Author: Melissa Collins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date:April 7, 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
For Lucy Crane, the answer is simple: her daughter. When her husband is killed in a tragic accident, Lucy loses her desire to live, but only one thing keeps her going – her unborn daughter. Focusing on being a mother helps Lucy cope with her loss, but kids grow up and they leave home, eventually. Eighteen years after losing her first and only love, Lucy is faced with the opportunity to find the happiness for which she’s always longed. Her own fears become her worst enemies as she learns how to embrace love once again.
Evan Donovan is also facing his own struggles. Forced to retire from the FDNY because of lung damage caused by 9/11, Evan moves to upstate New York where he hopes to find a little peace and quiet. Old habits die hard, and Evan’s hero complex and survivor’s guilt constantly remind him of how difficult it is to be vulnerable. But for the first time in his life, he’s tired of being alone.
Drawing strength from one another, Lucy and Evan discover how beautiful it is to let love be a part of their lives.
Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.
Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.
“Oh, I love this movie.” She settles on Forrest Gump as I grab my second slice.
“So, you already know about my history. What about you? Have you ever been married?” Forrest’s proposal to Jenny plays in the background.
“No. I mean, I’ve had a few relationships here and there, but work always got in the way. Staying single was somehow easier.”
“Same here. I mean, when Melanie was a kid, it was much easier to just focus on that part of my life.”
“Now?” I hazard a question that takes even me by surprise.
She puts her plate down on the coffee table and swallows back a large sip of water. “Now, I’m not so sure.”
Suddenly, my mind races with the possibilities of what her words mean. It’s crazy to think how just a few encounters with Lucy have made me re-evaluate my feelings. Obviously, she feels the same way. A calm and peaceful air falls on us as a small smile curls at my lips.
A comfortable silence fills the space as we watch the movie, recalling some memories when certain scenes come up.
Nothing prepares me for Lucy’s reaction when Jenny and Forrest get married and she tells him she’s sick. I try not to look at her, wanting to avoid making her feel like she’s in the spotlight or anything like that. I do notice a few stray tears streaking down her cheeks so I can only imagine what’s to come.
As we watch Forrest sitting beside Jenny’s grave, reading a letter from their son, Lucy reaches for a napkin. Clutching it to her chest, I can see her breathing rapidly. What were just a few tears earlier is now a steady stream. She doesn’t say anything, won’t even look at me, but I can’t watch her cry like this.
I shift on the small, overstuffed sofa and drape my arm around her. The top of her head fits perfectly into the crook of my shoulder. The scent of her hair takes over my senses; the sound of her softly sniffling through her tears tugs at my heart.
I alternate between squeezing her arm and tracing my fingers up over her shoulder. When she seems to have gathered her emotions, calming down a bit, my instincts take over and I act seemingly without thinking.
Or maybe I am thinking and I’m just afraid of what I’m thinking.
Gently pressing my lips to the top of her soft, brown hair feels like second nature. She tenses momentarily, and I realize I may have just overstepped my boundaries.
“Sorry about that.” I straighten in my seat and try to move my arm, but her fingers fall to my forearm. She looks up at me through long lashes with puffy, red eyes from crying.
“Don’t be.” Her voice is soft, angel-like. “It’s nice to be held.”
That piece of information prompts me to pull her even closer. “Well, I’m glad I could be of service.”
By Melissa Collins
Review by Wendy
First let me say I am a huge fan of this series. When I first started my blog I stumbled upon Melissa Collins and soon fell in love with Maddy and Reid, then Melanie and Brian. When I found out that Melissa planned on writing the story of Lucy, Melanie's Mom, I was skeptical. First reason, we kinda knew what happened through the other books, not in detail but the gist. The second reason was that I generally am not a fan of parental love stories. I know this may sound odd, because let's face it, I'm closer to their age than a couple like Maddy and Reid. In my head though, in paternal stories, I end up thinking of my parents or the like, so I can never really get into the story.
So with this story I went into it very skeptical because of past experiences. Boy did Melissa prove me all kinds of wrong. She hit this story out of the park.
The story really starts when Lucy and Evan are younger and the life events that would forever change their lives, relationships, outlooks, and general contentment with what they have.
Once Lucy has sent her daughter Melanie off to college and Maddy into her own home with her new family, she finally realizes how much she has thrown herself into motherhood, and now that the daily responsibility of that is gone, she's kind of alone.
Evan on the other hand has moved to be closer to his brother after Joe lost his wife to cancer. Evan had been dealing with his own issues and threw himself into his job and his "work" family.
When Lucy and Evan meet for the first time the connection is instant.
The story alternates between POV's, so we get Lucy's and Evans thoughts throughout. The storyline flowed well. The moments that interlace with the previous book were seamless and didn't leave me trying to figure out what was going on. Melissa gave these characters such depth and growth during the story. And, as always, Melissa knows how to thread romance and intimacy into a story.
This is a 5 star read and I tip my hat to Melissa for changing my perception. Bravo.