnapped by him and delivered somewhere against her will, Beth uses her memories of their past to try and reawaken Tommy’s feelings for her and get him on her side.

“I remember the time you put your hand up my skirt-”

“Jada-”

“Remember? You pushed me up against the wall and you held my hand down on the counter-”

“Stop.”

“Was that the same time or two times?” I knew, of course, I knew; it was two separate and amazing times. I was just trying to get under his skin. “I can’t remember. I’ve made up so many fucking fantasies about that art room. I’ve come thinking about-”



Lost Without You is an emotional road trip filled with sorrow, hope, regret, and redemption. The focus is on two people whose lives are still somewhat controlled by their shared past. O’Keefe doesn’t hold back as she divulges into this couple’s lives and shares their most intimate thoughts and deeds with us. Drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, self-harm… nothing is sacred. Well written with a strong narrative and a deliciously serpentine plotline, O’Keefe plays some of her cards close to the vest while tossing out others to placate the house.

Beth (Jada) and Tommy’s reunion is slow and bittersweet, showing just how much their lives have changed since they last saw each other. Tommy’s distress at seeing Beth again broke my heart as did Beth’s reaction when Tommy tells her he tried everything to forget her. Tommy and Beth are both chock full of guilt and for things that were out of their control. Tommy feels responsible for what he believes happened to Beth and for the debt they all incurred. Beth struggles with the guilt of her success, the abuse in the foster home, and the fact she was never able to find Tommy after that night.

I looked for his family. I’d tried to connect myself to every single part of him I could find. I’d thought I could fix things for him. Or something…And he’d been trying to forget me?

An intense and enlightening sexual reconnection blows the door of their suppressed feelings and lances old wounds, creating a catharsis that offers this couple hope that they may yet finally beat the odds stacked against them. A tense and informative climatic finale leaves readers in limbo with a rather traumatic cliffhanger and a slew of questions. Why did Rosa go to jail? Who exactly is Clarissa and what is her connection to Bates? Did Beth’s mom start all this? But never fear mes amies, we only have to wait one week for the release of book three-Where I Belong.

GRADE: B
June 3, 2017
In Lost Without You, Book 2 of the Debt series, Molly O'Keefe gives readers a dark and emotional story that is well-paced and original. The second part of this story picks up seven years after the lives of five teenagers were drastically altered on one fateful night.

I love the uniqueness of this series and the way the story is executed. The author writes emotional turmoil so well, pulling in the reader and making them feel for the characters. After reading the Prologue I honestly had no idea where the author would take the story. Tommy and Beth's lives have gone in drastically different directions, and they each handled the memories of their painful pasts in different ways. I loved that even though they were only 16 when they fell for each other, their connection was just as strong as ever when they reunited. The dialogue was as well-written as the intimate scenes, and I enjoyed the bits from the past that were written into the story.

The angst in this story was super high, and I am hoping that Tommy and Beth can push through the heavy weight of their pasts to find some sort of happiness with each other. There is still so much to Beth and Tommy that is yet to be uncovered, and I am so anxious to learn more about the rest of the group and how they handled the aftermath of the turmoil they suffered. Lost Without You ends on one heck of a cliffhanger, and I am so eager to get my hands on the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Becky Rendon.
3,366 reviews63 followers
June 16, 2017
I like to think that The Debt was a tease. I read it and it left me on edge and desperate for more. Clearly a tease!
So if The Debt was a tease, then Lost Without You is a girl in stripper attire grinding on your lap for three hours and then saying she has to go home...alone- without you. Do you get the difference? Even though I'm not a guy I get how "hard" it would be. The build up of tension, lust, the thoughts...expectations of something, anything happening. So lost in the cloud of lust that you don't realize what's happening in your head isn't necessarily a realistic follow through- That my friends is the best way to describe Lost Without You.

It's a whirlwind of emotion, a crazy situation, and then bam you are left alone wondering if it really happened. Not just wondering, but afraid of the truth. Afraid it did and afraid it didn't. Which one will help you sleep, which one will keep you warm?

In the end it doesn't matter because you are left all alone shaking your head. Trying to latch onto the idea that now you can only wait...

it's a wild and emotional ride. It feels like a rollercoaster. You are up down and twisted and just as you start to really enjoy it- it's over.

Watch your back. Guard your heart. But most of all, enjoy the ride.

Reviewed for Naughty Book Blog
Profile Image for Philomena Callan Cheekypee.
3,874 reviews396 followers
June 24, 2017
This book happens seven years after The Debt.

In The Debt we read of how Tommy meets his friends at St. Jude's Home for court placed juveniles. They find themselves in debt to a dangerous man when he saves them one night.

Seven years later they are leading their own lives when the Debt is called in.

I really enjoyed this story, being reacquainted with the characters and seeing what they've been up to.

So glad I have Where I Belong sitting on my kindle to jump into.
Profile Image for Jackie.
Author 8 books149 followers
June 26, 2017
Not the usual cup of O'Keefe tea. A serial romance, broken off at a suspenseful climactic moment, was annoying enough. But to have our main characters' love grounded in childhood trauma, and trauma of a rather over-the-top, soap-opera-ish, evil-others kind was doubly disappointing. The whole thing felt sketchy, underwritten, especially character-wise, the area where O'Keefe usually shines. This feels like O'Keefe trying to broaden her audience by writing with less depth.
Profile Image for Timitra.
1,244 reviews
June 7, 2017
Lost Without You gives insight into some the things that were alluded to in The Debt while leaving some unanswered, I for one can't wait to see how this all concludes especially with the way this book ended. I have a feeling the next book is going to be epic.



ARC provided by author in exchange for a honest review
Profile Image for Annika Martin.
Author 47 books2,895 followers
June 19, 2017
OMFG this book destroyed me! It's so dark and yummaliciously good, a tale of beautiful & damaged characters and lost love found. Destroyed me!
Profile Image for Em.
658 reviews4 followers
August 21, 2017
I gave this an A- at All About Romance.

Molly O’Keefe is an author who consistently writes original, moving, and frequently terrific romantic novels that stay with me long after I finish them. Pretty much everything she writes blows me away (although I’m not crazy about her MC stories), and somehow, without my noticing, she’s become one of my favorite writers. Her latest series, The Debt, is simply more proof as to why. From the Lost Without You prologue (which you can also download as a standalone), to its cliffhanger ending, this novel sucks you in and never lets you go. I read it from start to finish in one sitting, and though I HATED the ending (Ms. O’Keefe leaves quite a few plot threads unresolved for future books), this is a dark and supremely entertaining story.

Clarissa, Rosa, Simon, Tommy and Beth live at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles. We know a little bit about each – just enough to know that while their lives before St. Jude’s weren’t all that wonderful, life at St. Jude’s is worse. It’s hell. The Pastor and His Wife who run the home are monsters – abusive and sadistic – and the only freedom the five have is when they’re at high school. Tommy tries to keep the group safe and bears the resulting scars, but each day is a terrible struggle. Somehow, despite the misery of their lives, Tommy and Beth (the newest addition), discover happiness in each other. They steal away at lunchtime to be together in the Art Room, where they kiss and smile and love each other. Until they’re caught. That night, when Beth is singled out for punishment, Tommy snaps. Before the night is over, Tommy, Simon and Carissa find themselves accused of murder, Beth is taken away in an ambulance and Rosa is on the run. When a stranger, Blake, shows up and offers them freedom in exchange for a debt to be paid at a later date, they take it – knowing one day, somehow, the debt will be called in.

When Lost Without You picks up in Tommy’s PoV, seven years have passed. He and Simon stayed together, working odd jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment and enough food to survive, but Tommy has never forgotten Beth or stopped wondering what happened to her. Simon eventually got his GED and a full scholarship to UCLA; he’s now a journalist and is frequently out of the country. Tommy’s path was a more difficult one. Shortly after Simon left for school, he developed a drug addiction, but with Simon’s help, he got clean and has spent the time since working as a mason and living in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, not far from their first apartment. He failed to find Beth, and he can’t forget her – neither drugs nor work help, and she’s often on his mind.

While Tommy is at his neighbourhood bar one afternoon, a smartly dressed woman sits down next to him – and when he is able to get a good look at her, he sees that it’s Clarissa, the only person who spent more time at St. Jude’s than he did. The last time Tommy saw her she was walking out of the precinct covered in the Pastor’s blood. He’s happy to see her again, but it’s clear Clarissa isn’t in the bar to celebrate a reunion with Tommy – she knew he would be there. She has a message from Blake. Tommy’s debt is due.

Clarissa slides an envelope across the bar to him and refuses to answer questions about where she’s been, but makes it clear to Tommy what will happen if he refuses to honor the debt. He opens the envelope when he’s back in his apartment and discovers a key fob – which conveniently opens the fancy, out of place BMW he noticed parked at the entrance to his apartment building – a fake ID, and instructions for a pickup in Santa Barbara, CA, and drop-off in Arizona. He doesn’t know who or what he’s picking up/dropping off, but it’s clear from the drop-off time that he needs to get going. He packs a bag and his dog, shoots Simon a text and heads out. The drive provides ample time for him to wonder about Clarissa’s connection to Blake and whether his debt has something to do with Beth. He thinks he’s ready for anything… except seeing her. All too soon he arrives at the pickup address, a mansion in Santa Barbara where a party/orgy is underway. He bluffs his way inside, assuming he’ll know who he’s picking up when he sees…

So it’s super difficult to discuss Lost Without You without spoiling it. Early on – even in the bar – Ms. O’Keefe sprinkles clues about Beth (honestly, you really only need to read the blurb to guess who she is), but I’ll leave it for you to discover. From the moment Tommy leaves the party – package in tow – the story transitions from Tommy’s worry over the debt and what happened to Beth that fateful night, to a transformative meditation on the power of true love to transcend our darkest, scariest moments. Ms. O’Keefe focuses on their relationship, from those halcyon moments in the Art room when they could barely keep their hands to themselves, to the horrific night when they escaped St. Jude’s. Once they’re reunited (I’m not going to tell you how), they re-discover the intensity of their love and desire for each other, but the debt and their past history preclude them from imagining a future together. Every moment together is charged, and as you read their separate PoVs, it’s heartbreaking to realize how much they’ve suffered in each other’s absence, and how desperate they are for the scraps of affection they permit themselves. All that heat between them eventually combusts, but Ms. O’Keefe barely gives readers a chance to enjoy it before Tommy and Beth are pushing each other away. It’s painful, raw, and deeply moving. I believed in these two and I just wanted them to believe in each other. They do – but only deep in their secret hearts. Life has taught both Tommy and Beth the pain of revealing their true selves, and that fear keeps them apart.

Since I don’t want to give anything away, I’ll simply tell you Tommy and Beth end up on a sort of journey together, but this is no fun and flirty road trip romance. And for cliffhanger haters here’s a warning that there are many (OH SO MANY) mysteries and relationships left unresolved by the time the book concludes: Why was Beth at St. Jude’s in the first place? Who is Blake? Where did Clarissa go after she walked out of the precinct? How did she start working for Blake? Why is Rosa in prison? What are the other debts? Who is Tommy’s family?

But those are questions for the next book in the series, Where I Belong. Where YOU belong, is sitting somewhere – preferably where there are few distractions (or even better, none) – reading this terrific story. I dare you to put it down once you pick it up.
Profile Image for Sasha.
106 reviews11 followers
June 21, 2022
This was a typical whirlwind “lost lovers find one another again” trope. I know the story continues after this book, but still.. that is the trope of this book.

It’s a cute romance story but I’m not a fan of the super fast pace, and how unrealistic some of the storyline is. That being said, there was a strong beginning and the romance near the end was great. I’m unsure if I will read the others in this series though. I truly only read this because of BookTok.
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