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Barely Breathing

(Keep Breathing #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Buried deep under a mountain of lies, I’m struggling for air. My life, my choices are being dictated by my father.
I was forced to give up the man I love in order to protect him and now I must marry a man who I hate.
I thought I had found a way out.
I thought my time in this gilded cage was almost over.
Then one day Jaxson Holden walks back into my life, flipping it upsi
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 243 pages
Published January 30th 2020
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  240 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Dora Koutsoukou
While this romance read was well written, it didn’t manage to keep my interest as to finish the story. Also, there were a lot of flashbacks that slightly tired me. Dnf @ 23%

Bella -
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it
3,40 Stars


River 27 (green eye, brunette) and Jaxon 29 (hazel eyes, blonde). They are happily in love, but because of River's schemeful -the worst kind of human- father, the drama gets included, and they get separated. Jaxon only knows as she left and never knows what actually causes the drama and feels devastated. After some time, they reunite, and the story starts.


Both MCs are likable + good couple.
River was way richer than Jax (I don't remember when was the last time I read a book wh
Wendy *cr8zysockbookblock*

Absolutely Unputdownable! Remarkable! Phenomenal!! Erica is one of my absolute favorite authors. I totally have a fastest one-click finger in the south when it comes to her books. Barely Breathing is my new favorite book of hers (At least until her next one comes out) River and Jax’s story sucked me in from the first paragraph of the prologue and I instantly knew I was in for an emotional ride. I was lucky enough to early read this fantastic book, yet still I keep finding myself goin
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has stayed with me from the very first time that I have read it. I love a good second chance romance and this was one of the best. Jaxson and River has so much emotion that I was feeling wrung out by the end of the book. I cried along with them, I yelled at them, I hated them and I loved them. I highly recommend this book. You won’t be disappointed with this selection. Believe me when I say, you will left breathless and want to read their story again and again. This story has reminded ...more
Oct 12, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (10/12/2020)! 🎁
Three Chicks
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Review by Jen Skewes

This is the first book that I have read by this author and wow!!! This is a second chance romance that is an emotional roller coaster with twists and turns, drama and angst and two characters who regardless of what happened two years ago have not been able to let go of their love.

River and Jackson were in love. They thought that they had their whole lives together. Their love for each other was the kind of love that people dream of having. Until one day it was all g
Sherlock Hughes
This book was wow... that's the best way to put it! As I was reading the story I was so engrossed in it that all I could say over and over again was wow. This author weaved such an emotional story that I was left thinking about it well after I finished it. It not only has 2nd chance/enemies to lovers vibes but it has family drama, corporate corruption, and so much more. Even writing my review I am treading lightly as I don't want to ruin anything for future readers.

The story follows River who is
Sian Ackerley
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Woo hoo this was one hot romance I swear the pages started burning right off or well the phone started burning 😁. Jaxson and River's story was hot, sexy, steamy and everything a good romance book should be. Bittersweet about a couple torn apart by dreadful circumstances thanks to a bitter man.

While sad it is also heartwarming as this you watch this couple find their way back to each other. It will make you cry, it will make you scream, it will make you scream with joy but at the end of it, it wi
Victoria Weston
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is the first book I've read by this author and this was an emotional and powerful read.

River has been through alot she met and fell in love with Jaxson 'Jax' when they were young and they had the world at their feet. Until one day things take a bad turn and River makes a decision that changes everyone's lives. After her grandfather left a stipulation in his will regarding the business.
River does not get along with her father and he hates his daughter with a passion.

Jaxson is a really g
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
OMG this story is so freaking good! It's so addictive, the angst, the pain, the passion is just all consuming and intoxicating. River and Jaxson had me a blubbering mess, their love and painful past making me grip the edge of my seat. I am so in love with this second chance romance and its slid its way to the top of my overall favorite in this sub genre. I just can't get over it, their story is going to stick with me for a very long! ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed River and Jaxson's story! It's an interesting and captivating second chance romance. This story is an emotional read with angst, suspense, passion and good twists and turns. I really love the characters and the plot keeps you read until the very end. Definitely worth reading. ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an intense read! Loved getting to know Jax and River. Such great writing that drags you into an emotional, angsty mess - it’s amazing! You MUST read this!
Feb 12, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF at 3% lol

way too repetitive already. cut back on the times you mention breathing and air and maybe it wouldn’t have annoyed me right away.
Cassie Ashford
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I’m hooked!

River and Jax are undeniably perfect together. Their chemistry is palpable. There is no denying their love regardless of what is going on with them.

This series will be amazing if you go off this first book!
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely breathtaking!! Erica completely knocked this story out of the park! What an emotional, heart stropping, gut wrenching story that’s I’ll leave you asking what just happened?!?

This story will leave you caught up in the tale of Jax and River! Nothing else will get done.
Their epic tale wilL have you hanging into the edge of your seat, waiting for what this author brings next!! She’s become one of my faves!!

An absolute 5+ stars for this book!!
Jeeves Reads Romance
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A twisty, steamy second chance romance, Barely Breathing draws you in on the first page and holds your attention until the very end. Marselas' writing gets better with every book, keeping the reader guessing and building up the tension. It takes just the right second chance romance for me to even consider a 5-star rating, but this sat unwaveringly between 4 and 5 stars the whole way through.

The story follows River and Jaxson, former lovers who thought they had forever to look forward to... unti
Erica Marselas
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Barely Breathing is NOW LIVE!!!
A Second Chance Standalone Romance with all the feels and the first book in the Keep Breathing Series!

AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083P43ZX6
CANADA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B083P43ZX6
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B083P43ZX6
AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B083P43ZX6
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review can also be found in Currant7 Recommends

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


River Graham had to sacrifice a lot to be able to keep the ones she loves safe and she kept on suffering as readers enter the first chapter. She is a CEO to a company that is not hers but a puppet as she gets manipulated by her father into entering an arrangement marriage, destroying anything she loves dear l
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I gave up everything I loved and held dearly to protect others from evil. I’ve never felt more alone in my life.

Break-ups are never easy.

But when you’re being forced to leave them kicking and screaming...losing the inevitable fight?

When you see no other option and know deep down that you are protecting them?

That’s heartbreaking.

The pain is unreal. I’m about to be a puzzle broken up into a thousand pieces, about to be stored away for years, with one single piece missing, never to be found.

The Romantic Rush Blog
Oh Erica- what a delight! This is one of my favorite books of hers. Barely Breathing has just the right amount of dramatic tension, delightful characters, and that delicious chemistry that I love about Erica stories. This second chance story definitely made me swoon.

Jax (sexiest name ever) was her true love- the man she was meant to spend her life with , her soulmate. But River soon learned that her life is not her own, forcing her to leave Jax behind, sacrificing her happiness and her love in
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just keep breathing...

As always, I excitedly anticipate every one of Erica’s books. And this one did not disappoint! If I could, I would rate this as more than five stars!

It had me fuming with anger, giggling at little funnies here and there, my heart melting with the passion, some serious smirking with the steam, and definitely some tears. There was so much angst and hurt and betrayal. But there was also so much love, passion, connection and unrelenting friendships. My emotions were all over th
Cate at Fiction Beer & Cupcakes
I was granted an ARC from Give Me Books and Erica Marselas for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

River has been under control of her father for fear that he has the means and motive to truly hurt the one she loves and his family. In order to protect them she makes the ultimate sacrifice and leaves Jax high and dry. Fast forward 2 years and River is now engaged to Harry, her dad’s right-hand man. Since River’s father was forced out of his own company, he is determined to reg
Ashley Olson- lovestoread08
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Barely Breathing switches between flashbacks and present time so if you are looking for all the answers right in the beginning then this isn’t the book for you. I will say that not everything is as it seems so it will leave you guessing and trying to piece everything together. My heart absolutely broke for River and Jaxson! This couple has been through so much and for them to be able to put the past behind them and talk things through shows just how much they still love each other and are wantin ...more
Jennifer Pierson
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
River and Jaxon believed they would be together forever until out of the blue, River called it off, breaking both of their hearts in the process. She then took her place in the family company while becoming a shell of her former self. Some years passed, when she comes face to face with Jax, as he’s sliding his way into her company, and instantly, it’s apparent that they aren’t over what had transpired in the past. The intense chemistry is still present, which won’t be denied for long, but there’ ...more
Polly Barreto
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Barely Breathing is a second chance standalone romance and the first book of the Keep Breathing Series. This is my first read by this author and holy cow, she has gained a new follower!

I literally could put this book down! Once I started reading about Jaxson and River, I got sucked in and I was not coming back out until I was done. I even sat my desk with my computer hiding my Kindle…that is how sucked In I got!

Jaxson and River’s story has all the feels and then some! I laughed, I cried, I wante
Whispered Secrets
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Broken little girls...grow up and become stronger women...or broken women....

River has been through the fiery pits and is ready to prove to the world she is more than she seems. Her life isn’t the picture perfect scene everyone outside sees. Falling for her fathers archenemies son may be her reawakening...until her father takes that from her too.
Jaxson is falling hard for the firecracker that he’s suppose to hate. Since the moment she walked into his place of employment he knew he was caught. B
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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Not my first time reading this author but my first official review, check out my FULL REVIEW & TEASER i make on my BLOG -> C L I C K - H E R E
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Mel Walker
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In Barely Breathing Erica Marcelas delivers not only a heavy dose of steam and romance, for which she is known for, but adds in a suspenseful, twisty, thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story of Jaxon and River leaps off the page from the first page. The backstory of River clearly places you in her corner and prepares you for the wild ride to come.
Erica does a fantastic job of layering in complex characters who are much than their initial impressions. This serves her well
Leanne Bryson
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jax and River are torn apart by her manipulative and unscrupulous father. River vanished and Jax has no idea why. Two years later, he finds her and wants answers. I love books told from dual POVs, you are given a whole different picture of the story. I the years that River's been gone from Jax, she has grown as a woman, with strength of purpose and determination. These two have intense chemistry and regardless of how things ended years ago, Jax still loves her and comes to see that she has suffe ...more
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