Feels Like Home, an all-new emotional standalone
from Jennifer Van Wyk is available NOW!
Free in Kindle Umlimited
Andy Simpson never expected to be raising his teenage twin sons alone.
Then again, he also never expected to walk into his house and see his wife with another man. In their bed. Or that it wasn’t her first time.
Bitterness threatened to wrap around his heart, darkening every part of his life.
But a brightness he wasn’t even looking for entered their lives and wouldn’t let it take hold.
Christine Jameson knew all about being a single parent. But she was holding a secret.
A secret she wasn’t willing to allow anyone to find out. One she’d held tight for years.
But one look at Andy, and she knew that she needed to be honest with him. That he deserved to know he wasn’t alone.
They both needed friendship. Needed someone who understood, who had compassion without judgement.
What they didn’t imagine was for it to become something more.
That they would come to share something they never thought they would experience again.
They didn’t expect for it to… Feel Like Home.
I freaking LOVED this book! A gorgeous romance between an older couple – both single parents of teenagers – that have been burned badly by love, this relationship is full of emotion, fun, laughs, passion and intensity, it’s functional and heartwarming, and OMG the swoon! I devoured this book, completely caught up in the love story, and I absolutely loved it!
Andy’s world comes grinding to a halt when he finds his wife in bed with another man. He knows it’s not the first time, in fact his marriage has been in trouble for a while, but seeing it is something else entirely. He wants her gone, but when his wife takes off with no thought to him or their 14-year-old twin boys, he is left reeling at her heartlessness, and starts to descend into bitterness.
It’s the owner of the local coffee shop, Christine, who comes to his rescue. As an acquaintance/almost friend, Andy and Christine have known each other for years, but haven’t really gotten to know each other. When Christine is there for Andy when he needs somebody to lean on, it creates a spark which slowly starts to simmer.
Christine has been on her own with her now-18-year-old daughter for some years following the death of her husband. She is hiding her own dark secret, one that she reveals to Andy that draws them even closer together, and as she continues to offer her support, a friendship forms and true feelings begin to develop.
I didn’t realize I was looking for something. I felt content in the life that I was living, and then Andy walked in and shook everything up, everything that I thought I knew.
She’s just…everything that I never knew I wanted. Needed.
I love these two. Absolutely freaking love them! I love their strength, their wit and their humour. I love that they are single parents with great kids. I love that Christine is 41 and Andy is 35 and they don’t care. I love that even though they are more ‘mature’ than a lot of couples in romance, they are still playful, lively and juvenile at times. And I love that they follow their hearts with no stupid or game playing, both of them acknowledging what they are feeling and just go with it.
“I won’t ask you now. But you gotta know, when I’m free of (her)?”
It’s refreshing and exciting, and creates a spine-tingling romance as we just sit back and embrace the UST-filled build-up and watch it all happen for them.
“I know I’m not divorced. Yet. But I’m not asking you on a date. Yet. Truth time?”
“We’re not dating but we’re dating, yeah?”
I reveled in chemistry between these two! I could feel the attraction between them, and I loved the ease and natural shift from sort-of-friends to friends to so much more. It was realistic and beautifully paced, I loved the way their kids were brought into the relationship, and I just thought the whole thing was absolutely perfect as they found their new home with each other!
He rests his forehead on mine. “Thank you,” he whispers.
… “Am I? Yours?”
“You are,” he says, voice firm. “Just as much as I’m yours.”
“I like the sound of that.”
Another shout-out to Andy because I just love him! He’s kind-hearted and affectionate, single-minded when it comes to what he wants, and brave enough to go after it. He’s flirty and a bit crude, respectful yet dirty, and so freaking funny. And OMG, the man had me in swoony heaven more than once.
“You’re it for me. I can’t believe I spent so many years without knowing that, without you in my life and taking over my thoughts. But I want you to know, this isn’t just some passing thing for me. This is everything.”
With the messy tangle of their pasts there is some drama, but it is blessedly short-lived, and the resolution is incredibly satisfying and gives a great opportunity for some character development, so it fits with the story nicely and it didn’t bother me too much.
“I’m not saying I won’t fall again, but I won’t stay down. I’ll always rise up to you.”
I loved the inclusion of Andy and Christine’s kids. They are well-developed characters, and Andy’s boys in particular have a beautiful storyline that is all their own and that enhances the theme of family beautifully. I teared up a couple of times during their ups and downs, and I thought they added a lot to the story. And I’m excited that Christine’s daughter, Bri, will be getting her own book up next!
This book is a standalone but be aware that it ties in to the author’s other work. The side characters in this book have backstories and well-established dynamics, and I personally prefer to read these sorts of inter-connected standalones in order so that I can follow the characters’ stories in the order they were written in. But even though I haven’t read any of the author’s other work, Andy and Christine’s story stands strongly on its own, and I didn’t feel that their romance was lacking anything by not having read the other books. In fact, the fact that I loved this book so much makes me want to go back and read the other books, and I’ll be getting on to those as soon as I can!
This was a wonderful read that I couldn’t put down. I loved Andy and Christine’s story, and that epilogue left me with tears in my eyes and a massive grin on my face.
Absolutely beautiful – 5 stars!
An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Jennifer Van Wyk – Interconnected Standalones
Feels Like Home (Andy & Christine)
Buy: Kindle Ebook
I reach across the cushion and grasp her hand in mine, squeezing once. “I’m sorry you went through that.”
She squeezes my hand once in response. “I’m sorry you’re going through it now.”
“So, want some advice?”
“Eat more lemon pound cake?”
She releases my hand and sits back, giggling, and again I’m hit with how much I love hearing the sound of her laughter. “Well, that, too. I could even say it’s healthy because it’s made with Greek yogurt.”
“You trying to tell me something?” I tease her.
She smiles, a cross between sad and sort of resigned.
“My advice? Be happy.”
“Be happy. I promise you. First of all, it will drive Heather nuts knowing you are moving on without her. But second of all, and this is the most important part of it, you’ll be happy.”
“You make it sound so easy.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice. When Todd was at his sickest, we practiced a lot of happiness. Happiness because we had good days, or we had quiet moments to spend
as a family when he could barely get out of bed. Happiness when we were able to celebrate holidays. After he cheated, one of the things we discovered was that we could either give in to the ugly that it brought on, or we could move on. We moved on. And he had to do the same. We both had guilt. Guilt for how we got there. I questioned if I wasn’t giving him what he needed. He questioned everything. I’m not going to lie… it’s hard, and most days you’ll have to dig deep, but you’ll get there. Trust me. The light is always better than the dark.”
I lay my head on the back of the couch and turn to look at her. She’s so gorgeous it almost hurts to look at her. I’ve always thought so, though I would have never done a thing about it. She has always been the mom who turned heads.
“What was he thinking?” I murmur.
“Todd. What was he thinking?”
“When he stepped out.”
She doesn’t respond, just simply smiles before biting her lip and looking away, her long, dark, silky hair falling over her shoulder. She ducks her head and tucks a lock of hair behind her ear.
“I’m sorry,” I tell her, though I don’t know what I’m apologizing for. Almost admitting how gorgeous I think she is? Her husband cheating? Her husband dying? Me laying my shit out for her? All of it, probably.
“I’m sorry Heather’s such an asshole,” she replies with a shrug.
I bark out a laugh. “She is definitely an asshole.”
“She forgot rule number one.”
“Never mind… it was in a book I read.”
“Ahh. Good book?”
“More than good.” She gives me a ghost of a smile and reaches over to grip my hand, squeezing once before letting go. “So, what are you going to do?”
“Honestly? I have no clue. I need to find a place for the boys and me to stay, talk with a lawyer… that part I know for sure. I can’t stay with her. As sad as it sounds, and maybe it’s kind of a little mean, but I think we fell out of love a long time ago. We’ve been hanging on by a thread for years. I’m sure part of it was my fault, but still…”
“It’s no excuse. This has nothing to do with you, Andy. This is all Heather. You’re a great guy. It’s Heather’s loss.”
“I appreciate you saying that.”
“It’s the truth.”
From the Ground Up was Jennifer’s first published novel and now that she was bitten by the writing bug, has no intention of ever stopping. Jennifer makes her home in small town Iowa with her high school sweetheart, three beautiful, hilarious and amazing kids, one crazy Jack Russell terrier. This is where her love for all things reading, baking, and cooking happen. Jennifer’s family enjoys camping, boating, and spending time outside as much as possible. You’ll be her best friend if you can make her laugh and follow up with asking her what to read next. When she’s not writing, you can find her cheering the loudest at her kids’ sporting events (read as: embarrassing them), sipping coffee or iced tea out of a mason jar with her Kindle in her lap or binging on Netflix.