Breathe Underwater by Anise Storm & Taylor L. Ray

Breathe Underwater

Posted on September 27, 2022 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 9 Comments

Breathe Underwater speaks to second chances, healing and love. It tells the story of two broken and lonely souls who triumphed over the many obstacles thrown their way on their journey to finding happiness.

Breathe Underwater by Anise Storm & Taylor L. RayTitle: Breathe Underwater
Author(s): Anise Storm, Taylor L. Ray
Published by Amazon Digital Services on September 27, 2022
Pages: 503
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Mafia
Source: Author
Format: eArc
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

She’s living in the shadows.
Long ago, I had given my heart to someone who callously threw it away, but I put my past behind me until the hurt and betrayal no longer consumed me.I hid my secret from the world and the monster I knew was in it.I had a great job, wonderful friends, and my parents…well, sadly, I wasn’t able to choose my parents.Then one day, I see him again.The man who stole my heart all those years ago.
He’s living in the dark.
I never wanted this life.I thought I had been meant for something greater, but a few wrong turns have led me down this twisted path to here.Now my life is not my own.My name, my past, none of it is real.As an undercover agent in the Sicilian Mafia, I live each day as if it is my last, because I know that it could be.And then she finds me.When Evelyn comes back into my life, I try my best to hold her at arm’s length.No one can hide forever, though.If I’m not careful, my enemies will find me and try to destroy me.I’d do anything to keep her, but my time is running out.
In a world of lies, one truth will remain.When I was left to drown underwater, you were the air that kept me breathing.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.



Damian Barrett, aka Damian Solito, is an undercover FBI agent with the Sicilian Mafia, with ties to Cosa Nostra for the past ten years. An assignment that chipped away at his soul with each nefarious job he had no choice but to execute. Damian Barrett no longer exists on paper and he was fine with it. However, a new assignment took him back to Texas, which unwittingly led to him reconnecting with the woman, who brought a little sunshine in his life thirteen years ago. A reconnection, which had him yearning for a life he never thought possible. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her. However, with danger as his constant companion, and his enemies dogging his every step, he may have to sacrifice his dreams for her safety.


“Evelyn, when I was left to drown underwater, you were the air that kept me breathing. It has always been you, and it will only ever be you.” 


Breathe Underwater is quite an interesting read. It may not have been a perfect book, but it delivered an emotional and entertaining story interspersed with some dark elements.  A note of warning, you may need to turn up your air conditioning unit or if you are outside have some ice close by as the sex scenes are pretty hot.

My heart broke for Damian, he has been through so much.  Leaving the girl he fell in love behind and constantly moving from state to state due his father’s gambling addiction. Trouble always seems to find him. The opportunity to change his life came knocking, but it meant leaving all he held dear behind. Now he has the chance to reconnect with the girl he fell in love with years ago, but once again life has thrown him another curve ball.

Some may consider Evelyn brave, or if one is looking from the other side of the coin, reckless. One thing is for sure: stubbornness is in her DNA.  Fiery and feisty, she was not afraid to speak her mind. She too had her share of struggles growing up, but she rose above it.

There was a lot of push and pull within the development of the romance. However, this came as no surprise given their complicated situation. Damian have to keep his life secret from Evelyn didn’t help their situation. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t stay away from each other.

I enjoyed seeing the story come alive. The intensity and the emotions that permeated the pages of this book had a firm grip on my heart. The pacing was fine for the first half of the book, but then it took a nosedive in the middle. However, it regained momentum in the about the last quarter of the story.

There were a few surprises along the way. Mini-subplots were introduced, however this were not completely fleshed out, which left me with questions. Some questions regarding the main plot were also left unanswered. The abrupt ending of Damian’s undercover assignment disappointed me. The case was tied up, but the I never got the chance to share in that victory. Instead of a show, the reader got a tell.

If you like your romance with lots of heat, steam and the mafia world setting, Breathe Underwater may make a great addition to your reading list. 


Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star


About Anise Storm

Anise Storm is a USA Today Bestselling author of Contemporary and Dark Romance. A Southern transplant, Anise is married with children. She has a love of football, shoes, and tall, dark heroes. When not spending time with family or traveling, she can be found either curled up with a good book or writing.

About Taylor L. Ray

Taylor L. Ray writes funny, flirty, and moderately dirty romances, ranging from dark romance to contemporary. A true GRITS (Girl Raised In The South), once she had earned her Bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV/Film, she held down three jobs before becoming a single parent. Born and raised in Texas, Taylor currently resides in the Dallas area where she enjoys patio dining, live music, and being ruled by a feline overlord.



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9 responses to “Breathe Underwater by Anise Storm & Taylor L. Ray

  1. Given that we had snow here in the NWE of England yesterday, I don’t think the steamy sex scenes will be too much trouble but thanks for the warning. This is the kind of book my friends loves to read on her way to work … she hides it in between the pages of that day’s newspaper so people won’t see what she is reading.

    Felicity+Grace+Terry recently posted: JANET JACKSON'S YORKSHIRE B&B.