After struggling for years of being away from home, Lauren Barret finally decides that she needs to return to her small home town. She has many reasons for returning, but one she hasn't told anyone about. Lauren has always had feelings for her best friend's older brother, but most people don't know that it went beyond a childhood crush. Rob has always been the hot football player that wasn't capable of much of anything. But when Lauren returns to town and the two of them begin to spend time together, Lauren is determined to show Rob how great he really is. Lauren and Rob begin seeing each other, but both of them are still dealing with their own fears and insecurities. Things are going great between them until Rob gets an opportunity too good to pass up. As Lauren and Rob are suddenly faced with a crossroads they never expected, they must decide if things between them are worth the risk.
I was surprised how much I really loved Rob. In the first book, I really felt as though he was a jerk. He didn't seem to be close to his sister Nadia, and the few interactions they had seemed cold and as though he didn't even really like her. I couldn't understand what his deal was and why he treated her the way he did. But so much about him became clear in this book, and I really got to understand who he was and what had shaped him into the person he was. I felt so badly for him, because people only seemed to care about his looks and were pretty mean to him about everything else. He felt like he was unworthy and wasn't enough for anyone, and my heart broke for him. Lauren really had her work cut out for her in convincing him that he was special and that he was worth more than anyone else gave him credit for. I loved how she never gave up on him and how supportive she was of him. She saw him when no one else did, and loved him for who he had always been. These two were so perfect for each other and they just fit so well together. It was clear that they were made for each other, and their connection to each other was as hot as their chemistry with one another.
Overall, I really liked this book and it was definitely my favorite of the series so far. I loved Rob and Lauren, and I thought that their story was really interesting. I liked getting to really know Rob and getting to see him and Lauren both growing and moving forward with their lives. I will say that the reason for this rating rather than a five star was that this book just felt long to me. I thought that it could have easily been shortened, and it had some slow moments. I found my attention wandering a few times, and I think it was because of the length. I really did enjoy the story though, and I think that this book was absolutely worth the read. Each of the books in this series can be read as a standalone, but I was really glad that I had read the first book so that I had some of the back story on Lauren and Rob. I think NA and romance fans alike will enjoy this story, and I would recommend giving it a shot.
**ARC Provided by Harlequin**
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