Sunday, September 16, 2012

Always and Forever by Chantel Rhondeau

Title:  Always and Forever
Author: Chantel Rhondeau
My Rating: B-

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Main Characters: Lilly and Zach
Release Date: September 2012
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A suspected murderess flees her former life in search of tranquility, but ghosts she left behind refuse to die, threatening to destroy her happiness.

Lilly Price is desperate to escape public scrutiny once released from her incarceration. She moves to a lakeside community in hopes of remaining anonymous while rebuilding her tattered life.

Widowed Zach Woodbridge is in no hurry to find a new bride. He longs for a peaceful summer, writing at his lakeside cottage. Things change after an introduction to his grandmother’s new assistant, Lilly.

When Lilly’s secrets are revealed, can their fragile relationship weather the storm? And when a man from the past returns to reclaim Lilly, using any force necessary, can she and Zach protect the people they love?

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, mild language, sizzling love scenes.

My Review:
I love the resurgence in the romantic suspense genre so it was fun to get to read and review another new author to the genre, Chantel Rhondeau. Her first book, ALWAYS & FOREVER, features two characters that have been burned by love.

Zach married someone whom he thought he loved, but he had no idea who his first wife really was. She lied to him continually throughout their five year marriage to the point that he didn't mourn her when she died. By that point, their's was a marriage in name only. He doesn't trust his judgement anymore and he sure doesn't trust anyone who lies.

Lilly's marriage was even worse. She married someone who was incredibly abusive both physically and mentally, until he was brutally murdered. She was also seriously injured in that attack, but was still thought to be guilty of hiring the hit man to kill her husband. The unfairness of everything that happened in that circumstance was just heartbreaking. This poor girl just could not catch a break. 

So she decided to start her life over again by changing her location and her first name...and simply not disclosing absolutely everything about her past if she can avoid it. Getting hired by Zach's grandmother was the first lucky thing to happen to her. I loved his grandmother's character in the book....she's a tough old broad and she sees people as they really are. She doesn't care about Lilly's past....she knows that Lilly's a person that she likes now and she fully expects Lilly and Zach to get married...although they aren't even involved. Oh, and yeah, Zach doesn't know anything about Lilly's true history.

This is a pretty involved book. It covers several months as Lilly and Zach move from acquaintances to friends to lovers and more. You also get to watch as the suspense line ramps up. The person behind Lilly's husband's murder was never caught and now Lilly is getting stalked. To add to the suspense, she's not so sure that her stalker isn't her abusive husband, since they never found the body. There were moments throughout the book that were simply riveting. I had an idea about where the suspense line was going, but there was enough doubt to keep me guessing and reading. 

My only complaint was that I didn't quite connect with these characters. There were times when their reactions seemed, to me, to be completely over the top, but overall I enjoyed the book and trying to figure out what exactly who was behind the suspense story line.

I received a complementary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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