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Architect Ethan James’s life is a mess. He’s juggling being a single dad while fighting his infuriating ex who’s trying to get full custody, while at the same time he’s barely keeping his head above water in the job of his dreams. When he meets Mia Sullivan at a friend’s engagement party, her bright spirit and kind heart shines a light into his life when he needs it most. With so much coming at him from all directions, he relies on Mia’s support but makes the heartbreaking mistake of not cherishing her love. Mia sees the writing on the wall and pulls back before her heart is shattered. Ethan can’t lose the woman who makes his life complete, and shows her he is the man she needs him to be.
Read an Excerpt
“Tell the others we’re going.”
She nodded, then winked. I grinned back as Ethan pulled me away. We hurried through the crowd, Ethan leading the way as he gripped my hand. His long legs were striding and I struggled to keep up.
“You in a hurry?” I asked.
He turned to me but didn’t smile. Instead, he kissed me, and my toes curled.
When he closed the door, he stood in front of me and pinned me to the car with his hips as he kissed me again. I could kiss this man forever. His strong, steady rhythm was demanding, and I willingly followed his lead. I put my hands in his hair, loving the soft feel of it between my fingers. Like on the dance floor, our kiss took on a life of its own.
When he buried his face in my neck and sucked right below my ear, I wondered if I would survive. “Ethan, honey, you’re killing me. I hope you have a lot of condoms.” He chuckled at my neck. “I’ll buy a box for next time.” It took me a moment before I realised he wasn’t moving anymore. “Ethan?” I whispered.
“Do you want a next time?” His voice was rough.
He shifted to look at me, and I didn’t know if it was a trick question. “Of course.” I smiled, although the protracted silence had my stomach starting to drop.
Realization hit me like a slow-moving truck.
“I can only give you tonight.”
“Why?” I didn’t like the sound of my voice. It was small and fragile. He didn’t answer, but he looked haunted. He wasn’t going to answer me. “You only want tonight?” I still hoped I was reading this wrong.
When he nodded, I felt something break in me. Something I had pretended was strong and secure.
“I can’t do that,” I whispered. “Not with you.” My voice cracked under the weight of unshed tears. I couldn’t let it happen again. I wanted more.
“Mia…” He moved back, his hands still on my hips.
We were still close, but not.
“I don’t do well with one-night stands. There isn’t anything wrong with them, but I’m not built that way. Especially when I… care. I can’t turn my feelings off and I don’t think I should have to. I like you, Ethan, and I want to be with you like this and like we were today. I want more than sex, and I thought you wanted that, too.” By the end of my speech, any effort to hide my tears was futile.
“I can’t give you that.” He moved back, breaking our connection completely.
“You mean you won’t.”
“It isn’t like that.”
He reached for me, but I moved to the side.
“It’s exactly like that. I should’ve known better.” I righted my clothing and pushed off the car. I’d made it two steps before he grabbed my elbow and turned me around.
“Trust me. I don’t want to hurt you.” His expression was full of pain and grief.
“Too late.” I pulled out of his hold.
This time, he let me.
Ever read a book that just sneaks up on you? What I mean is that you read the blurb, it’s interesting but you think, how is the author going to shake up some tried and true tropes that a lot of authors go to when they are writing a series? Let’s talk about the tropes, shall we? Single dad, horrid ex, cute child, cute meet with the woman of your dreams, lots of sexy times and family times. Hero takes for granted what is in front of him. The heroine has been down this road before and decides no more. Tears, a runaway child and a hero that FINALLY gets his stuff together. Heard it before, right? Well, let me tell you what makes this book shine about the others.
The characters for one. Ms. Simpson makes you care about every single character in the book. No matter who they are. I actually felt compassion for Miranda (Ethan’s ex) during the book. Was she annoying at times? Yes, but in the end, you will understand her much better and her motivation towards Ethan and all the hard times that they had to go through. Normally I think the ex in a book is unnecessary but in this case, Miranda is very important not only for Ethan and Mia but also for Sadie’s (their daughter) relationship with Mia.
Mia could have been written as a carpet by just letting Ethan walk all over her but she didn’t. Did it hurt? Yes, but she knew that going in with Ethan. What made Mia better than most other heroines is that she finally got some closure with her ex-boyfriend in the end. She needed to go forward with her life after Ethan. Even better was how her ex stood up for Mia in the end.
Ethan is messed up at the beginning of the book. He could have come across as one of the biggest arses in the world but Ms. Simpson has you actually like him from the beginning. Sadie is his saving grace in the end. Plus, I really liked his relationship with his parents. They are there for him and Sadie. And Mia, too. Plus, Sadie is an actual character in the book. She is extremely important to not only the story in general but also Ethan and Mia’s relationship.
Ms. Simpson’s writing is crisp, fluid and I literally never put the book down. It’s an easy read but one that is also emotional, heartwarming and swoon-worthy in the end. I will warn you that the setting is Australia, some of the language is Aussie but I personally love it when an author writes a book in their native language and setting. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything Australian.
I adored Mia and Ethan. When it came to character growth, Ethan had to grow the most. Did I understand what made Mia and Ethan tick? Yes, I did. Was it a hard road for them? Yes, but it was necessary for the relationship to even work. They both had to want it bad enough to even try. Too bad that it took some tears to shed before it was all said and done. There was never a dull moment in the book.
About the Author: As a girl growing up in Australia, Laura was lost in the world of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. During high school, volleyball dominated her life. There had to be something positive about being 6’1” with red hair. Representing Australia from a young age she eventually took a scholarship at the University of Iowa. Living in America and being a full time athlete in a college town was an eye-opening experience and lots of fun (from what she can remember). #gohawkeyes
Returning from the States, her career took a different turn as she started working at the Red Cross and completed her Masters of Law in Human Rights. As one of the few non-lawyers in the class, her essays were far more floral than the rest, something that caused the discerning professors to shake their heads. Through working and studying, she realised there are other ways to win hearts and minds.
While she’s spent the last 14 years as an advocate against poverty and homelessness, the desire to change the world through storytelling has only got stronger. She now lives in the Alpine Valleys of North East Victoria, Australia with her husband, daughter, son, two dogs and seven chooks. When she’s not doing the whole mum thing, working at a homelessness agency, renovating her farmhouse, or trying to do laundry bleary-eyed at midnight, she is writing.
Say G’day to Laura: