Blue. The color of devotion.
CARYS WOLFE is my heart.
Mine, always. Leaving her nearly killed me.
I thought it was the only way to keep her safe.
She’s moved on, and I want her back.
EVAN HART is my heart.
Loving him is my destiny. I waited my entire life for our time,
for us to finally be together, only to have him leave.
Now he’s back.
Though my mind can’t forgive him, my heart can’t forget.
“Evan, I want to know what happened, but I have a life now and you need to know…” She trails off, her eyes darting away from mine.“What?”
Gazing up at me, she continues, “Whatever you have to say, it’s not going to change a thing. We’re over.”
My heart twists and breathing becomes difficult. Mother fuck, her words cut deep, hurting even though they aren’t true. Sure, she believes them on some level—she had to, in order to get through what I did. Yet, along with the hurt and disappointment swimming in her eyes, there’s also tenderness and love.
“Tell me you’re happy and I’ll walk away.”
We always pushed each other, challenged the other to face our fears, to be honest with ourselves, with each other. I need to hear her say it. I don’t believe it, but if she is over me, I need to hear it in her voice and see it in her face—not because I want to, but because it’s the only way I can even begin to accept that we’re over. Even then, it’s not possible.
“I’m happy.” Her tone is laden with bravado, but no true emotion. Even her gaze, which never wavers from mine, is flat.
Shaking my head, I briefly cast my eyes downward to suppress my smile. “No, you’re not.”
“Van.” I flinch at that fucking name.
As a child, I thought it was so fucking cool to have a nickname that only my best friends would call me. Now, hearing “Van” from her pretty lips, I want to obliterate the word from her vocabulary, fucking kiss the word out of her.
“You can call me asshole for all I care, you’re not happy,” I retort in frustration. Catching my tone, I breathe deeply and loosen my fists to relax. “Don’t lie to me, and most of all, don’t lie to yourself.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You want to see what you want. I’m with Greg, and we’re happy.”
She grimaces infinitesimally, then averts her eyes from me. Unable to read her, I’m not sure if it’s because she means it and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings or if the lie tastes nasty in her mouth.
“Sweetness, I know everything there is to know about you, without apology. You can’t lie to me.”
S.M. West is an indie author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotica and whatever her heart desires.
She spends her time juggling ay day job, being a mom and wife, and writing. On top of that, she’s a self-professed junkie of many things including a voracious fan of music, a born wanderer, a wine aficionado and chocolate connoisseur.
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So where do I star with this one? I rather enjoyed it immensely, to be honest. Although it did have a few issues that lowered my rating somewhat.
Let us start with what worked for me. I thought it was well written and (fairly) well paced. I loved the fabulous cast of secondary characters. Finally, a family that isn’t hellbent on keeping the heroine/hero apart with the standard you can’t date my little sister/daughter, etc. Everyone was very supportive of the relationship even when they were still young. Even when Evan had hurt Carys, they understood he had his reasons. There was no OW drama. There was a little bit of OM drama. I wouldn’t say this was terribly angsty either.
Both main characters were likable (for the most part) I ADORED Evan even if he did have a bit of a martyr complex. He was always making decisions for others when he should have been including them. His heart was in the right place though so I didn’t hold it against him (much). What I especially loved was this hero remained a virgin because he had feelings for the heroine (he did date, kiss, fool around with girls when he was in high school) because the heroine was three years younger than him and therefore still very young. They officially become boyfriend/girlfriend when she is 15, and he is 18 and from that point on there is never even a thought of an OW for Evan. Carys I liked a tiny bit less. She came off childish at some points. But she was still young, so I understood where she was coming from. My biggest problem was I found her wishy-washy behavior with Greg annoying. Now usually in my second chance romances, I prefer they both move on, or they both stay celibate. In this one, the heroine does move on and has sex with her boyfriend. Considering the way Evan broke up with her and the fact that it did take her two and a half years to move on (Evan was gone three years). It was completely understandable IMO. She had NO idea if she would ever see him again or if he was even alive. She was trying to get on with her life.
So what didn’t work for me? I thought maybe this one was a smidge too long. It did drag for me in a few places. It also hops back a forth in time A LOT. Which I am not a fan of, to begin with. Now I realize we needed that background information so we could feel how deeply this couple loved each other but I think the flashbacks of them as kids and teenagers could have been pared down. Which brings me to my other issue. The timeline was a bit odd (for lack of a better word). We see them as kids. We see scenes when she is 16, and he is 19 and going off to join the army. We see them again when he is back three years later (after he hasn’t seen her in all that time). They finally (HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER) lose their virginity to each other 19/22 The now takes place when the hero is 35 and the heroine 32. So he ended things when he was 32, and she was 29. What we don’t get is really any information about what they were doing relationship wise in those ten years? We get a few details of Evan career path. Ten years is a LONG time. I would have expected them to at the very least be engaged by that point. I would have preferred fewer kid flashbacks and maybe some of how there were during that ten year period.
Wow, so apparently I had a lot to say about this one. *lol* Please excuse the book length review. I did enjoy this one a lot and definitely, recommend it and I can’t wait to read Coop’s story! Two thumbs up from yours truly.