⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sweet, but…

Not gonna lie, I found this to be incredibly frustrating to read. There is no denying that Corinne Michaels is a talented writer, infusing this with so much emotion and creating characters you can root for. There are some sweet and tender moments that will give you all the feels, and the depth of emotion between these two (shown both in present day and flashbacks to their younger years) is obvious from the start. However, this is plagued by NON-STOP OW/OM drama, with near-constant references to relationships from our couple’s past. At least one of their exes was mentioned in pretty much every chapter, and that was extremely off-putting to me.

The story follows Teagan and Derek, former friends who are both single parents to teenage daughters. They both had feelings beyond friendship in high school/college, but neither one got up the nerve to express how they felt. Teagan had a long-term boyfriend that lead to a pregnancy, and Derek married the girlfriend he got pregnant. After that, their friendship came to an abrupt end, and over a decade has passed since they’ve seen each other. Now that Derek is back in town, they have a second chance to get things right.

If you’re looking for a heavy, angsty read with splashes of lightness (there are some really touching scenes between these two), then this is that. The writing is solid, mixing flashbacks with present day to tell the full story of Teagan and Derek’s relationship. While I enjoyed the friendship and sweetness, I personally just couldn’t handle the number of references to their exes. Nothing takes you out of a romance faster than hearing about how the hero was thinking of another woman the entire time he was married, or how the heroine stayed with her boyfriend as a shield. There’s no physical cheating, but…. I can’t say the same about emotional. Without the emphasis on that, this easily would’ve been a 4 or 5 star read for me, but it’s not something I could move past. If that’s something you can handle, I’m sure you’ll love the book. I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review of this formers friends to lovers romance.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2Wfx6kp

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2TLJHdh

Audiobook: https://amzn.to/33kxz6b


BLURB:

From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Time comes a breathtaking story about first love, second chances, and starting over.

Teagan Berkley is trying her best. A single mom raising a precocious teen, she may have given up on her dreams, but she’s accepted her life in her small beachside hometown. Now the one person who abandoned her when she needed him the most has returned, bringing back memories of what might have been.

Derek Hartz arrives in town with a teenage daughter – and he’s full of guilt over his failed marriage and the way he ended his friendship with Teagan. He’s determined to set things right with her, but first he needs to gain her trust. Something he’s not convinced he deserves.

As Teagan and Derek open up to each other—and confess their deepest secrets—it’s impossible for them to deny what’s always been between them. But just when their happily ever after is within reach, their complicated history surfaces again and threatens to keep them apart. Forever.

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