Wow. I'm still trying to come down from the emotional high this book caused me. It's taken me ages to be able to sit down and write a proper review because, if I'd written it immediately after finishing the book, it would have probably been a jumbled mess of words, exclamation marks, sighs and OMGs here and there. I don't think I've ever highlighted so many great lines (probably since reading Twilight).
I honestly still find it hard to believe this is the first book by this author. As soon as I finished reading it, I googled Annie Rains to find more books I could read but came up empty-handed. It's such a great book, and the writing is so good, I couldn't believe this was a debut novel. I really can't wait for the next book to be available!
I picked up this book totally by chance, just because one of my favorite authors, Laura Drewry, posted an announcement for bloggers that this novel was available on NetGalley. I read the blurb and immediately requested an ARC: come on, a small-town romance (my favorite type!) and military too? The recipe for a must-read!
I immediately started it, even though it was the weekend and I tend not to start a book on a Sunday, in case it’s one of those “I can’t put it down” books that would make me want to ditch work to keep reading the following day.
As it turned out, it was one of those books and I couldn’t wait to get home from work and squeeze in a chapter or two before bed time.
Welcome To Forever is the story of Principal Katherine Chandler, a.k.a. Kat, of Sergeant Micah Peterson and of his adorable son, Ben. Kat is grieving after the loss of her fiancé, John, who died in action two years before. She’s going through the motions, working, eating and sleeping but she’s still a broken soul who hasn’t been able to come to terms with the fact that the man she loved isn’t coming back and making good on his promise to spend the rest of his life with her.
She’s practically married to her job as a principal, fighting to prove that she’s the perfect person for the job and that she can make a difference, in spite of what other people (including her old assistant principal) think of her.
On the first day of school, after she discovers some vandals have used the school wall for their graffiti once again, she bumps into Micah who, as it turns out, is working as the school groundskeeper. Their meet-cute is, well, super cute and I was already head-over-heels with Micah the moment he entered the story.
A man jumped forward and grabbed her waist, steadying her on her feet. “Whoa! You okay?” His gravelly voice came with an unspoken promise that as soon as she looked up, he was going to steal more than her breath—her heart or her life, she wasn’t sure.
Micah isn’t only a groundskeeper, though. He’s also a Marine, who’s now stationed in the small town of Seaside, North Carolina and is hoping to turn his passion for gardening and landscaping into a full-time job once his commitment is up in a few months. His ex-wife is also a Marine, but her career is more important than caring for their son, so he wants to make sure to be the best dad he can to his eight-year-old son, Ben, an adorable kid who’s confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy.
He's not looking for a woman, seeing as the last one he dated refused to acknowledge the special needs of his son, and Kat isn't looking for a man, seeing as she still can't take off the engagement ring John gave her two years before.
But obviously, following the cardinal rule in the best romances, even though neither of them wants to fall in love or be attracted to the other, Cupid will have his own say in the story.
Kat smiled as he approached, and that's when he knew the whole, indisputable truth. It wasn't his head or what was inside his boxers that he needed to worry about. His heart was in deep trouble.
This story is truly beautiful. It's been a while since a book managed to make me feel such a huge array of emotions. I smiled, I laughed, I swooned and sighed. I cried. Not the fat, ugly tears but those emotionally charged tears that reach down into your soul and squeeze, while at the same time leaving you warm and fuzzy.
There is heat, yes. But even though I'm the prudish kind of reader, who likes the fade-to-black bedroom scenes better than the graphic ones, I had no problem with the scenes in this book. They are fitting to the story and to the characters, they happen at just the right point in the story and are written in just the perfect way to make them hot but not annoying.
So, if you're still wondering whether or not you should give this book a chance, let me tell you something: ONE. CLICK. NOW!!
Don't be afraid to love again. Remember, there is never loss with love, only gain.And right about at this point, I was in tears.
AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER!
Release date: December 1st, 2015
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