This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on March 3, 2015
I love a good hard-fought for romance between two deserving types and this one had the added plus of including such enticements as seaside home, injured military vet, stuck-up powerful interfering mother, cute as a button girl with Down’s Syndrome, tough yet tender caregiving nurse, teen love with a tragic ending and finally a second chance is had by all. Warning: two tissue read proceed at own risk. (Okay that is for the overly sensitive types like moi)
The story is told alternating narrative in the present with frequent flashbacks of pivotal scenes from the past. It begins with an ending. Cole Covington thinks his life is over when returning to base, the vehicle he is in hits a roadside bomb. He is now a disabled vet with severe PTSD symptoms, permanent scars and survivor’s guilt. He is also regretful that he is still alive when he is brought home to Covington Cove and the house of his childhood where he shuts out the world. He comes from a powerful, wealthy family and for all their wealth, Cole only wants something that money can’t buy- or bring back. He made two fateful decisions ten years before and they cost him everything- the love of his life and the life of his older brother. If he had been stronger and not such a coward…
Mia desperately ponders her circumstances after getting several more rejections after her last job let her go when they downsized. Her own needs are simple and scarce, but the money to keep Ginny in the private care facility where she is finally showing signs of improvement will soon dry up. Mia has scraped her whole life as the daughter of an alcoholic single mom and living in a trailer on the poor side of town, trash to the Covingtons and their friends. She thought Cole was different until he proved he was like the rest. For ten years, she has pushed away the shattered heart and pain that he delivered, only now his sister is on the phone promising to take care of all Mia’s money troubles if she will become Cole’s nurse and restore him back to normal. Mia wants to run far from the offer, but Ginny’s needs and her own need for closure with Cole drive her to agree. Cole’s situation is dire and Mia is doubtful that she can help, but Lacey is convinced that Mia is the only one who can help Cole now.
So Mia returns to the place of her heartbreak where the memories bombard her and the owner of the house hides away. It will be worth it all if he will just finally explain why. Why did he let her think they were in love and then throw her out of his life? And Cole ponders the return of Mia like she is a dream and sees this as his second chance to make things right before Mia walks out his door a second time.
[quote]”What does that mean, Cole?” Her voice shook as the words breathed out. She grabbed the counter behind her to keep upright.
He looked at her, straight in the eyes, and held her gaze. “It means that I may only be closure to you, but you mean the world to me.”
- 146 Mia and Cole from Return to Me[/quote]
[quote]Alas, I only know that two things in life are certain. I know I love her and I know that when her memory of our time together fades, I’ll still feel exactly the same as I do today. Time is irrelevant, as I once told her. And I’m happy wasting every second on her.
p.274 Cole’s Memoirs from Return to Me[/quote]
I liked how the author set this up. The reader is given the results of the past from both Cole and Mia’s perspective and yet there is foreshadowing enough so that the reader knows there is more to it. In the meantime, the focus is on helping Cole get better and for the two to get to know the older versions of themselves.
[quote]Brushing her hands together, she nodded at his lap. “You need to eat. And you had better enjoy it ’cause that’s the last meal you’re eating in this room.”
It took a second for her words to sink in. “What are you talking about?”
“Rose will not be bringing your meals up here again. If you want to eat, you come downstairs.”
His face heated. His pulse beat like a drum against his temple. “We’ll see about that.”
Her eyes narrowed as she grinned. “Yep”
- 49 Mia and Cole from Return to Me[/quote]
As the story progresses, more is revealed and things go from complicated to more complicated. The characters are sympathetic and I really wanted them to finally get some joy. Cole and Mia come from two different social stratas yet they were so good for each other. They were friends first and lovers for such a short time. The tone was so poignant and the pacing and tension just right to achieve the right atmosphere and romance development. The present characters are strongly attracted, but have so much baggage that they are wary of letting that passion fly between them.
There was a character in this one that I just loathed to my toenails- Cole’s mother. Her presence sucked the light out of a room. Whew!
But then there were Cole’s sister and Mia’s sister along with Rose as secondary characters that added the lighter touches for this otherwise strongly emotional story.
This was my first time with this author and I was thrilled to see this was the beginning of a series. I definitely want to read more of her stuff. Contemporary Romance fans who enjoy deep feelsies to their romance should definitely try this one.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #124 CR
New to Me #63 Author/Series
Cliché Klatch #55 ‘Grew a Pair’
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