You act so high and mighty, you and your perfect pregnant wife Alayna. With your perfect child and your perfect home.
You weren't always perfect. Your past is filled with misdeeds.
Does your wife know all your secrets?
Would she stand behind you if she did?
You think because she’s on bedrest you can protect her? How sweet.
Sleep tight, you two.
-An Old Friend.
Let me start by saying that this really isn't a standalone.
I guess, if you want to get technical, you can read this one without having met Hudson and Alayna in any previous books. Or Chandler, or Celia, or any of the other characters. You could. I suppose. You would be able to follow along, and you will know what is happening, and you will know why it matters to Hudson and Alayna in the present, and it is explaned why it matters in the past.
But, here's the thing...you wouldn't want to get just half of this story. It's just too good.
There are so many scenes in this that not only draw you into the current story, but also pull you into your memories of the stories that came before it. Of a man facing who he used to be, and is no longer, but facing it because now it seems like the person he was in the past is threatening the life he has built in the present.
Hudson wasn't always a good man. There are parts of him that are still dark, things about him that have changed, but yet he still will always be the man who was capable of the things in his past...even if he would never do them in the present. And, what a ride this takes you on as a reader, as you get to know the Hudson who has moved on while seeing glimpses of who he was.
At the core of this story you find a man who is faced with his past, who is trying to keep the things he has done in the past from altering his present. I have mentioned before that Laurelin Paige writes some of the best male POV, and this is incredibly evident here, as you see Hudson struggle with his past while still using some of those same traits to justify his actions in the present. He isn't totally honest, he's willing to bend the rules, to tell some half truths, and to use the people he needs to in order to protect the things he loves. And, it makes you question if he has really changed all that much, or if he has just developed a little bit more of a conscience to help guide him in the decisions he makes.
This book is absolutely everything you want it to be.
I recommend this title.
So I've met Hudson and Alayna before. If you haven't, I would recommend going back and starting from this couple's beginning. The story makes sense without having read the other books, sure, but it's richer when you have the complete story.
From the moment I started the book I was hooked. I loved diving back into this world, and seriously, once I started the book I couldn't stop. I needed to see how these two had grown with each other, how they'd changed...and how they could handle the new obstacles that were being thrown at them.
I enjoyed seeing Hudson wrestle his past and his present. He's not perfect, and god does that work for him. You can feel his struggles leap off the page throughout the book. I'm not a huge fan of angst, it's not my normal cup of tea. But Hudson's angst, as told by this Author? I Loved every bit of it.
I loved the pacing of this book, the flow worked perfectly. This Author always knows how to grab my attention with her words. Some lines made me melt, some had me biting my lip. There were moments that made me want to clap and cheer-I won't spoil it and say which though. Trust me, you want to read this. I highly recommend this book.
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If she’d needed a day or two in bed, upset and processing and obsessively looking through pictures of the event on social media, what would that have mattered? I trusted her to come back to me when she was through her anxiety. Maybe that was the key. Maybe she wasn't punishing me —but rather, was testing me. Seeing if I was capable of actually letting her go to work and not interfering. Not showing up, cold and demanding, when she lost track of time. Because in truth, I was the one who wasn't strong enough. For all that I blamed her for giving in to her overactive mind, I was the one who worried too much. Who was overprotective. Who couldn't handle the thought of her suffering, even only slightly. She was the one who alerted me to possibilities, her mind skittering from one thing to the next even as she stayed my rock. The truth was, without me, Alayna was still brilliant and clever and lovely and big-hearted and enough. But without her, I was nothing.
With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn't seem to complain, however. When she isn't reading or writing sexy stories, she's probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.
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