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5 bright stars for Always and Only
This debut novel of Gabrielle G.’s had me on an emotional rollercoaster from the very beginning. Poor Julie Legg is the victim of her boyfriend Paul Hoffman’s constant cheating and finally enough is enough. After this last scandal, she’s dejected, humiliated and just needs her best friend, Ryan Marley, to help ease her out of her misery. Only, it’s Ian Porter who comes to her door to pick her up, and she’s keenly aware of their immediate attraction.
Ian was a perfect gentleman in this book. He’s wanted Julie for years now, but just hasn’t had his chance to be with her. Their relationship almost seems doomed before it ever starts. It’s like they just can’t seem to get on the same wavelength.
He discourages her from desperate pity sex, even after she literally begged him that first night. He was super patient with her during the course of this book, at times, with startling surprise. Julie had some flighty and unjustifiable emotional breakdowns, which were frustrating and maddening to say the least. There were times when I just wanted Ian to say “this bitch isn’t worth it” and walk away because she put the poor guy through absolute Hell. Julie wasn’t your typical protagonist, but that’s actually what I liked about this story because it’s super realistic in that we don’t choose who we love and despite how irrational, selfish and ridiculous our emotions are sometimes, we are all worthy of love. And that was Ian with Julie. He forgave her over and over again for her insecure and quirky ways even when she didn’t deserve it! And trust me when I say, she had many moments where she needed to get her head out of her ass! I felt like Ian beat himself up over things that weren’t really his fault, despite how Julie felt on the matter. He was her "knight in shining armor" for sure, even when this damsel in distress needed a hard reality check.
Ryan was the best friend that tended to flirt with that line and there were times I was sure Julie and Ryan were going to end up together and thought, in fact, that maybe they should… But again, the heart wants what the heart wants. Ryan and Julie’s relationship was both complex and simple in the most beautiful of ways. I felt bad for Ryan in several moments of this book, but also wanted to smack him silly too as he spiraled out of control, wallowing in his own drama. I won’t divulge everything, you’ll just have to read it for yourself ;-)
Then there’s Ian’s family, which spun another story all together.
All in all, this was a great read with a fresh take. It was dramatic, sexy and funny! I loved the multiple characters and their stories, and I really liked that the characters were older, in their forties.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly and will definitely be reading book 2- Never and Forever!
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart!