Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Last (Crossroads Series)

He was the bad boy...

After twelve years in the Marines Special Forces Riley Sloan is more than ready to start his new civilian life. No one to answer to. No one depending on him. No more dangerous rescues...he thought. After receiving a distress call he is sent on a recon mission to check on the one girl that is completely off limits and the only girl that ever made him question his loyalty. His best friend's little sister. She is the last girl he should want...but the only one he does. This could end up being the riskiest operation of his life.

She was the good girl...

Rachelle Thomas wouldn't hurt a fly. She is honest, kind and always sees the best in people. So she is completely blindsided when her fiancé dumps her for his pregnant 18 year old secretary. Confused and heartbroken she decides to head out of town to regroup. When her attempt to hide from the world worries her friends and family they send out a search party of one, Riley Sloan. Her brother's best friend and the star of all of her teenage (and adult) fantasies. She knows wanting him is wrong but she is tired of always doing the "right thing"...especially when Riley made the "wrong thing" feel so right.

I literally had to tear myself away from the series to write my review. I read My Last and dove right into My Only because it was starring Alex. And that man... he is my heart. So, please excuse if my review is scatter-brained, out of order or... WAIT! What am I saying? My reviews are ALWAYS like this. 

Chelle is my book Diamond Friend. I fell in love with her character in the last book and was rooting for her to find her HEA. But, with Alex? I was taken aback when Alex came to her rescue at the wedding, and I will admit I was a little jealous. (Ok... A LOT jealous... but, I have issues) When Chelle hides away to regroup after what should be the heartbreak of a lifetime, her friends have Riley pop in to check on her well-being. Enter the star of her teenage fantasies. One of my favorite parts of an enemies to lovers or friends to lovers story is the "RECONNECT" moment. Often times, an author will make this such a smooth and effortless encounter, when in reality - you know that crap is awkward with a capital "A." 
"Riley?" Chelle spoke his name in disbelief. Trying to make some sort of sense of what was going on, she asked, "Is it... What are you...What are you here?"
"What?" she asked, bewildered. 
"Sightseeing," he repeated. 
"In my bedroom?" she murmured, puzzled. 
I simply adored the ease of their interactions. What I got from the small stuff they did for each other was that it was ingrained in their DNA to be there for each other. No matter the distance or years that passed between them, other other person being okay was their end game. 

He knew that, no matter how long he lived, all he would have to do was close his eyes and he would be able to remember it, clear as a bell - the way she felt, the way she sounded, and the way she smelled of coconut and cinnamon. 

When you put a forkful of that long-forgotten favorite food into your mouth again, and it is like a mouth orgasm. This was like that. But with eyes. It was an eye orgasm. An eyegasm. 

Both Chelle and Riley knew in their hearts this was it for them, but there were feelings of inadequacy or not wanting to pressure the other into something they didn't want. So, they pretended this was a light and short-lived fling. But, even their friends and family knew something was up. 

Tommy smiled. "Look, I know we haven't seen a lot of each other the last couple of years since I got out, but I do know you. And she's it for you. She's the real deal."

"If you're doing fine, then why is he still there, Chelle?"
"Sightseeing," she answered honestly. 
"Tell Riley to call me," Eddie barked. 
My thoughts and ramblings: 
  • My favorite part about this story was the deep understanding that Chelle realized when spending time with Riley - SHE DESERVED BETTER. I think this is a great message to all women out there. Don't settle. No, love is not easy - but being treated like a Queen is a must. Find the man who will make sure you have your jacket. :) 
  • Eddie and Riley made me smile. I was glad the protective brother role didn't just disappear when they hooked up. I am glad Eddie did what a brother needs to do - no matter HOW annoying he is to Chelle. I hope for my daughter's sake that her brothers will be like this. She is in the middle of two boys and only 16 months older than her younger brother, so I am sure she will date some of his friends. Oh lord... just the thought makes me giggle. 
  • Katie asked a simple question of Chelle and her response was my all-time favorite declaration of love in a Romance book:
    • "Uuuummmm...well, I kissed him because I have been in love with him since middle school. I kissed him because I have never felt about anyone the way I feel about Riley Sloan. No one evens comes in a close second. I kissed him because I can barely think of anything other than kissing him when he is within  a four-block radius of me. No, scratch that - he doesn't even have to be in the same country as I am and it's hard not to think about it. I kissed him because I had to." 
  • I love series that involve brothers or groups of male friends. The glimpses into their friendships is a riot. A blast. Sexy as hell. And when Alex, Jason and Bobby realize Riley loves Chelle - Alex makes me laugh with his typical humor: 
    • "What the hell is wrong with you guys?" Alex shook his head in disgust. "You're droppin' like flies. First Bobby, then Jason, now you. What? Is there something in the water? I better stick with bottled just to be safe." 
  • I giggled out loud when a certain proposal was answered with "Who told you?" It took some bargaining, in a very Chelle & Riley way, but once he threw in breakfast - she was game. 
So, as you can see... I loved this story. And a few additional random thoughts: 
  • Kristyn and I NEVER read the same stuff. In the last 2 years, maybe 3 or 4 series. TOPS. But, I talked so much about the first book - she read it. And is reading through the series like a champ. Which is a huge compliment - because she isn't a big romance fan. 
  • I found myself reading every chance I got: while waiting in the LONG line at the drive-thru for lunch, not taking a lunch to read and waking up in the middle of the night to pee - but reading instead. 
  • I need to meet the authors. Like ASAP. Kristyn and I will fangirl and squeal and then we shall have coffee and talk about how Alex should have fallen in love with me. :) Luckily, I did not feel the jealousy when Alex met Jamie as I did when I thought Alex was trying to score with Chelle. 
I will leave you with the ONE LINE in the book that is my favorite. It happens in each book. There comes a line(s) that I highlight and find myself going back to reread. I constantly think of how I can work it into my review. Most times, I can't. This time is NO different. Sometimes this line is the declaration of love, sometimes it is a cheesy pick-up line and sometimes it is a gem like this one: 
She stood back, opening the door wider. "Do you want to come in?"
He looked tortured by her invitation. "I can't" 
Ooookaay. Thinking she needed to lighten the mood, she smiled. "Well, if it's because you're a vampire, then no worries. I just invited you in,'re in the clear."
He looked confused. 
Alrighty then. Not a big fan of vampire humor. 

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