Make Me Stay is the fifth book in the Hope series by Jaci Burton. While I have been a huge fan of Jaci for years now, I haven't read any of this series before. I love her books though, so I was really looking forward to this story. While it did have plenty of sweet moments, this wasn't my favorite book of hers. I liked the characters well enough, but I just felt like some of the heat was missing here and it didn't captivate me the way her books usually do. I wasn't sucked in right away and I kept putting it down and walking away.
Reid McCormack left his hometown of Hope years ago for Boston, but when he returns for his brother's wedding he finds a reason to stick around a little longer. As a successful architect, Reid is looking forward to renovating the old town mercantile. But he knows that once the project is done, he will return home to Boston which is why he shouldn't start anything with Samantha Reasor. Sam is looking for love and is ready to settle down, and as much as she is drawn to Reid she knows that he isn't what she needs. But while Reid is in town, she figures that they can become friends and possibly even have a fling. As Reid and Sam get to know one another and grow closer, they find themselves feeling far more than they planned on.
I liked both Reid and Sam. Reid was sweet and sexy, and just an all around good guy. Sam was smart and kind, and really easy to root for. While these two did have friendship and chemistry, their relationship was definitely a slow burn. They took their time to get to know one another, and while that was enjoyable there were times that I wanted more. I didn't think that their story packed the same punch as some of Jaci's other books. It was great to see them get to know one another though, and I did find their relationship and the connection they shared to be believable.
Part of my problem here though was one I have had with the last few books of Jaci's that I have read. While I love a series and getting to see familiar faces, I feel like lately she puts too much emphasis on past characters. They already had their books, and while it is enjoyable to catch up with them, they should not play such a huge part that their role in someone else's story becomes almost as big as the main characters. Even if I had read the previous books in this series, I really think that I wouldn't have enjoyed just how much the others were focused on here. I wish that more of the focus had been on Reid and Sam as I think that was a lot of what I was missing here. While I do think that this is a good book, it wasn't as great as I had been hoping for. As likable as the characters were, I just wasn't fully invested in their story and that had me losing interest from time to time. I still think that Jaci Burton is a great writer and this is worth the read. Fans of the series will enjoy this one, and I know I will read more from Jaci Burton in the future. I just hope that she focuses more on the main couple in her future books than she has in recent books as I feel like their connections are getting lost in the details and HEAs of other characters where they should be shining in their own stories.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**