He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.
But he’s got his reasons.
His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.
As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect
but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to
notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.
Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.
When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.
But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.
He knows that. And he’s working on it.
But is that enough to make her stay?
Hey Pax, I’m Dani from the Crazy Book Chicks and we want to thank you for taking time out to visit with us!
Thank you so much for having me!
In If You Stay you are the first person we are introduced to, in a rather compromising situation. If you could would you take back that last hit?
Hmm. That’s a good question. If I did that, then I would never have been passed out in my car and Mila never would have stopped to help me. It would have changed everything. No, I think I still would have done it. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
Addiction is a strong issue to face, we know you weren’t addicted because you were able to cut yourself off. If there is one thing someone could take from your story what would it be and why?
I hope that if anyone takes anything from my story it is that there is always a choice—there is always a moment when you assess your situation and you decide that it isn’t good for you anymore. And then you choose to get clean.
I’ve personally been there where oblivion seemed more desirable than dealing with ‘life’, maybe not in the same form. Do you sometimes feel like you need that relief?
Yes. Because I am only just now learning to deal with things in a healthy way, it isn’t easy. So there are plenty of times that I am tempted to do the easy thing… to disappear into the black. But I won’t. I’m not a pussy. And I’ve decided that that is a pussy thing to do.
Meeting Mila not only saved your life but changed the course of it so to speak. What does that feel like?
It makes me realize that there are bigger things than me out there. I should have died a hundred times before I chose to change. I did a bunch of stupid shit. But I never did. It wasn’t my time. Things happen the way they are meant to happen, and I was meant to meet Mila. She was my saving grace.
What was it about Mila that made you change your mind?
Change my mind about what? My unhealthy life? I don’t know. She was just everything that I wasn’t. There a certain sort of innocence about her, a healthy kind of energy. It drew me to her and the more I was around her, the more I wanted to be good enough for her. It’s hard to explain. I didn’t want to taint her with my toxic ways, I guess.
I have to say the paint scene, epic hotness! How often do y’all *clears throat* get acquainted with the paint? *winks*
*chuckles* Well. Mila is an easy-going artist who just happens to be pretty open-minded and…creative. We never lack for new ideas and some of them do involve paint.
What was it like finding Jill and was it a wakeup call for you?
When we found Jill, my initial reaction was just to be pissed. I was so furious that she would do that… to herself and to me. She chose to be at my house and she had to know that she had gone too far, that she was in danger. Instead of wasting her energy texting me about drugs, she should have been calling an ambulance. Or even telling me that she needed help. But she never did. I’ll never know if she did it on purpose or not. Maybe she just wanted that final oblivion. I’ll never know.
Having Mila stand by you through everything and for you to push her away… do you regret that?
Yes and no. I regret that I hurt Mila like that. But I did the only thing I ever knew to do—to disappear into myself and hide from the problem. That’s what I’d always done. If I hadn’t done it again in that way, then I probably wouldn’t have realized that I really needed to permanently change my ways of coping. It’s because of that, that things worked out the way they did. I hit bottom in order to get better. So many times, that’s what it takes for people to truly change.
How’s the relationship with you and your father now that everything is out in the open?
My father and I are working on it. I realize that he was in pain all of those years and parents don’t always know the best thing to do. He did what he thought was right- for both of us. I can’t fault him for that. So, yes…our relationship is on the mend.
I loved the letters from mom at the end, if you could write a letter to her what would you tell her?
I would tell her thank you. I don’t want to say what for here, because some people haven’t read my story yet. But I would tell her thank you and that I am okay. And I would tell her that I love her and that I hope she is at peace.
If you could pick one memory of you and Mila together that had the most impact, what would it be?
Wow. This is a hard one because there are several moments that were impactful in different ways. I think maybe when Mila turned me away. I knew she loved me, but she was strong enough to do what was best for both of us. And it made me realize that I truly had to change. It was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Thanks again Pax for meeting with me and Congrats on finding a love that makes you both better. Never forget what got you to where you’re at and always remember… Love Never Fails!
Thank you, Dani. It was good to be here. And you’re right. Love Never Fails. That’s something everyone should remember.
I have read every single book that Courtney Cole has written and loved every single one of them. If you Stay tops the list, hands down. I was excited when she decided to start writing NA and fell in love with Pax immediately. He’s not your typical book boyfriend. You know the one you fall for immediately because he sweeps the girl off her feet. I fell in love with Pax from the beginning even when he was an ass. I think that’s part of the draw to him. The bad boy who uses to cope and hides behind the façade of being an asshole, but the thing is like Mila saw there’s always something amazing hiding underneath.
This book was raw and emotional. Absolutely perfect not to mention something completely new and unexpected from Courtney Cole, I LOVE IT! Drugs and alcohol are no joke. If anyone has to take something from this book it’s that I hope you seek the help you need. You are definitely not alone and for everyone else open your eyes. Warning signs are always there if you only care to see them.
“Even when I can count on nothing else, I can always count on this.”
We are introduced to Pax in a pretty effed up state. He’s getting busy in his car with some chick he doesn’t remember her name till later on. Mila stumbles upon him at the worst time but the best possible time as well. She happens to save his life. Pax doesn’t think he’s good enough for Mila and Mila thinks Pax is going to break her heart. But they both take the chance. They plunge into the unknown with open arms because their attraction only intensified.
“The stars twinkle overhead, the lake is soundless and calm to our left
and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I feel like I’m home.”
So what do they do? They date. It a beautiful disaster but a learning process for the both of them. Pax is starting to have nightmares and Mila wants to do whatever it takes to help him. So what happens? Does Pax get passed his coping mechanisms? Can Mila learn to trust Pax enough to know he won’t her…again? What’s the dreams that are plaguing Pax and Mila? Can they get passed it all? Well you’re going to have to read to find that out. I have to say though I cried in this book more than I thought I was going to, especially in the epilogue. Both Pax and Mila had different situations with their parents but one thing was the same… Love never Fails. The sex in this book is HOT but not "dirty" you don't feel like clawing your eyes out about the way Courtney portrays the sex in this book. Its hot, sensual, and makes you need a could shower right after. LOL oh my god and if I could have Pax cook me some zucchini and wind up on the floor and almost burn down the kitchen... I would definitely not mind!
“It was never an option Love never fails, Mila. And I’ll never fail you again. That’s a promise.”
The Epilogue.. *cries* what can I say that gives nothing away. I’ve come to learn writing reviews are hard because you don’t want to give anything away, just know that there is a letter involved from Pax’s mother and it absolutely tore at my heart. I loved it… seriously the best book that I’ve read from Courtney Cole.
I will start out by saying that I love Courtney Cole’s books and IF YOU STAY, is my new favorite.
My favorite theme in the book is “Love never fails”. I TOTALLY love that. I believe in that myself and try to live it daily.
Pax is a rich, screwed up guy who likes to loose himself in drugs and alcohol. This is how Mila finds him, passed out drunk and covered in vomit in his car. He is in bad shape and even dies. She gives him mouth to mouth and calls 911. Mila is just a quiet, shy artist so this has her freaking out just a bit! She finds out that Pax’s life is saved and visits him at the hospital for days until he wakes up. When Pax does wake up days later he is confused where he is and in general pissed off. This dude, needs help. Well in she walks in a red shirt, Mila visits him right after he wakes up. Pax is taken with her. I love the dual POV’s because its lets us see what they think of each other. Mila seems to feel a pull toward him but is unsure of this guy who is stuck on drugs. Pax, well he thinks she’s hot, and after talking to her, proves that he wants her but is confused at those feelings. See Pax is a use women for sex, no relationship guy. There is something about Mila that pulls him to her. He wants to be better, not use drugs or women. He puts himself at her art store frequently. Mila is wary but after time, and rejecting him once, (which he did not take well), she gives in. Pax warns her that doing the relationship thing will take practice on his part. I love how they move through and the dates they have and wow the sexy PAINTING!
Pax starts to have nightmares about his mother, and Mila suggests he see a therapist. Pax agrees because he wants to be better and be better for Mila. What gets uncovered is shocking and brings me to tears!!! Can their LOVE survive Pax’s latest demons? And will they learn the meaning of “Love never fails? “
Seriously I was so glad I read this book. I want to read it again. I don’t want to let go of them. I loved the real issues that Courtney Cole put in this book. People suffer from drug abuse, parent loss, and so much more every day. I loved the note at the end especially! If I could give this book 10 stars I would. Go get your copy today and LOVE LOVE this story. Also, work hard at making your love for people a love that never fails.
-ChristinaFOLLOW THE TOUR BY CLICKING----> IF YOU STAY TOUR STOPS TO CHECK OUT OTHER INTERVIEWS &REVIEWS!!!
Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.
Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.
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Courtney Cole on Goodreads