It seemed like a good idea at the time. Look up Landon Roderick, that boy from childhood whom I’d never been able to forget—and call him.
Then again, anything sounds like a good idea when you’ve had a little too much wine before bed, right? It was supposed to be just a quick, meaningless, prank call. Instead, I went off on him—unloading thirteen years of pent-up emotions.
I didn’t think he’d call me back…
OMG!! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVED this book!! It’s a second chance romance with one of the most HEART-WARMING, SEXY, SWEET, SWOONY, HEALING, ROMANTIC, ADDICTIVE, and BEAUTIFUL stories I’ve read all year! The hero and heroine were both very flawed people who, despite their painful pasts, so clearly loved each other with everything they had and it was so cathartic to see them reconnected after so many years apart, open up their hearts to each other, and find love, healing, and happiness together. This is definitely a TOP FAVORITE!!
At the end of a particularly shitty work day, Rana gets drunk and dials up Landon, the one boy she never thought she’d see or talk to again. Thirteen years ago, they were neighbors and close friends. But her family moved suddenly and even though they never had a chance to say goodbye, she’d never forgotten her first crush, or truly let him go.
When he picked up the phone, they were both surprised. Neither one of them wanted to end their conversations after just one call. And this was the beginning of their journey back into each other’s lives…
I have to say that writing strong sexual tension is one thing when the characters have met in person, but it’s an entirely other thing to convey that same intense level of attraction and chemistry when the characters have never actually met. I was very impressed with the writing and really “felt” this story every step of the way.
The thirteen year separation had led both Landon and Rana down difficult paths that they were both ashamed and wary about sharing. They each had secrets and confessions that they needed to find the courage to tell each other. But as their relationship brought them closer, they began to trust each other with their truths.
“Are you going to tell me all your deepest, darkest secrets?”
“Eventually, yes.” He didn’t even hesitate with that answer.
OMG!!! And there was SO MUCH SWOOOOON!!! That scene when he sent her his hoodie… I seriously just melted!! It just spoke volumes for what a truly thoughtful person he was and how much he cared about her.
Speaking of swoon, Landon was such a dreamy, sweet, and totally fuckhot book boyfriend. He was perceptive and attentive and so clearly falling head over heels in love with Rana. But he did have a heartbreaking past. During the years of their separation, he’d made mistakes and choices that he regretted but couldn’t reverse. However, when the first opportunity presented itself for him to be open with her, I LOVED that he took it. His honesty at telling her the truth and even though he knew telling her might making him lose her forever, was so admirable. So often you see characters chose to keep secrets from each other because they’re scared of how the other might react, but not him. He was terrified but he trusted her with his past. He wanted her to know the full truth about him and hoped to hell that she’d see through his mistakes and love the man he was today, not the man he used to be. His honesty meant so much more to me than all his sweetness or swoon — it made me truly respect his character.
“I didn’t know how to tell you. How to you tell someone who believes in you, that maybe you’re not worthy? I’m ashamed, but it’s a chapter of my life I will never be able to erase no matter how hard I wish I could.”
“I’ll have to figure out a way to start over… I’ll get something. I don’t really give a fuck what it is as long as we’re together.”
I’m actually surprised at how much I liked Rana at first. She was a very flawed individual and quite insecure — the reasons for which were revealed later on and really made me understand her much better. But I think the reason I liked her so much from the start was how aware she was of her issues. There’s something admirable about owing your flaws. She made mistakes and occasionally even did things that might usually annoy me but because of her own admission and self-awareness, I feel like it made her much most understandable and allowed me to really empathize.
“I’m totally fucking obsessed with you, Rana.”
I wanted to tell him that I was beyond the point of obsessed with him. Instead, I tried to snap myself out of the sexual spell his words were putting me under.
“You’re obsessed with the idea of me — the mystique. The reality is a mess.”
“What reality isn’t? A relationship is about appreciating the good, the bad, and the ugly. No one is perfect.”
I love the way this author often draws attention to little things within her stories that I find are often overlooked in many books but that, to me at least, mean so much. There’s this scene in this book and it’s the first time that Rana and Landon have held hands, and it’s just a fleeting moment. They were in a rush in the scene and it could so easily have been glossed over, but there was this paragraph in there that conveyed so much to me about the feeling of that moment. The first time you hold hands with a the person you’re falling in love with to me means so much. I remember the first time I ever held hands with my then-boyfriend-now-husband. I remember where we were, what we were doing, what I was wearing, the snapshot of the moment has always been one of my clearest memories. And to see the same thing highlighted in this book was very special and beautiful. It was one of the many things that helped connect me to this story.
GAH. And THE FEELS!!! Several moments in this book brought me to tears (like that guy with the plane tickets — OMG!!!!) and I absolutely love when books are able to make me cry in a good happy way. It’s a sign of how invested I am in the story. But my favorite thing overall was seeing the way Landon and Rana both slowly opened up about their pasts and worked through these painful memories together. Not to mention that there was a TWIST that I didn’t actually see coming and I love it when books can surprise me like that!
Their story was utterly heartwarming, beautiful, and often just hot!! Even though there is a definite more serious and emotional undertone to this story, it’s also a sizzling, sexy romance! So definitely look forward to the heat!
Rana and Landon each had a lot to overcome — both in their pasts and in each others — but what made this story mean as much to me as it did was that no matter what confessions they revealed, it never changed the love they had for each other. Their love was free of judgement and stronger than anything that might have come between them.
“I want to be with you. I know you made a very big mistake. Believe me, I understand what it’s like to make mistakes. But a wise boy once told me that ‘maybe it’s not really a mistake if you learn from it.’ … So, yes, I’ve made mistakes, too. And I’ve learned from them. But I know trusting you isn’t one of them. And I promise you… You’re still the boy I looked up to. You’re just a man now, who’s lived, made mistakes, and learned from them.”
I cried during the last chapter. Big wet tears of happiness. The ending was so full of love and healing. Their story came full circle in every way. It was heart-warming, romantic, and beautiful. It was the perfect ending to their story and I read the last page feeling so fulfilled.
After finishing it, I thought back on the story and realized that it literally had everything I love to read about in it.
Great writing… check!
Made me cry… check!
Addictive story with no slow points… check!
Never made me want to skim… check!
Complex characters… check!
Strong character development… check!
A story that came full circle… check!
Surprised me with a twist I wasn’t expecting… check!
A functional relationship… check!
Great chemistry… check!
An intense love and attraction… check!
Strong feels throughout the story… check!
Real and beautiful family dynamics… check!
No cheating, no triangles… check!
No unnecessary drama… check!
No stupid characters… check!
Realistic sources of angst… check!
A “them against the world”, not “them against each other” couple… check!
A gorgeous, full satisfying ending… check!
I could go on, but you get the point. This book checked all my boxes and truly delivered a well written and addictive romance that I genuinely LOVED!!!! This is one of Top 10 books I’ve read all year! If you’re looking for a sexy, swoony, beautiful love story that is addictive, well-written, and full of heart, then this is it!
Rating: 4.5 – 5 stars! Contemporary Adult Romance Standalone.
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