For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the dark to my sister’s light–the awkward loner to her social butterfly. Growing up, she had it all: our parent’s unyielding approval, perfect grades, a permanent spot at the popular table, and the attention of the hottest guy ever–Duke Kincaid.

After eighteen years of living in her shadow, I couldn’t wait to escape–to finally be my own person. Yet here I am, I’m back in my hometown, once again in Valorie’s shadow. Only now, it’s eternal.

I had life all planned out: join the force, marry Valorie Parsons, and start a family of our own. I have the job, but the girl and all my dreams died before my very eyes.

At the urging of my friends, I agree to a blind date. Imagine my shock when I arrive and find, Valorie’s twin sister, waiting across the table from me. Mallory should be a reminder of all that I’ve lost, but instead she feels like my redemption . . . like maybe life’s giving me a second chance.

But, how can I be enough for her when I’ve already given her sister the best of me?

Hit the Author Up

Series: N/A

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

“You’re the most precious thing in my life. I fucking love you, Mallory…”

You know that feeling when you’re desperate for a book that oozes romances but actually has an interesting back story, and then you randomly pick a book that pleasantly surprises you? Yes I have that feeling right now. You can’t go wrong with a tender, emotionally gripping and witty book. This is my first read by this author and I have to say, she did a fantastic job of capturing a moving, funny, beautiful story. The writing skills are off the hook and it was just a pleasure to read.

“Mallory kisses just like she lives, with all of her heart and soul, and here in this moment, I know she is claiming a piece of both of mine. “

After suffering the devastating loss of the woman he loved, Duke Kincaid has checked out of life. Sure, he still wakes up in the morning, goes to work, puts one foot in front of the other, but he really isn’t living; he merely exists. For almost two years he’s been content with his plan to die alone while his friends marry and have children. He moved out of town to leave the memories of his old life and a future he hoped for behind and start again. The last thing he ever expected was to strolls into a restaurant for dinner with his friends and finds the ghost of his late lover at the table. Okay maybe not her ghost; but her twin sister, sitting at the table. What he expected even less, was the response his body and heart have towards her while his head is screaming at him to run miles.

“You needed someone and you called me. Do you get it?…I’ve never been anyone’s first choice, but you. Called. Me.”

No matter how much she tried to be a good daughter, Mallory Parsons has never been good enough or wanted by her parents; her mother in particular.  She has been crippled by feelings of inadequacy, rejection, abuse; so the first chance she gets to leave home, she takes it and never looks back. With the support of her best friend, she finally rebuilds herself to value and love herself. When her career sends her back to a town 15 minutes’ drive from her parents’ house, she takes it reluctantly and hopes against all hope that she doesn’t bump into them. What she didn’t prepare herself for though, is the possibility of bumping into her sister long-time boyfriend; and certainly didn’t expect the feelings that she has towards him.

Okay, so I loved loved the story and to be honest I had no moral crisis about the fact that Duke was Valorie’s boyfriend to begin with. I must say that I feel a bit lead on by the blurb in the sense that the narrative portrayed by the blurb didn’t carry into the book. By that I mean, I expected to see more of how Mallory was overshadowed by her sister. It was in fact in the background of the story.

I still don’t know why Mallory’s mom hated her so much. That little explanation she gave to Mallory at Val’s grave?

Who the hell hates their daughter just for being born? She’s mad that she only wanted one child and got two instead? She held Val for the first time and new she was what she wanted? Hell, how? How did she know Mallory wasn’t it? And where the hell was the father when all this was happening? He just accepted his wife doing that shit to his children? Did he feel the same way? What?

Another thing, when Mallory finally told Duke why she left home and never looked back, his reaction?

Who the hell reacts like that to someone bearing their soul to them about having the shit beat out of them by their mother for years? He didn’t ask for more details, elaboration, didn’t offer no condolences; nothing?

And then throughout the book Mallory goes on and on about how strong she is now, and just how ready she is to finally show her parents that she made it, and that despite their best efforts to break her, they didn’t succeed. Not even an hour later she’s finally face to face with her mother but instead of beating the shit out of her, she sits there cowering on the wet ground, crying and rocking herself back and forth like a baby. I mean after that speech, that is her reaction?

Anyway, this the most feel-good book I’ve read in a minute, and that is largely due to the writers ability to bring to life interesting characters and tell their stories in an easy-flowing and emotional way that puts the reader in a bit of a moral dilemma for or against this forbidden love. I absolutely recommend this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it cover to cover.

“He is my home. He’s my safety, my comfort, my heart, my soul. Duke Kincaid is my everything.”

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