Five years. I would have stayed away longer if I hadn’t received the letter. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her, haven’t missed her smile, haven’t wished that things were different.
The last time I saw my two best friends, I vowed to not stand in the way of their happiness, even if that meant I couldn’t be a part of their lives. Cameron James and her emerald-green eyes were too much of a temptation and I couldn’t stay and watch them together. Cameron deserved better than me. She deserved him.
But now that I am back, things are different. I’m not going to stand by and watch the woman I’ve always loved slip away again. I’m done living my life with regrets and I’m ready to tell her the truth. And I’ll do whatever it takes to show her that I always wished she was mine.
An emotional, angsty and heartfelt friends-to-lovers story as childhood best friends finally get their chance at first love.
Cameron, Everett and Aiden met as children and became instant best friends when they met at the summer camp run by Cameron’s parents. (In a gorgeous twist, Cameron is the daughter of Shelby and Eli from The Story of Us. You don’t need to have read that book first, but it is a great little tie in for fans of that book to see what became of them and their family). Through the years they shared their hopes, dreams and wishes, but though their bond was unbreakable, things changed and Everett left to live his dreams and leave his best friends to live out theirs.
Five years later and everything has changed. Aiden is gone and Everett has been left a broken shell of the man he once was. Years of travelling with Doctors Without Borders meant he has experienced horrific circumstances, but worst of all he couldn’t save his best friend. That, and he’s been pining for the love of his life. He was always close to Cameron, but he knew he loved her when he was 16 years old. He left her to what he thought was the happy life that she wanted, but he knows he’s done the wrong thing by staying away for so long, and now he’s back to make amends.
I’m so desperately in love with her I can’t think straight. But it’s not good enough, and it never will be.
Cameron has survived the loss of her two best friends, and the five year absence of the man she has loved since she was only 12 years old by throwing herself into running her family’s camp. She has tried to move on emotionally, but she’s never recovered from the loss of Everett, so when he walks back into her life, it shakes her to the core.
I hate that I’ve missed Everett so much, that a part of me wants to forgive him for everything. I hate that seeing him again gave me butterflies and made me remember all of the feelings I used to have for him. I hate that he’ll never understand how much his disappearance from my life broke my heart, because I can never tell him. I can never tell him that he always had my heart, and he took it with him when he left, because it will just make me look like a fool. A fool who waited around for years, hoping her best friend would someday fall in love with her.
These two best friends have a lot to sort through. They kept their feelings for each other a secret, both of them too afraid to risk their relationship, and after years of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, there is a lot of complicated emotion between them. But the love they always had for each other is still very much alive, and we get to see it in their heated glances, slight but meaningful touches, and fun, teasing and heated moments. They just need to work through it all and find the courage to finally open their hearts to each other.
“Everything was wrong when you were gone. Nothing made sense without you here. I didn’t know how to be happy without you. I didn’t know how to live without you.”
This is such a gorgeous love story. You can feel all of the tumultuous emotion between Cameron and Everett, and their chemistry absolutely sizzles off the page. There is so much love there, and though it’s shadowed by pain, guilt and anger, their feelings for each other shine through as they begin to realise that they can’t hold back any longer.
“You’re the only thing I’ve ever wished for.”
And when they finally take those brave steps, it’s with a sense of relief for the reader, as well as excitement and joy (and a whole lot of hotness).
Everett was wrong when he said nothing will change between us. This moment, right here…it changes everything.
And it’s about damn time.
It’s angsty and dramatic, and there’s a lot for Cameron and Everett to work through, which doesn’t end once they finally take that step. But as much as I enjoy a good build-up, I feel like I needed something a bit more from these two…But the book ends really beautifully, and the story gives us an emotionally intense read that I couldn’t put down.
Life’s too short to do something that doesn’t make you happy, and to spend your time with someone who isn’t your entire world.
I loved it. 4 stars.
An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.
After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book and she was voted as Best Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards for 2014.
In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.