Thank you to Corinne Michaels and the team at Valentine PR for the advance reader copy of Could Have Been Us, the second story in the Willow Creek Valley series.
Omg guys I was so excited to get my hands on this ARC. If you never read Return to Us, what rock were you sleeping under its such a good book? And now we are getting the next story in the world. Stella and Jack’s story was teased in the last installment and I was very excited to get the full rundown on these two.
Check out the Goodreads synopsis…
“New York Times Bestselling author Corinne Michaels returns to the Willow Creek Valley Series in this stunning small town, brother’s best friend romance.
Fifteen years ago, I fell for Jack O’Donnell.
I was just a girl, but I knew my brother’s best friend was the only man I’d ever love.
On my eighteenth birthday, when I asked him to kiss me, I never imagined it would change my life so completely.
I gave Jack everything that night.
In order to move on, we had to go our separate ways and pretend like nothing happened… as though it wasn’t the greatest moment of my life.
But even that wasn’t as heartbreaking as the secret we were forced to keep.
I’ve tried not to think about how much I still love him. How I long to be back in his strong arms or the way his hazel eyes make my heart race.
Until he kisses me again. And this time there’s no turning back. This time I know what it means.
We belong together and there’s no use denying it any longer.
But our feelings aren’t the only thing that won’t stay buried, our past resurfaces and threatens to destroy our second chance at happiness.
When our love is tested once again, will we be strong enough to stand together?”
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Stella and Jack have always loved each other and if that plus the blurb is enough to convince you to go jump into the story. The least you know the better with this one, trust me. Now if you need a bit more, you can stick around.
- Characters: Both Stella and Jack are incredibly strong characters. Not to diminish the moments of vulnerability they both had, which showed just how human they were in the face of everything. But I was floored especially by Stella’s strength.
- Setting: Willow Creek Valley is the setting of this story. I absolutely love this little town as so many wonderful characters live there right now. Over the course of this story, Stella’s brothers all make their way home and are planning on settling back in Willow Creek Valley after they had been scattered across the country for years. This just makes me so excited for what the future books could be. Not only because of all the Parkerson brothers whose stories are yet to be told but because Willow Creek Valley is already filled to the brim with awesome women. I love the girls and especially cannot wait to get Deliah’s story next.
- Pacing: The pacing was excellent. I guessed a few plot points as they came up but that was not something that really affected my reading experience. The pacing allowed for this book to breathe and showcase just how heartbreaking it was. Heartbreakingly sweet, sad, bittersweet, and lovely.
- Romance: Stella and Jack’s relationship started with one fateful night and a hookup that ended with a pregnancy. Talk about a curveball to throw into a relationship at age, just 18 and 22 respectively and they had to deal with the emotional toll of giving up their baby. Stella’s father forced her to give the baby up and this forever damaged her relationship with Jack. Holding in a secret like that for the last twelve years was bound to bubble over. Now they are willing to fight for one another, to have that second chance, to stop wasting away convincing themselves that they feel nothing for the other. These characters had sexual chemistry that was off the charts coupled with a beautiful love that brought me to tears more than once. What can I say except for Corinne writes some of the best tearjerker romance out there.
Could Have Been Us receives five out of five stars.
You can pick up the story below…
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Thank you again to Corinne and Valentine PR for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!