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The start of Karina Halle’s North Ridge series brings us a sweet and super romantic second chance romance with lots of heart, steamy time and a bit of angst, and I was easily swept up into wild life on the Ravenswood ranch in British Columbia as we are introduced to the incredible Shane Nelson and the one that got away.
“Your heart is where my home is. I’ll go wherever your heart goes.”
Best friends, childhood lovers, soulmates. Shane and Rachel were stuck to each other from the moment they met each other as nine year olds. Over the years their relationship easily and naturally developed, and they became each other’s whole worlds, falling in love, planning a future together and knowing that they would be together forever. Until one fateful night changed everything, prompting Rachel to leave town, leaving them both shattered without each other.
Six years later, Shane is running his family’s ranch and Rachel has returned to their small country town to care for her sick mother. And from the moment they lay eyes on each other once again, all of that chemistry, all of the hurt, love and longing that has been festering since they parted all comes rushing back.
Do you feel it? I want to ask her.
Do you still feel what we had together?
Did you ever think of me on cold nights?
Did you feel that longing in your bones for just one more moment, one more chance?
But while Shane sees the opportunity as the second chance he never thought he would get, Rachel has put up walls to protect herself, and she has no intention of letting them down. And so begins the epic chase as Shane begins to fight for his girl and the life he wanted with her, pouring his heart out and working to win her over.
“I missed you. Always. You’re standing right in front of me and I still miss you.”
OMG, Shane absolutely stole my heart. He is a man who is unashamedly and unapologetically in love, and his determination and heartfelt declarations had me in a puddle of swoon from start to finish.
“Rachel, I love you. I loved you then, I love you now, and I loved you in all the light and darkness in-between. I love you with a wildness I can’t tame.”
He has a battle on his hands though, because Rachel has been holding on to their devastating break in an attempt to try and forget about her past, and he not only has to atone for the past, but also win her trust. And for two people that so clearly belong together, it’s a bit of an angsty ride waiting for the inevitable to happen. There are ups and downs, and lots of emotion, but it’s a deliciously romantic ride.
“Dammit, Rachel … This isn’t over. You know it isn’t. You can’t just come here and tell me that I’m not worth another chance. You can’t pretend that you don’t want me, need me. Fucking hell, I’ve been needing and wanting you every single day since you left and I refuse to believe that you haven’t felt the same way.”
I really enjoyed this story, and I liked the glimpses into Shane and Rachel’s past as secrets are revealed, and the truth behind their heartache is finally revealed. But I admit I did get a bit annoyed at their situation. Not only for how long it too Rachel to come around, but for two people as intensely connected as they were, their break up seemed a bit sudden and Rachel was way too quick to think the worst of Shane. I get that she was upset, but I couldn’t believe that she dismissed him so easily after all that they had been through together and the love that they so clearly had for each other. And with the reason for their break up taken out of the picture years before Rachel returned to town, I had to wonder why Shane didn’t make any attempt to track her down earlier?
I liked the strong theme of family, and especially the introduction to Shane’s two older brothers, Maverick and Fox. The set ups are there for their stories, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on their books.
Overall, this was a great read. Sweet, sexy and beautifully swoony, and a strong start to the series.
For more great reads, check out our Karina Halle Author Spotlight