Friday, August 22, 2014

Stay with Me by Sharla Lovelace

Title: Stay with Me 
Author: Sharla Lovelace
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: -
Main Characters: Savi, Ian, and Duncan
Release Date: August 2014
Publisher: Beyond the Page
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
From national bestselling author Sharla Lovelace, comes another romantic and heartwarming novel set in the heart of Texas.

“Sharla Lovelace’s quirky characters and realistic Texas settings put her solidly on my auto-buy list.” 

—Kelsey Browning, author of the Texas Nights series 

Ian was the wild boy every girl dreams of, a renegade who thrived on breaking the law and setting Savi’s body on fire. It was all fun and games and hot excitement, no strings attached, until the one day he got serious—and then disappeared without a trace.

Savi has spent the ten years since committing herself to her work, her daughter, and to not thinking about Ian—or love. Just when it’s possible she might have found the one man who can change her mind, Ian pulls into town, bringing with him all of the lust, danger, and excitement Savi remembers.

As Ian stirs up old feelings and draws Savi back into memories and passion she’s too weak to fight, he’s also digging up dirt on the man Savi is falling for, doing everything he can to prove that Duncan is not who he seems to be. And Savi, unsure whether she can trust either man, will be forced to decide between rekindling a love that never really burned out and building a new one that looks ready to catch fire.

My Review:
I've made no secret about my love for Sharla Lovelace's writing over the last year or so. Since I discovered her, I've devoured her books. This one follows a similar path as the others and since I've loved the others, I really enjoyed this one too. But I will tell you up front...I guessed wrong on this one.

This book features a love triangle and an unusual heroine. Savi grew up doing all the wrong things with the bad-boy, Ian. They were constantly in trouble and breaking all the rules and laws...a fact that is shown over and over throughout the book as Savi checks security cameras everywhere and has mental "criminal-like" observations whenever she enters a new place. They did it so much, it's just something that is ingrained in her. After she had her baby, Abby, things calmed down more for Savi, but Ian never seemed settled. They had a friends-with-benefits arrangement until Abby turned 10. Then, something changed and the two committed to forever with each other...4 days later, Ian was screwing someone else and then gone. Savi lost more than her love and lover...she lost her best friend and she's never recovered.

The book takes place 11 years later when for the first time ever, Savi actually is interested in a guy...the new vet, Duncan. After months of flirting with him and taking her dog in for non-existent conditions to check, she finally just asked him out. He said yes. Of course, this is romance land where nothing is that easy. The morning of their date, Ian shows back up in town, looking sexy as ever and obviously still has feelings for Savi.

This book is tough in that Ian broke Savi's heart. Not only did he break her heart, but he cheated...something that makes me feel sick every time I think about it. The book is told entirely from Savi's point of view, but even with that, you can see how deep Ian's emotions still run for her. For her, that day was the end of them. For him, he's never let go. (There is a whole story line of why it happened and the things happening with these small town businesses that affect both Savi's business and Ian's family's business and is why he's come back to town.) Even though Ian is the bad-guy, it was so hard to see how much he cared for Savi and not feel sympathy and empathy for him. He loves her and that's never a bad thing. There are flashback scenes throughout the book of the two of them from before that broke my heart. Every time one of them started, the tears started flowing...simply grief for what they lost...what he ruined. It's sad.

But on the other hand is Duncan...really a great almost every way, but he has secrets too which make it so hard for Savi to trust again, despite her growing feelings for him. The one other guy she loved and trusted with everything betrayed her in the absolute worst way and it's hard for her to get past that. But despite all that and her remaining feelings for Ian, there's no denying that Duncan and Savi have chemistry too. And with every date, her emotions and attachment to him grow. They are good together...unlike her flash-fire reactions to Ian, which are hot, but burn her every single time. Duncan is so sweetly serious about her. I loved the flashes of emotion we get that prove just how much he's invested in them. His back-story broke my heart and proved just how much he "needed" Savi in his life.

I'll admit, I thought Savi would end up with the other guy. I won't give any spoilers, but I completely understand why she didn't. Honestly, both these guys REALLY care for her and in that respect, there are no bad choices. They both simply want her to be happy, which is so obvious in the final scenes when everything played out. My heart still broke for the other guy, but I was happy with the Happily Ever After that happened. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review, but plan to buy a print copy (if it's available) for my keeper shelf.

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