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“Being independent was my goal in life, but I was wrong. It’s about making meaningful connections with people who’ll stick up for you and be your champions,” Dalila.  —Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line

by Simone Elkeles
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Dalila Sandoval, the daughter of one of the wealthiest lawyers in Mexico, is focused on her future. She is turning 18, but she already knows exactly what she wants from life—until she meets Ryan Hess. He is a “bad boy” who doesn’t fit into her life, but when she looks into his blue eyes, a flame of desire comes alive.

Ryan Hess has one goal—to prove he can become a great boxer. He flees an unhappy family life and travels to Mexico in the hope of convincing a famous retired boxer to train him. He does not want to be pulled into Dalila’s life or her problems, but he can’t stop himself from falling for her. Despite their immediate attraction, forces outside of their control quickly rise to conspire against them. Is there any way their love can survive?

Dalila and Ryan are two star-crossed lovers who, like Romeo and Juliet, fall in love quickly. Each chapter flip-flops between Ryan and Dalila’s point of view, allowing readers to understand both character’s thoughts and feelings. The beginning of the story is predictable, and the supporting characters are underdeveloped. Despite these drawbacks, readers who enjoy a good love story will be drawn into the couple’s drama and enjoy the unique angle of a rich girl from Mexico falling for a poor American.

Crossing the Line is not a book for those wanting a plausible story based in reality. Ryan spends all his time thinking about proving himself in the boxing ring, but once Dalila steals his heart, he quickly forgets about his dream. Dalila has no qualms about lying or using her body to beguile Ryan. Even though Ryan knows that Dalila is manipulating him, he overlooks her flaws and vows to stay by her side as she tries to figure out if her father is involved in the Mexican Mafia.

Crossing the Line is full of mystery and has a whirlwind ending full of surprises. The story follows the typical story line—boy and girl don’t want to fall in love, but are forced together by outside forces. For older readers who want a steamy, action packed romance, Crossing the Line will keep you entertained.

Sexual Content

  • When Ryan was new to town, a girl and he “hooked up at a party.”
  • After Ryan’s mom found out she was pregnant, her boyfriend, “ran off with some bimbo stripper he’d met at a dive bar.”
  • When Ryan was younger, his mom “had a history of bringing random guys to the trailer, but she wasn’t a whore. She was hoping one of them would stick around enough to take care of her.”
  • While at a concert, Ryan’s friend said, “I think that girl over there with the spider tattoo on her face just grabbed my ass. I feel violated.”
  • Dalila’s friend “might be a flirt, but she’s not into one-night stands or hookups.”
  • Dalila tries to convince a police officer that she is Ryan’s girlfriend. “I bury my hands in his thick hair and touch my lips to his. I’m determined to make this make-out session look convincing. . . the touch of his soft but firm lips against mine sends delicious sensations zinging up my spine. I’ve kissed boys before, but I’ve never felt goose bumps all over like this.”
  • The day after Ryan’s fight, Dalila tends to Ryan’s wounds. “And when she bends over to tend to the cut on my cheek, her cleavage makes my groin twitch.”
  • At Dalila’s birthday party, she and a friend take a walk in the gardens. “Before I can pull back, he presses his lips to mine and wraps his arms around my waist, pulling me close. I’m not ready for this. . . I push him away, glad when our lips separate.” The boy thinks she is playing games and “presses his body to mine again, so close that I can feel how much of a distraction he wants to be.” Ryan sees the two and the boy leaves.
  • Ryan and Dalila kiss several times. Once when they kiss, Ryan’s “breath hitches as she steps so close, I can feel the heat of her skin against mine. Without hesitation, she reaches up on her toes and her sexy, full lips meet mine. They’re soft and wet and full of passion. I hate myself as I take hungry possession of her mouth . . . My lips are still on hers as my tongue instinctively darts out, taking this kiss to the next level. . . her tongue darts out and meets mine.”
  • Ryan tells a story about when he, “got an erection during the swim unit freshman year. One of the girls noticed and screamed it out to the entire class.” He tells another story about his mom’s boyfriend. Ryan did not like him so he took a girl’s phone and “text[ed] the guy all this sexual stuff hoping my mom would see it.” Ryan’s mom broke up with the man.
  • Dalila goes to where Ryan is staying and takes a shower. Thinking about her in the shower, Ryan’s “body is reacting, willing and ready to be called into action.” The shower scene takes place over four pages and the two end up in the shower together. Dalila’s “breath hitches as he leans down and gently licks my wet skin, the sensation sending shock waves through my veins. . . His hot, wet tongue graces my earlobe and then his lips place tiny, light kisses on my mouth. A fire burns within me that I’ve never experienced before. . . This feeling is like a drug and I want more.” They do not have sex, but “we both explored and experimented and drove each other insane. . .”
  • Ryan and Dalila’s truck breaks down in the middle of the desert. Alone at night, they kiss and Dalila, “still straddling me, lifts my T-shirt that she’s been wearing all day over her head. Her fingers go to the front hook of her sexy lace bra and she releases the material, making me feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. It falls down her shoulders revealing her full, perfect breasts. I swallow and my breathing gets ragged as her hands reach for my zipper.” They then have sex, but it is not described in this scene.
  • Later, Ryan and Dalila have sex again, and it is described over two and a half pages. “She steps closer and reaches out, touching my chest with her soft, delicate fingers. . . I close my eyes and feel the brush of her gentle kisses on each bruise, starting with my shoulders and moving down to my chest and lower. . .When her panties and shorts fall to the floor, she focuses her gaze on the ground. . . My fingers trace a path from her taunt stomach to those perfectly shaped hips and I settle my palms on her amazing backside. I pick her up by her bottom.”


  • Ryan thought about committing suicide, but someone saw him, “sitting on a park bench with a pocketknife it my hand,” and talked him out of it.
  • Ryan thinks back to a time when he got in a fight at school. When the boy talked badly about him, he “whacked willie with a solid left hook. Willie fell and I was immediately on top of him, punching him repeatedly as frustrated tears streamed down my face. My fist kept flying until three lunch supervisors hauled me away.”
  • Ryan sees a boy slip something into a girl’s drink and he confronts the boy. When the boy goes to give the girl a drink, Ryan’s “fist connects with Skyler’s jaw. The guy stumbles backward and falls to the floor.”
  • Ryan’s stepfather tells Ryan that his father “killed someone, shot him in a bar fight.”
  • Ryan goes to an underground bar and fights other men, but the fighting is not described.
  • At Dalila’s birthday party, someone shoots at her family’s compound. Ryan shields Dalila. “Another pop pop pop fills the air and I suck in a horrified breath. . . Fresh blood drops from Ryan’s side onto the floor.” Ryan only has a flesh wound.
  • After spending the night together, Ryan takes Dalila home. Her father’s bodyguards beat up Ryan. “Without a word or grunt, he punches me in the gut. His fist feels like a steel mallet. Fuck, that hurt. . . Gerardo punches me in the gut with that mallet fist of his two more times. I don’t want to crumple to the ground when the clowns release me, but the pain takes over my resolve and all of a sudden I’m eating dirt.”
  • A man and his gang attack Ryan. “I take a few of them out before I’m surrounded. I’m not giving up, not even when someone whacks me on the back with something other than a fist. The punches and kicks don’t stop, and slowly my body gives up.” Ryan blacks out and is dumped in an alley.
  • Dalila hears a gun shot. When she runs towards the sound, “my entire body goes numb as I see Papa holding a gun. He’s standing over a body lying in a pool of blood.” Later she finds out that her father did not kill the man.
  • Someone kills Dalila’s abuela as revenge. Ryan and Dalila find “Abuela Carmela, who’s lying on the floor, soaking in her own blood. . . Dalila’s hand flies to her mouth and a helpless cry pierces the air at the sight of her grandmother riddled with stab wounds.”
  • At the end, several cartel members surround Ryan and Dalila. Ryan threatens them and “I see the fire flash out of the barrel of his gun.” Ryan is shot. “Something cold pierces my gut and my shoulder. I know I’ve been hit.” Someone grabs Dalila “and attempts to run out with her as his shield. . .” Before he can do that, “shots ring out” and the man “falls to the ground, his body riddled with bullets. He’s dead.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Ryan’s mother is an alcoholic. At a funeral Ryan wonders, “how much alcohol she downed before she showed up here.” Ryan refers to his mother’s drinking often.
  • Ryan smokes a cigarette at a funeral.
  • At a dinner party, the guests are served “some kind of amber-colored brandy.”
  • At a concert, people are able to order a drink from the bar. A boy offers to buy a girl a beer, but she just wants a soda. The boy buys the girl a soda, but slips something into it.
  • Ryan meets a man in a bar; the guy has a “half-empty bottle of beer in front of him.”
  • Ryan’s mother said she heard, “you were running drugs across the border.”
  • Dalila goes out with her friends and sees a boy she knows. The boy is with his friends. “One of them is laughing loudly and the other has bloodshot eyes. They’ve definitely been drinking.”
  • Ryan goes to an underground bar where “there’s a big dude at the door who looks like a poster child for the overuse of steroids. In lethal doses.” The people in the bar are also drinking.
  • Dalila’s parents throw her a birthday party and one of the boys was holding a beer.


  • Profanity is used in the extreme. Profanity includes: ass, bastard, bitch, crap, dick, damn, douch-bag, fuck, hell, motherfucker, piss, pendejo, puta, and shit.
  • When Ryan sees a girl, he flips her off.
  • Ryan’s motto in life is “fuck being a hero.”
  • Ryan’s stepfather calls him a bastard several times.
  • When Ryan stops a boy from kissing someone, the boy says, “Oh, and the next time you cock-block me like that, I’m gonna make sure you never get hired in Mexico again. By anyone.”
  • After Ryan is shot, he stays the night at Dalila’s family home. His friend tells Ryan, “I’ll bet my left nut that sleepin’ on an expensive mattress will make you crave the good life, especially if the rich chick finds her way into it.”



  • None


Spiritual Content

  • When Ryan reminds his stepfather that they are not family, his stepfather says, “Thank the mighty Lord for that.”
  • The story talks about the Day of the Dead.
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“Being independent was my goal in life, but I was wrong. It’s about making meaningful connections with people who’ll stick up for you and be your champions,” Dalila.  —Crossing the Line

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