Buy: Kindle Ebook | Paperback
A beautiful story of first love and second chances.
4 stars and all the feels
I’m always a sucker for a story where childhood best friends fall in love – throw in a second chance romance and I’m like a moth to the flame! This is the debut novel for Amie Knight, and she has given us a book that is sweet, funny, emotional, gorgeously swoony, sexy and romantic, and I loved it!
The book begins in the past, introducing us to 8 year old Ainsley and her 6 year old cousin, Lori. As close as sisters, their childhood is a mostly happy one, and it only gets better when also-8 year old Adrian moves in next door. He and his father are new to town, moving in after the devastating loss of his mother and sister. He needed a friend, and the three of them quickly became each others’ whole world. They were the best of friends, spending every day – and some nights – together, sharing the highs and lows of life as they grew up.
Ainsley and Adrian, in particular, developed a special bond. Adrian’s home life was difficult, but Ainsley was a fixer and she was there for him whenever he needed her, and over time the connection they shared grew to become something so much more.
“Sunshine, I’m going to kiss you. I can’t stop. I know it will change everything. But I can’t not kiss you. Not for one more minute.”
I love stories of first love! The friendship, the tingly feelings, the fear of the unknown, it’s all so exciting, and the fact that Adrian and Ainsley were already a huge part of each others’ lives made it so much more special.
“I knew you’d taste like that,” he said…
“Like you’re mine.”
But an unexpected tragedy changes everything and Ainsley, unable to cope, feels the only thing she can do is run. It’s four years later when bad news brings her running back home. Now 22, she is a broken shell of the bright, happy girl that she used to be, and she has put up walls to protect her heart, hiding her true self. She knows coming home means she will need to face up to the grief she has been running from for so long, and she knows it means she needs to face up to the man that she hurt so badly.
Adrian was shattered when Ainsley left him and he has tried his best to move on, but her place in his heart and his close ties to her family mean that he has never forgotten her. He is understandably furious at her sudden reappearance, and I could feel everything that he was feeling, and I loved that he holds nothing back from her.
“I never expected you to willingly leave me, Ainsley. You weren’t supposed to do that. You were supposed to be there for me like you’d been for ten damn years. I couldn’t fucking come after you because you’d crushed me. I couldn’t come to you after that. I still can’t. I’m still too damn hurt.”
OMG, the feeeeeeels!! I was so mad at Ainsley for leaving the way she did, and my heart broke for Adrian and all that she put him through. I could relate to everything he was thinking and feeling, and I ached for him as he battled his anger at her and his anger with himself at the fact that he still feels so strongly for her.
“You’re still a fucking wreck, and it kills me that, even as shattered as you are right now, I still want you more than my next breath. Because I can see through all of this shit you try to cover up with. I see through straight to the heart of you. Straight to my Ainsley . The girl who rescued me time and time again as a kid. And I can’t help but still fucking love her. And I hate myself for it.”
There is so much pain and anger between them, and they have a difficult, angsty road ahead of them, but I was glued to my kindle through every moment of it as they fought their way back to each other. It’s painful and emotional, but the connection is still so clearly between them, and their journey of healing is beautiful. The pacing is realistic, and there is laughter, sweetness and tears, as well as moments of incredible hotness and romance that made me swoon. It unfolds beautifully, and I loved it!
That’s the thing with loving someone so deeply – it doesn’t go away simply because that person does something awful to you. It doesn’t just go away because you want it to. Love could be as cruel as it could be wonderful.
The story is written in dual POV, getting us into the heads of both characters, and though I enjoyed them both, it’s Adrian that made this book for me. He is absolutely utterly perfect – a wonderful mix of loving, sensitive and vulnerable, and pure alpha hotness. His capacity to forgive is amazing and his determination to get his girl back was absolutely fantastic, and he is sexy as all hell. It’s a potent combination, and absolutely irresistible.
I’m fucking coming for you, Sunshine.
There’s a great bunch of side characters, and they each bring a lot to the story. In particular, I loved Miranda and I laughed out loud so many times at her antics. There’s a glimpse there of a future story for her and I’m hoping she gets a book, because she’s not only an absolute riot, but she’s a mad romance fan and I love her!
“She needs you. Trust Me. You’re the Mr Darcy to her Elizabeth, the Deuce to her Eva, the Joe to her Violet. She needs you to heal. She needs back her epic love to make things right.”
Jesus, I had no idea what Miranda was going on about. I didn’t even want to ask because I was positive it had to do with some of her romance book shit.
This is a beautiful book. Adrian and Ainsley stole my heart, and I was blissfully caught up in their story. Pain, grief, healing, love and joy, I felt it all, and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
“It’s always been you, Ainsley. For me, it’s always been you.”
I loved it – 4 stars.