I’ll be the first to admit that I would’ve abandoned this after the first chapter had I not committed to reading an ARC. There, I said it. It’s wholly and positively problematic. But I continued on and the book got so much better that I’m choosing to pretend the first chapter didn’t happen (more on that in a minute). It’s an emotional friends to lovers romance where you never question that the couple should end up together – there are just a lot of obstacles in their path. This hero is one you’ll swoon over and the deep love between them won me over despite some pacing issues. It’s angsty and sexy and while I never grew to love the book, I did enjoy it from second chapter to finish.
The story follows Devney and Sean, longtime friends who are living in the same town for the first time in years. They’ve always been close but the distance has allowed them to keep some secrets – including Sean’s attraction to Devney. But now that they’re both back in their hometown for six months, they’re closer than ever and… let’s just say that feelings are out in the open. As the two struggle with the new developments in their relationship, they wonder if there’s a way that they can make things work in the longterm. They both have roots in their respective homes, and love may not be able to overcome the hurdles.
As always with Michaels, this is well written and emotional. Her brand of angst doesn’t always work for me, so the rocky start had me nervous. But this transitions into a very solid friends to lovers romance that embraces the emotion. I never questioned Devney or Sean’s feelings, and the storyline is not the usual for this trope. So what had me so upset at the beginning? This happens in the first chapter so I don’t consider it a spoiler – Sean admits that he always hooks up with girls who look like Devney because he really wants her (gag), and then they kiss… even though she has a serious boyfriend. So there’s both OW drama and cheating in the first chapter. Lovely. That kiss definitely impacts the pacing in the rest of the book – it’s all out in the open right away – which I sometimes found a bit disconcerting. I think the back half is a lot stronger and thankfully there’s no more OW/OM drama, so it settles into one of the better books I’ve read by Michaels. I loved Sean, I loved their connection, but I had a more difficult time connecting to Devney and it wasn’t just because of the beginning. Would I have rated this higher if not for the beginning? Maybe, but it greatly impacted my feelings about both characters from the start, so I can’t be sure. Ultimately, this sits somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me. I received an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review of this angsty romance.
An all new and endearing friends-to-lovers story…
The One for Me by New York Times bestselling author Corinne Michaels is now live!
Devney Maxwell has been my best friend since we were six years old, but she has no idea I’m in love with her.
Even when I’m on the road playing professional baseball, she’s my home–the only one I’ve ever known. But when I return to Sugarloaf to care for the family farm, I discover she’s trying to talk herself into a life with the wrong man … and I become desperate.
It only takes a single, perfect kiss to change everything.
I have six months to get it right with Devney–to convince her to leave this town and turn that kiss into forever.
I aim to do just that as I spend my days coaching her nephew’s baseball team, fixing up the farm, and loving her with all I have. Finally, it seems like our relationship is secure and we’ll find a way to make it work.
Then tragedy strikes … changing her life forever. She’s needed here more than ever, but as for me–there’s no way I can stay.
I know she’s the one for me, but I might have to let her go …
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“Don’t play that crap with me, Sean Arrowood. I know you better. You want the wife and kids. You always have. The issue that you have is that you’re stupid.”
She nods. “Yup. S-T-U-P-I-D. And dumb.”
“They mean the same thing.”
“It required the extra punctuation at the end.”
God, I love the side of her that is smart-mouthed, fearless, and relaxed. She’s only this way with me. Or at least, that’s what I’d like to think.
The last ten years have been hard on our friendship. We both went off to college, I had baseball and she was studying. We’d see each other on breaks, but after the accident that changed the trajectory of my life, I stayed in Maine, and we rarely saw each other.
However, when I had a series in New York, Devney came. If I was in Philly, she would find a way to meet me, and I flew her down to Tampa a few times.
Now, though, I’ll be around her so much more, and I know these feelings aren’t going to go away, they’ll get stronger.
Yeah, I guess I really am stupid.
“Well, I may be stupid, but at least I’m not settling.”
She sits up, slapping her hand on the couch cushion. “Settling?”
“Yeah. You may love Oliver, but he doesn’t make you crazy.”
Devney shifts back. “You’re making me crazy right now.”
I shrug. “You love me.”
“It helps that you’re hot.” Devney quickly covers her hand over her mouth. “I did not mean it that like that.”
I grin and lean toward her. “You think I’m hot?”
“I think you’re mediocre. God knows your harem of . . . whatever you call them . . . think you are.”
For so long I’ve fought against telling her anything about how I feel. How those women are faceless and mean nothing to me. It’s always her. Always a brunette who I seek out, hoping to find just a piece of something like her that I can cling to, but I never say it.
Then I wonder, maybe this is the perfect time. Oliver is going to propose. Oliver will marry her, and I won’t have a god damn thing to say about it because I will have never told her.
Plus, she’s drunk.
Maybe she won’t remember it.
“Maybe so, but I’m not asking them. Plus, all the girls I’m attracted to look like you.”
Devney laughs while shaking her head. “Well, it has to be tough kissing your best friend, right?”
And in that moment, I know what I’m going to do. It doesn’t matter that it’s stupid or wrong. I no longer care about her boyfriend or how this moment will undoubtedly change everything between us because she will marry him when he asks. Devney won’t falter. She’ll cling to the safe, and I am not that, but I love her.
I lean closer and her eyes study my movement. With a trembling hand, I cup her face and brush my thumb against her soft skin. Everything freezes around us as I feel the warmth emanating from her. Our breaths mingle as the distance closes. “I don’t know, but I’d like to see if it’s tough to kiss you.”
I wait, giving her one last chance to push me away, but instead, her tongue moves against her pink lips, which is all the invitation I need.
I lean in, my lips touch hers, and I know my life hasn’t just changed, it’s been completely upended.
Corinne Michaels is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of romance novels. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love, and she enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak before finding a way to heal them through their struggles.
Corinne is a former Navy wife and happily married to the man of her dreams. She began her writing career after spending months away from her husband while he was deployed–reading and writing were her escapes from the loneliness. Corinne now lives in Virginia with her husband and is the emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun-loving mom of two beautiful children.
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