THEY SAY YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST LOVE…
Lauren McKinnon has always prided herself on never backing down from a challenge, living life to its fullest, and refusing to be ruled by her emotions. She is the quintessential wild child who became a bold, fearless woman, she doesn’t believe in regrets or second chances, and thinks that true love only happens in fairy tales. Except for the time it happened to her one magical summer. But unlike fairy tales, in real life love can also be cruel, and after having her heart broken Lauren has vowed to never allow herself to be vulnerable again.
Ben Rafferty has always been a loner, never truly belonging anywhere or to anyone, until the summer he visits Big Sur and meets the girl he immediately recognizes as his soulmate. But Lauren’s star shines far too brightly, and to stay with her means the real possibility of dimming that brilliant light. The decision to leave her behind will be the most difficult of his life, and for years later he’s left to wonder what would have happened if he’d stayed.
When their paths inevitably cross again, Lauren’s pride and refusal to forgive continues to keep them apart, as does the new woman in Ben’s life. As truths are eventually revealed, and emotions can no longer be denied, will Lauren and Ben finally find their way back to each other, or will they be destined to forever remain apart?
Clues in the title to how I feel about authors’ style of writing, sensational. Have loved this series so far and couldn’t wait to get to Lauren’s story. Knew it was going to be good from the get go but didn’t realize how long it would take for Ben to grow a pair to get his girl and then for Lauren to stop being so stubborn. But it’s the tension that makes a good story and helps build a more realistic one, so here goes.
Loved how this story was going on at the same time as all the others have been (Julia and Nathan, Tessa and Ian and then Angela and Nick). It seemed at first that they all were the ones that found true love first but in reality it was Lauren all along. She just hid it well from those around her and she was also the first one to suffer complete heartbreak, but we will get to that in a bit.
I liked that you got to start at the beginning with them and not present day so you could see how their lives, and lives of others’, slowly intertwined with each other. So we start in Lauren’s favourite place on earth. Her families place along the coast in Big Sur. One said place where she encounters a very handsome man, Ben. She just strolls on up in short shorts and a barely there bikini top, one he can’t seem to keep his eyes off, and informs him that he is trespassing. Ben just wanted to take a really good picture of the bay to go with a travel piece he was working on but when she sees the excuse of a camera he is uses she insists he use one of hers. He thinks she is a bit too trusting of someone she just met so I like it when she shows him exactly how she can handle herself no matter the situation. She saw something in him from the moment they met and knew what she wanted to happen from the moment he turned to look at her. As soon as she got him back to her place, with photos collected, he almost feels like he is home. Which was rare for someone who never really felt settled anywhere. You may say she pounced on him but it wouldn’t have been long before he made a move, she was just getting there first. What started as a possible one-night stand turned into a passionate escape from reality where time seemed to stand still for them both. Hot enough to build a campfire from. Young love almost too passionate to handle perhaps? It was this moment when Ben realized just what she might be capable of doing and knew, well thought he did anyway, that if he stayed she wouldn’t fulfill her dreams. So he does what he thinks is best, he leaves. Biggest mistake of his life, one he longs to take back.
You are in complete agreement with Lauren when you think of him as an asshole that doesn’t deserve her. Shame her heart doesn’t seem to get the message straight away. He might think that because she is younger than him that she would just bounce back and get with someone new within months but that was never going to be the case. From this moment on she kind of shuts down emotionally but never really lets on to the people around her. She may give off the impression in other books that she is wild and carefree but that only really applies to her career not her love life, or lack there of. Her career is all that she thinks about and years after her heartbreak thinking that she would never see Ben again she gets one hell of a shock on that front.
The same goes for Ben too when he finds out he is her new boss. Then lets rub some salt in the wounds by bringing up that he is seeing someone, Elle. Not that he is truly ‘in’ the relationship. Its almost like he feels responsible for her. She is a very highly-strung person who was never going to be more than his friend as his heart has only and will only ever belong to Lauren.
This isn’t a cheating book, as they then have to work together, along with all that tension, for the next couple of years. So when I say that you are just waiting for them to get their act together you are waiting a little while. The chemistry is as evident in present day as it was in the past but they hold back. Lauren would never go for someone who is involved with another. The longer they are in each other’s presence though the harder it gets to exist in Lauren’s eyes. She wants what she thinks she can’t have and if she had only let him explain earlier why he left then things may have sped up.
Seem history might be repeating itself when Lauren finally opens up to someone, her Aunt Madelyn. Loved the side romance story with her and how she was reunited with her lost love. She doesn’t want her niece to follow in her footsteps by waiting too long so its this moment that gives her the push she needed.
Another great read that brought together all the characters from the previous books and you can see what Lauren was really going through along their timelines which is cool. Can’t wait to get on with the rest of the series.
5 out of 5 stars