Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: All He Ever Desired By Shannon Stacy

All He Ever Desired 
By Shannon Stacy 
Book #5 in the Kowalski Family Series 

A second shot at first love…After college, Ryan Kowalski decided to leave Whitford, Maine, rather than watch Lauren Carpenter marry another man. Now his siblings need his help to refurbish the family-owned Northern Star Lodge and he's forced to face the past sooner rather than later when he collars a vandal—and learns the boy is Lauren's son…

The last person Lauren needs back in her life is Ryan Kowalski. With a bitter ex-husband and a moody teenage son, she has enough man trouble already. But her son needs to learn a few lessons about right and wrong, even if Lauren has to escort him to Ryan's door every day to work off his crime. With all this close contact, Ryan and Lauren can't deny the chemistry between them is as powerful as ever. But can a few searing kisses erase their past and pave the way for a second chance at true love?

Ryan Kowalski (36) has never forgotten Lauren Carpenter (34) after almost 14 years and the passion of his past has certainly tempered. She's only improved over time and he has a whole new set of feelings to contend with. Lauren has played the "what if" game with herself since her divorce eight years ago, imagining what her life might have been like if she'd taken Ryan up on his offer to run away with him. She's got a chance to play things out in the present but wonders if he still has any feelings for her.

Ryan and Lauren's relationship is truly a contemporary romance. As a single mother of a 16-year old teenaged boy, she's constantly juggling the demands of a job, strained finances and being a mom while trying to have a social life. Ryan is part of a big extended family (four hot brothers, a sister, and four equally attractive first cousins) and he's only in Whitford, Maine to help his brothers restore the family lodge as he has his own multi-million dollar company to run in Brookline, Massachusetts. He and Lauren not only have their own past baggage to deal with as they consider a long-distance relationship but all of these pulls from their current circumstances. There weren't easy solutions and it made this story more engaging, even in the midst of a pretty hot romance.

What made this story even more enjoyable were the many funny moments arising from being a part of a large family. Ryan has great relationships with his brothers but everyone is in each others' business. It helped balance out the tough aspects of the romance, it all seeming so normal while still providing a nice escape. And, you have the whole town involved in seeing these two make it.

Ryan and Lauren are two interesting personalities and have one hot romance in spite of their obstacles. I really liked how their story was presented with all of its ups and downs, challenges and triumphs, as well as the many siblings who provide more flavor. It ended a bit briefly but every book in this series includes updates for every member of this family so we haven't heard the last about them.

(NetGalley ARC)


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