Thursday, August 14, 2014

Always In by M.R. Joseph

 My name is Raphael Cruz. I was once a man made up of only flesh and bone. Never feeling, just existing. I indulged in the pleasures that others gave to me, and those I gave to them. That's all it was—pleasure. Physical pleasure. No emotions, no attachments. I didn't need all those feelings, didn't want them. There was no longing for love, no longing to let anyone in. Until I found her. And I gave in. Harlow Hannum showed me what love was all about. I savored it and held it close, not even knowing I really wanted it in my life. She made me feel loved. She made me accept love. She taught me how to love in return. My heart was open to it all. My heart was hers. It belonged to her. But, she never knew. And then lies, deceit and betrayal forced me to lose the one thing that made me more than a man who just existed. I should have told her I loved her when I had the chance. I should have told her I gave in to all the powers that love possess. Will I ever have the chance to tell her? Will my past mistakes never give me that chance?


Before I get to my review, here's a little mood music.

Always In Playlist :

Rating : 5 Chirps

Let's be real for a second.  There are people in our lives, fictional and reality, that hop on our last nerve and hump the shit out of it.  We love them anyway.  My mother used to tell me "I love you but I don't like you right now" whenever I would get in one of these moods.

Well, Harlow, I love you but I didn't like you through most of this book.

Memories are supposed to live forever.  

...But what happens when they don't?  If you've read Giving In *SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T* you know Harlow was in a horrific accident at the end of the book.  This left her without many of the memories that she made with Cruz, though she did remember their first meeting and their blossoming friendship.  That first meeting, though?  I could lose every memory I've ever made tomorrow and remember that scene.  EPIC!

Anyway, Cruz has been by her side since her first night in the hospital.  But she doesn't remember their love, and he is overcome with it.  She's more than a little freaked out by his lovey dovey nature and the fact that he won't stop kissing her.  (Wow, hardship there.  I don't know how I could survive it either.)  So, Cruz has to go.  Harlow needs her time to heal.  Let her memories come back on their own.

So, Cruz, he's gotta find a way to move on.  Right?  Well, instead of women, he turns to the bottle.  Sandy Cove residents quickly label him the town drunk, and their little circle of friends are more than a little worried about him.  Harlow even eventually finds it in her heart to meet him for coffee and try to set at least their friendship back on the right path.  This opens a door for Cruz to spend time with her and make her fall in love with him all over again, or preferably remember the special love they shared before.

Now, here's where I lose my mind a little bit.  Tragedy gives you a little bit of a pass.  But stupidity is stupidity, broken brain or not.  During this little coffee meeting, Harlow tells Cruz that she doesn't plan to date anyone, obviously in an attempt to head him off at the pass there.  She just needs to focus on her healing, she says.

We all know where this is going, right?

Enter Daniel, the new teacher where Harlow and Willow work.  Good looks?  Check.  Charming personality?  Check.  British accent?  Check.  Great with kids?  Check.  Has a child of his own?  CHECK.

For Harlow, he's got everything on her list for the perfect man, and he's interested in her.  Forget Cruz and the fact that the man is hurting something fierce, that accent requires extra panties in the purse.  So she's going for it.  Obviously, things get serious, and Cruz is left twisting in the wind.

In case we haven't noticed it, this is what pisses me off about Harlow.  I'm obviously #TeamCruz 100%.  That man came so far for her, and she was clearly better with him than without him.  Before he helped her open up, Harlow came off a bit snobby and pretentious, hiding behind her brains and big words to defend her heart.  I get it.  I do.  But she seemed to go right back there the minute she woke up, and didn't even bother trying to be decent at being human.  Even after she started having dreams about Cruz, she didn't just say "hey, let's spend some time together and see what happens.".  She knew what would happen, but Daniel was perfect on paper.  Stubborn, and maybe even a little bit selfish, she had to have him.

What's so impressive about an accent anyway?  I have muscles...and tattoos.  -  Cruz

Indeed, Cruz, indeed.  As I mentioned, Cruz had an opening to her life.  And it seemed that at most turns, he was tossed another one.  That man wasn't about to give up, even when he found out she was seeing someone else.  He takes a few drastic measures, but he eventually gets her right next to him.  Until morning comes, at least.  She goes back to Daniel, though.  Cruz is a little more heartbroken each time she reels him and throws him back.  Eventually he's done with it, and moves in with his brother and sister-in-law, and Rafe the Rake is back.

Now, here's where I end my review.  Because I don't want to give away the ending.  You want to know what happens next, get the book!  And if you aren't even sure what I'm talking about to this point, get the first one too!

See where it all started.....

Giving In
The Shore Series #1
Raphael Cruz doesn't do it. He just doesn't. Cruz doesn't fall in love. He's a "get in and get out" kind of guy. Ladies love him and fall all over him for his swoon worthy good looks and overwhelming sex appeal. He knows how to talk to them and tells them exactly what they want to hear. When he's done making them scream his name, he shows them straight to the door. The meaning of the word love doesn't exist in his world. But that could all change with a wink of a girl's eye... And one hot-as-hell romp in a bar bathroom. Harlow Hannum is your typical girl-next-door. She has the brains, the beauty, and the money. What she doesn't have is the luxury of being someone's first choice in the game of love. She always comes in a distant second place, leaving her guarded with her feelings. Lies, betrayal, and secrets of her past follow her wherever she goes, no matter how hard she tries to hide them. That is until she's reunited with the one guy who can ignite the spark in her heart that's been extinguished for so long. With sunny days, heated nights, and love lingering in the air in the beach town of Sandy Cove anything can happen. Especially when fate steps in for Harlow and Cruz. Will their blossoming friendship turn into unexpected love or will the collision of their opposing worlds be the end of what could have been?


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I'm going to go ahead and leave you with this final quote, though...

Love gets you so much.  It's not worthless, it gives you nobility.  It gives you hope.  - Cruz

Author Biography:
I'm a book enthusiast, turned author, who loves all things "Happily Ever After".

My first book, 'Reunion' debuted in November, 2012. Meant only to be a Christmas gift to my family and closest friends, word got out, and here I am. The second in the
series, 'You Belong With Me', released in March, 2013, and the final installment in the series, 'Letters to Luca', released August 2013.

Mom and wife by day, writer of contemporary romance by night, I believe in soul mates, true love, and all that mushy stuff.

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Thanks to HEA Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful lady's tour!

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