In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

6th Oct 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

In Your Dreams by Kristan HigginsIn Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #4
Published by HQN on September 30th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
4 Stars
Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé's wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero.

But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him...

 

Who knew? Who knew Jack Holland would turn out to be this sexy, ravishing, hunk of a man?! All along I knew he was handsome, but man, was Kristan Higgins holding out on us! And Emmaline?! She was totally under wraps too! I was so completely and pleasantly surprised by this pairing. I didn’t know what, if any, connection these two had that would bring them together, but it totally worked.

Jack and Emmaline probably never would’ve gotten together if their lives had remained uneventful and uncomplicated. But sometimes life steps in and it brings you those people. That’s really what happened between them and it’s also what I think makes In Your Dreams work.

I was also really surprised by the amount of “baggage” Jack and Emmaline have. Both kept trying to sweep it under the rug and we all know what happens when characters do that. It ended up blowing up in their face at certain points in the story. Sometimes I wish I could’ve kicked Jack in the ass. He dragged so many things along that he could’ve resolved more easily if he hadn’t been such a man about it. And at times I wished Emmaline wouldn’t take it so easy on him. Whoa. When did I become all about the tough love? *shrugs* Nonetheless, these two people are perfect for each other. They had great chemistry, in and out of the bedroom.

We get to see a lot of Levi in this one which is always amazing, because LEVI. <3 And there may be a new arrival in the form of a baby! Eeeep! We also get to see the rest of the Hollands and O’Rourkes. I’m dying to see who Connor ends up with, y’all! Any guesses?? Well, hopefully we get to find out sooner rather than later. Not sure when his book is coming out, but I need it, like, yesterday. :)

 

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins + Giveaway & Excerpt!

31st Mar 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins + Giveaway & Excerpt!Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #3
Published by HQN on March 25th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 457
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
5 Stars
Does being nobody's fool mean that you're nobody's love?

Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love... just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell, her first love, broke her heart... an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.

But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.

 

While I’ll admit I love all Kristan Higgins books, I do have my favorites. Waiting On You is now one of those favorites. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much with a Higgins book before. And at the same time, my heartstrings have never been pulled so taut before either. In other words, ALL THE DAMN FEELS!

I think the beauty in the relationship between Colleen and Lucas is that these two knew they were meant to be from the moment they laid eyes on one another, back in high school. Their love was everything first love is: overwhelming, intense, beautifully pure. But life has a funny way of throwing things for a loop sometimes, taking your life plans and shredding them so completely. Our Colleen and Lucas were subjected to such a fate, and so the whole book I’m just waiting for life to work out for them.

There are tons of emotional ups and downs in this book, plenty moments to shed tears for, but there are also some hilariously awesome moments. I think the hilarious moments were necessary to balance out the emotional aspect and Higgins did a great job of it.

Other characters we’ve met before make appearances and we get to see where they are now, which is always nice. We also get to know Connor, Colleen’s twin brother, a little better. In fact, he completely intrigued me in this book and I hope we get a Connor book soon!

Even though Waiting On You is technically part of a series, you could completely read this one as a stand-alone, and I strongly urge you to check it out. I have no doubt you’ll love it too. :)

Read the first chapter and see what I mean!!

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

“Drinks are on the house!”

A cheer went up from the gang, not just because Colleen O’Rourke—the bartender and half owner of the best (and only) bar in town—had just offered free booze, but because Brandy Morrison and Ted Standish had just gotten engaged.

Colleen hugged the happy couple once more, then went behind the bar and accepted high fives from her regulars as she pulled beers and mixed martinis, poured wine and slid glasses down the bar. After all, Brandy and Ted were her doing. That made…hmm…fourteen couples she’d set on the road to matrimony? No, fifteen! Not bad. Not bad at all.

“Good job, Coll,” said Gerard Chartier, accepting his free Cooper’s Cave IPA. He sat at the end of the bar, where the fire department was having a “meeting,” the agenda of which seemed to be O’Rourke’s list of microbrews. She wasn’t complaining. They were good for business.

“Your sorry single state hasn’t gone unnoticed,” she said, rubbing his bald head. “Not to worry. You’re next.”

“I’d rather stay single.”

“No, you wouldn’t. Trust Auntie Colleen, ever wise and all-knowing.”

“Colleen!” her brother Connor yelled from the kitchen. “Stop harassing the customers!”

“I’m part of our charm!” she yelled back. “Gang, are you feeling harassed?”

A satisfying chorus of no answered her. She breezed into the kitchen. “Hi, Rafe,” she greeted the backup chef, who was making one of his famous cheesecakes. “Save some of that for me, okay?”

“Of course, my truest love,” he said, not looking at her. He was gay. All the good ones were.

“Brother mine,” Colleen said to her twin, “what bug is up your ass?”

“You just gave away three hundred dollars’ worth of booze, that’s what,” he said.

“Brandy and Ted got engaged. Beautiful ring, too.”

“Your work, Collie?” Rafe asked.

“As a matter of fact, yes. They’d been eyeing each other for weeks. I gave a gentle shove, and voila. I expect I’ll be a bridesmaid. Again.”

Rafe smiled. “And when will you work your superpowers on your own self, lovey?”

“Oh, never. I’m too smart for all that. I like to use men for purely physical—”

“Stop! No one wants to hear about your sex life,” Connor said.

“I do,” said Rafe.

She grinned. Tormenting her brother, though they were both thirty-one, was still one of the great joys in life.

“It seems like such a waste. All that, unclaimed.” Rafe gestured to her torso and face.

“She got burned when she was young,” Connor told Rafe.

“Oh, please. That’s not why I’m single. Besides, you’re single, too. It’s all part of our dysfunctional childhood, Rafe.”

“Don’t even try,” he said, adding the sour cream layer to the cake. “I was a gay boy born to Jehovah’s Witnesses and grew up in East Texas with five older brothers who all played football. It was Friday Night Lights meets The Birdcage meets Swamp People. No one can compete with me in the land of dysfunctional families.”

“You totally win,” Colleen said. “Con and I only had a cheating father and—

“Isn’t tonight your night off?” Connor interrupted.

“Yep. But I came in because I sensed, using our magical twinsy bond, that you missed me.”

“You sensed wrong,” he muttered. “Get out of my kitchen. Your posse just came through the door.”

“He has batlike hearing,” Rafe said.

“I know. It’s creepy. Bye, boys! Don’t forget my piece of heaven, Rafe. Connor, come say hi. Everyone loves you, for some reason.”

She went back out into the bar and sure enough, there were the girls: Faith Holland, her oldest pal in the world (and a newlywed, and while Colleen couldn’t claim that one as her idea, she’d nonetheless helped keep them together); Honor, Faith’s older sister (bone-dry martini, three olives), someone Colleen had definitely helped with sweet Tom Barlow—their wedding would be in early July; and Prudence, the oldest Holland sister (gin and tonic, now that it was spring), married for decades.

“How’s tricks, Holland girls? Honor, you want your usual? Pru, a G&T? And what about you, Faithie? I have some strawberries I’ve been saving for you…a little vodka, a little mint, splash of lemon…want to try one?”

“Just water for me,” Faith said.

“Oh, lordy, are you pregnant?” Colleen blurted. Faith and Levi had gotten married in January, and from the way he looked at her, those two got it on like weasels. And you know what they say about weasels.

“I didn’t say that.” But she blushed, and Honor smiled.

“Well, I hope you are,” said Pru. “Nothing like the blessing of kids, even though I thought I would kill Abby the other day. She asked if she could get her tongue pierced. I said sure, I’d get a hammer and a nail and we could do it right now if she was that dumb, and the conversation devolved from there.”

“Hi, girls,” Connor said dutifully, having emerged from the kitchen.

“Con, bring Pru and Honor their regulars, and a big glass of ice water for Faith here.”

“I thought you wanted me to say hi, not to wait on you,” he said. “Faith, are you pregnant?”

“No! Maybe. Just shush,” Faith said. “I’m thirsty, that’s all.”

“Connor Cooper would be a great name,” he suggested.

“I think it sounds pretentious,” Colleen said. “Colleen Cooper, or Colin for a boy…now we’re talking. Con, how about those drinks? And some nachos?”

Her brother gave her a dark look but left obediently, and Colleen settled back in her seat. “Guess what you missed? Brandy Morrison and Ted Standish just got engaged! He got down on one knee and everything, and she was crying, and it was beautiful, ladies! Beautiful!”

Hannah, Colleen’s cousin, brought over their food and drinks, and Prudence launched into a story of her latest adventure in keeping things fresh in the old conjugal bed. Very entertaining. Coll scanned the bar as Pru talked, making sure all was running smoothly.

It occurred to her that spending her night off at work was maybe not a hundred percent healthy. Granted, options were limited in Manningsport, New York, a town of just over seven hundred. She could be home, reading and cuddling with Rufus, her enormous Irish wolfhound mutt, who would love nothing more than to stare into her eyes in adoration for several hours. One couldn’t rule out the ego boost that provided.

Or, Colleen thought, she could be out on a date. Rafe had a point.

It’s just that every guy she met seemed to be lacking something. She hadn’t felt the tingle in a long, long time.

As the proprietor of the only year-round, alcohol-serving establishment in town, Colleen saw a lot of relationships blossom or end in a fiery crash. When things went right, it was generally because the woman had cleverly manipulated the guy into good dating behavior. He’d call when he said he would. Put some thought into dates. He’d ask questions about her life because she didn’t vomit up all her personal history in the first ten minutes.

Far more common, however, was the fiery crash model, when Colleen mixed a sympathy cosmo or poured an extra ounce of Pinot Grigio into a glass for a woman who had no idea what went wrong. Colleen could tell her, of course, and sometimes did…Maybe you shouldn’t have talked about your ex for two hours, or Is telling him you were just cleared for fertility treatments a good idea on the first date?

Happily, the now-engaged Brandy had asked Colleen for advice from the start. Should I go out with him again tomorrow? Is it okay to sleep with him yet? How about if I text him right now?

The answers: No, no and no.

“Colleen,” said the bride-to-be now, “I just wanted to thank you again for everything.” She bent down and gave Coll a hug. “Bridesmaid?”

“Of course!” Colleen said. “You two…mazel tov! I’m so happy for you!”

“Thanks, Coll,” Ted said. “You’re the best.”

“My fifteenth couple,” she said to the Holland sisters as the happy couple left for some monkey sex, one presumed.

“You have a gift,” Faith said, taking a slab of nachos onto her plate.

“And yet just last night, there was some poor woman in here, begging the guy she was with not to dump her, and I took her aside and said, ‘Honey, if you have to beg, do you really want this loser?’ But of course, she kept crying and begging, and it was agony, I tell you.” She finished her drink, one of the strawberry thingies Faith had passed on. “Maybe I should teach a class. Pru, when Abby starts dating, you send her to me.”

“Will do. And thanks, because God knows, she’s not listening to me these days.”

“Excuse me,” came a voice, and all three of them looked up.

“Hey, Paulie,” Colleen said. “How are you? Have a seat!”

Paulina “Paulie” Petrosinsky pulled up a chair, swung it backward and straddled it. She’d been Faith and Colleen’s classmate—not quite a friend back in the day, but really nice. She came into O’Rourke’s once in a while, usually after a workout at the gym, where her weightlifting skills were the stuff of legend.

“Um…I overheard you say something about, uh, teaching people? Women?” she asked.

“Slut University,” Pru said, and Faith and Honor snorted.

“Very funny,” Colleen said. “My reputation is greatly exaggerated.”

“And whose fault is that?” Faith asked. “You should stop spreading rumors about yourself.”

Colleen smiled. Had she in fact written something flattering about herself on the men’s room wall just last week? She had. “Ignore my so-called friends,” she said. “What’s up?”

“Um…can you really help a, um, a person? With, uh…you know. Love and men and stuff?” Paulie’s face turned deep red, then purple.

“Are you all right?” Honor asked, frowning a little.

“Oh, that. My face. It’s called idiopathic craniofacial erythema. I…I blush. A lot.”

“Wish I could hang around,” Prudence said. “We farm people have to get up early. Good luck with your man, Paulie! See you, girls!”

“So are you interested in someone in particular?” Colleen asked, scootching over into Pru’s vacated chair to make more room at the table.

Paulie swallowed. “Yeah,” she whispered, glancing around.

“Who?” Faith asked.

“Um…I’d rather not say.”

Colleen nodded. “What do you like about him?”

“He’s…he’s just so nice. I mean, really kind, right? And he’s cheerful and good and smart, I think, too. I mean, he…well. He’s great.”

Colleen smiled. “And do you feel sick when you see him, and then hot, and then nauseous?”

“Exactly,” Paulie said, her face purpling again.

“Do you imagine conversations with him, holding hands and moonlit walks and all that other mushy stuff?”

“I—yes. I do.” Paulie took a shaky breath.

“Does he make your danger zone tingly? Does your skin get hot, do your knees wobble, does your tongue feel swollen—”

Faith stood up. “I miss Levi,” she announced. She gave Colleen a kiss on the cheek and squeezed her sister’s shoulder. “Good luck, Paulie! Take Colleen with a grain of salt.”

“I’m going, too,” Honor said. “Bye, matchmaker. Do no harm, mind you. See you, Paulina.”

“So who is this guy?” Colleen asked when they were gone.

Paulie shot a nervous glance back to the bar. Aha! A hint. “You know what?” Paulie said. “Never mind. He’s…he’s out of my league.”

“No, he’s not!” Colleen cried. “Paulie, you’re so nice! You are! Anyone would be lucky to have you.” Besides, Colleen always felt a little guilty where Paulie was concerned.

“Thanks,” she muttered.

“It’s true,” Colleen said firmly. Granted, Paulie hadn’t been blessed with great beauty. And her dad was a little odd—Ronnie Petrosinsky, owner of four small restaurants called Chicken King that served fried chicken thirty-eight different ways, all of them very, very bad for you. He was locally famous for his commercials, where he pranced around dressed as a rooster wearing a crown. Poor Paulie was also featured in a fluffy yellow chick suit, wearing a crown—the Chicken Princess. Try getting out from under that title, especially in high school.

“Listen, Paulie. No one is out of your league. Go ahead, tell me.”

Paulina sighed gustily and drained her Genesee (first order of business: get her to drink something more feminine). “It’s Bryce Campbell.”

Oh. Okay, so that might be tough.

Bryce was gorgeous. Jake Gyllenhaal DEFCON 4–gorgeous. He got his share of tail, as Colleen knew all too well. Bryce was a regular. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but sweet. He had a certain charm, and women threw themselves at him all the time.

Lots of women.

“That’s fine,” Colleen said, realizing she hadn’t spoken for a moment. “Not a problem.”

Paulie gave her a despairing look.

“I’m serious. We can work with this. So, tell me more about you and Bryce.”

Paulie’s expression grew dreamy, the severe blush fading. “He volunteers at the animal shelter, you know?” Colleen nodded; Bryce had in fact helped her choose Rufus the Doofus. “And the animals, they all love him. I go in a lot. I, um…I’ve adopted two dogs and four cats in the past year.”

Colleen smiled. “That’s a lot. But go on.”

“And the other day, I was getting gas, and so was he, and I didn’t even plan that! He just smiled at me and said, ‘Hey, Paulie, how’s it going?’” She sighed at the memory of the magical words. “It was amazing. I mean, that smile, right?”

Yes. Bryce had a beautiful smile. That was true.

“He’s never in a bad mood,” Paulie went on. “Never has a bad thing to say about anyone. Not that I talk to him. Not much, anyway. But sometimes we lift weights at the same time, and…well, I try to talk to him. But my mind goes blank, and I never think of anything good to say. But last week? I had to walk past him, and I said ‘Excuse me,’ and he said, and I quote, ‘No problem.’ Colleen, he smelled so good.”

The woman had it bad.

“And when we were in high school, he never made fun of me.”

Colleen’s heart gave a squeeze. Paulie had a solid, athletic build and held the school record for the number of pushups, beating even Jeremy Lyon, football god, a record that stood to this day. Her father’s business didn’t help her social status; he’d started out as a chicken farmer, and Paulie hadn’t grown up as comfortably as most of the kids in town, though not as poor as others. And then, when the Chicken King became so successful, well, that was different, too, and it was hard to be different at that age.

Though she was now the chief operating officer for the Chicken King franchises, Colleen had never seen Paulie out of gym clothes, and she always seemed on the fringe of things, as nice and smart as she was.

With a pang, Colleen realized Paulie reminded her of Savannah, her nine-year-old half sister.

“You know what? Let’s forget about it, okay? I’m sorry,” Paulie said now.

“Absolutely not,” Colleen said. “He’d be lucky to have you. I’m serious. You’re great, you have so many nice qualities…it’s not gonna be that hard, Paulie. What have your other relationships been like?”

“Um…I…I’ve never had another relationship.”

“That’s fine. So, no experience with men?”

“I’m a virgin,” she said.

“No worries. Nothing wrong with saving yourself for true love.” Colleen herself had, after all. Not that hers was an exemplary story.

“It’s more like no one’s ever asked me.”

Oh! Poor lamb! “Not a problem.”

“He’d probably rather go out with you,” Paulie said.

“Oh, please,” Colleen said with a flinch. “Bryce? No. We’re not…he’s a sweetheart, but not my type. But you guys…you’d be great together.”

Paulie’s face lit up? “Really? You think so? Honest? I’ll do whatever you say. You think I have a shot?”

“Absolutely.”

Connor was back. “Dad called. Wants you to babysit. Apparently, Gail needs a break.”

Ah. Gail Chianese O’Rourke, their stepmother, four years their senior, not so lovingly known as Gail-the-Tail-Chianese-Rhymes-with-Easy-Hyphen-O’Rourke.

“A break from what?” Colleen asked. “From spa appointments? From shopping? A break from having breaks?”

“I don’t know. Ask him to call you on your cell next time. Hey, Paulie, anything else for you?”

“Uh, I’m good, thanks,” she said, shifting to take a ten from her pocket.

“On the house,” Connor and Colleen said in unison.

“Thanks.” She stood, tripped a little over the chair; Con grabbed her arm and Paulie flushed again. “Well. Thanks, Coll. You rock.” With that, she headed out into the beautiful spring night.

“I’m fixing her up,” Colleen said.

“Oh, God,” Connor muttered.

“What? You have something against true love?”

“Do you have to ask?”

The bar was emptying; the sidewalks, few that there were, tended to roll up early in Manningsport. Connor sat down with her. The only folks left were on the volunteer fire department, who felt that O’Rourke’s was their home away from home.

“Con, you think Mom and Dad screwed us up forever? I mean, neither one of us has a significant other.”

Connor shrugged. He hated talking about their parents.

“You should go out with someone. Jessica Dunn, maybe. Or Julianne from the library. Or I could fix you up.”

“I’d rather hang myself, but thanks.”

“If you do, can I have your car?” She gave him a look. “What aren’t you telling me?”

He grimaced, but hey, the twin telepathy was alive and well. “Don’t have kittens, okay? But actually, I’m seeing someone.”

“What? Since when? Who?”

“No kittens, Colleen.”

“Well, you’re my twin, my family, my coworker! We share a house!”

“Another life mistake.”

“Connor,” she said more calmly, “how are you seeing someone and I don’t know about it? Who is she? How long has this been going on? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because of this. I didn’t want you to go crazy and give me advice or start naming babies.”

“When have I ever done that?”

“An hour ago. You told Faith to name her baby after you.”

“Well, so did you.”

Her brother crossed his arms. “It’s not serious. Not yet.”

“I can’t believe you kept this from me. God, those three minutes you have on me ruined you. I should’ve been born first, and I would’ve been, if you hadn’t shoved me out of the way.”

“Okay, we’re done here. You wanna kick out the fire department, or shall I?”

“Get out, people!” Colleen yelled, and the various and sundry members of Manningsport’s bravest started reaching for their wallets.

Hello. Bryce Campbell was there, too. He must’ve come in when she was with the girls. He was watching the fire department with an almost wistful look on his face. Boys. They never got over the thrill of their first shiny red truck.

Well, no time like the present.

“Hey, Bryce,” she said, ambling over.

“Hi, Colleen.” He looked at her and smiled, and yes, Paulie had a point. Bryce was cute. That wasn’t news, but still.

“How’s your dad?” Smiling Joe Campbell was one of Colleen’s favorite patrons, though he hadn’t been in much in the past year.

“He’s great!” Bryce flashed another look at the MVFD, who were now filing out the door, laughing.

“You should join the fire department,” she said.

“Yeah. I doubt my mom would approve of that. I might get hurt.”

“You probably wouldn’t, though. Their safety record is stellar, even if they are a bunch of goofballs.” She took his empty glass and wiped the counter in front of him. “So, Bryce, you seeing anyone these days?”

He raised a friendly eyebrow. “You asking?”

“No.”

“Right.” He gave a mock grimace. “Nope, no one special. I wouldn’t mind having a girlfriend, though.”

This was going to be easier than she thought. “Really? What’s your type?”

“Aside from you?” He winked.

“None of that, now. Answer the question.”

“I don’t know. Pretty. Kind of…pretty and nice and hot, you know? Like Faith Holland, except maybe taller and skinnier, and don’t tell Levi I said that, okay?”

“Bryce Campbell. Looks aren’t everything, you know.” And if he had a problem with Faith—who was built like a 1940s pinup girl—she was going to have to tread carefully with Paulie. “How about personality?”

“Really outgoing. Like me, kind of. You know anyone?”

“Hmm. No one leaps to mind.” Actually, four women leaped to mind, but Bryce was a typical man—he didn’t know what he needed; he just knew what he liked. “But I’ll think about it, okay?”

“Thanks, Coll! You’re the best!”

“It’s true. Now get out, we’re closing.”

Half an hour later, Colleen walked to the yellow-and-red Victorian she shared with her brother. A duplex, so it wasn’t quite as dysfunctional as it sounded. Connor had left a little earlier, and the first floor lights were out. Colleen’s apartment was on the second floor—a staircase in the back led to a small deck and her door.

She wondered if this mystery woman of his had visited the house yet.

“It’s all good,” she murmured to herself as she opened her door. “After all, we have somebody to love, too. Right, Rufus?”

One hundred and sixty pounds of scruffy gray canine agreed. She allowed him to maul her, scratched his rough gray fur, gazed meaningfully into his eyes, and then extricated herself. “Who wants a cookie? Is it us? I want an Oreo, and you, my beautiful countryman, can have a Milk-Bone.”

Some bozo had bought Rufus as a puppy, then, shocker, learned that the breed tended to get a wee bit large. But the idiot’s loss was her gain, because, as Bryce Campbell had suspected, Rufus and Colleen were kindred spirits.

She called Rushing Creek and talked to Joanie, the night nurse in her grandfather’s wing, and ascertained that Gramp was having a good night. Then, with a sigh, she got the snacks, made Rufus balance his cookie on his nose before allowing him to inhale it, then flopped down on the couch with the box of Oreos. Because really, no one had just one Oreo.

Love was in the air. It was all around her, as a matter of fact—Faith and Levi maybe percolating a baby; Honor and Tom getting married; Brandy and Ted now engaged. Paulie and Bryce (complicated on several levels…but maybe a chance for Colleen to do something good).

Connor and someone.

That one gave her the biggest pang. Granted, there’d been many times over the years when Colleen would’ve cheerfully sold Connor to the gypsies (and had, in fact, put him up for adoption when they were twelve and he announced the fact of her period in the cafeteria). When their parents went through their ugly, horrible, terrible divorce, she and Connor had become closer than ever. They often called or texted each other simultaneously. Saw each other every day.

It was strange, thinking of her twin married, a dad. She certainly wanted him happy, of course she did. It was just that she always pictured it in the happy, sunny future, in which she would have a great spouse and adorable tots.

But that picture always held a dreamlike quality, the image overexposed, as if the sun shone too brightly, and her husband’s face was blurred.

Once, she’d known exactly who the face belonged to, and it hadn’t been blurry at all.

 

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

14th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan HigginsAll I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN on February 25th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 413
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
4.5 Stars
Turning thirty has its ups and downs...

For Callie Grey, coming to grips with her age means facing the fact that her boyfriend-slash-boss is way overdue with a marriage proposal. And that she's way off track, because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company's new Miss Perfect. If that isn't bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a Big Three-Oh birthday bash…in the family funeral home.

Bad goes to worse when Callie stirs up a relationship with the town's single—yet not so warm and fuzzy—veterinarian, in order to flag Mark's attention. So what if Ian McFarland is more comfortable with animals? So what if he's formal, orderly and just a bit tense? Friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it's time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But, dang—if he doesn't shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Georgebury, Vermont's unlikeliest eligible bachelor….

 

I loved so many things about All I Ever Wanted. The way Callie was describe as curvy. The story of how she’s loved Mark since she was a kid and he’s totally taken her for granted all that time. Ian’s uniqueness and all his other qualities and flaws. So many things I loved!

Callie and Ian’s relationship was really interesting. He comes off sort of standoffish and she totally throws him for a loop. But he also really admires her effervescence. And in turn, he surprises Callie at most every turn. It was just a really nice development and I completely enjoyed watching them go through it.

But before all that happens, we learn the history of Callie and Mark. I hated him because he’s a user. UGH! I felt so awful for Callie but girlfriend needed to let that go already. We see Callie at her job and with her colleagues often in this book, Mark being her boss is also there. Blegh. She’s really good at her job though, and every time something good happened I totally cheered for her.

This book also had a big family aspect to it. And it was so diverse too! They all had different careers and they were all so quirky. I really enjoyed reading all their scenes together. There’s also a completely sad and huge event that happens in this book and, you guessed it, I totally cried.

The ending in this book is one of my favorites. Maybe not the epilogue, but the ending itself. Also, the rocking chair thing. Man, I loved that part. All I Ever Wanted made me laugh, and cry, and feel so many other emotions. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Kristan Higgins book though. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~
If by now I haven’t convinced you to pick up at least one Kristan Higgins book, then I’m obviously doing it wrong. But I have faith that you’re here because you want to read a Kristan Higgins book, so go out and do it! :D

Thanks for joining me on this week of Kristan Higgins love. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you all and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

13th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan HigginsThe Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN on August 27th 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 395
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
4 Stars
Lucy Lang isn't looking for fireworks...

She's looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who'll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important: someone who won't inspire the slightest stirring in her heart...or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can't risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn't enough either. So it's goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate "friend with privileges," and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn't going anywhere. As far as he's concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

 

I’d met Lucy and Ethan before, when I read Somebody to Love, which features one of the characters in The Next Best Thing. It was nice going back and reading all of their beginnings. I hadn’t actually realized, from reading about Lucy and Ethan in Somebody to Love, just how emotional their story was.

To explain the tangled lives of Lucy and Ethan would be doing you a disservice. It would take away the fun in discovering it all as you read. So I’m not going to go into those specific details.

Lucy is a young widow who’s found she can lose herself and not think about her pain when she’s with Ethan. They have great chemistry and steamy sex and it really scares her to think she can really fall in love again. And get hurt again. Because of this she pushes him away and begins looking for someone unextraordinary, someone safe. Kristan Higgins is really great at setting up our heroines on really awful but hilarious blind dates. I’ve come to really enjoy that in her books. So, Lucy gets some of that and it was pretty entertaining. I thought Ethan was really, REALLY, patient with Lucy. Until he’s done with that and tells her she can’t have her cake and eat it too. I was glad Ethan stood up for himself because he’s done so much longing and hurting because of and for Lucy.

Lucy’s family consisted of all females. Her mom, her two aunts, and herself were all widowed too young. Supposedly it’s a curse, which makes Lucy’s sister crazy and in turns drives the sister’s husband crazy. Also, her in-laws still play a big role in her life and she visits with them often. I thought that was nice, but I didn’t think they were very nice to a certain someone, so it made me dislike them.

I LOVE Lucy’s friend Parker and her son Nicky, who happens to also be Ethan’s son. Parker and Ethan dated and got pregnant unexpectedly, but they knew they weren’t right for each other in the end. They have a great relationship and are great parents to Nicky, meaning it only made me love Ethan more. Somebody to Love is about Parker and her road to a happily ever after. :)

The end of The Next Best Thing made me shed a tear or two. I won’t lie to you. I thought it was emotional and touching and you should totally read it. Simple as that!

signature1

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins

12th Feb 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Kristan Higgins Week, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins

Review: Too Good to Be True by Kristan HigginsToo Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN on December 18th 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 383
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
4 Stars
How far would you go to get over a guy?

When Grace Emerson's ex-fiancé starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she's seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor Callahan O'Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.

Whoa. No. Callahan O'Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right?

 

Ladies…two words for you: Callahan O’Shea. GAH! He was THE BEST. Probably my favorite Higgins love interest to date. What makes me say this, you ask? Well, his humor. Straight up. Yeah, he was SUPER yummy, but nothing on that wit of his! I just wanted him to talk forever. All I wanted were scenes with him bantering with whoever was on the page.

So this is the second Higgins book I read where there’s awkward family situations, the first being Fools Rush In. In Too Good To Be True, our heroine’s ex-fiance and her sister fall in love with each other the moment they meet. Grant it, nothing happens between them until more than a year after Andrew broke their engagement, but it’s still hard on Grace, who isn’t quite over the blow.

Grace has this lifelong coping mechanism where she makes up boyfriends to save her from awkward situations, and she’s just done it again to put her sister at ease for dating her ex. All this gets even more complicated when a Hottie McHotterson, Callahan, moves in next door and she totally wants him…and he seems to be totally interested in her too! Except she totally told him she had a boyfriend. :/ Things start getting out control when her family won’t let up about meeting her “boyfriend” and she has to stage these dates, fights, and soon, a breakup. It was all very comedic and very dramatic at times. I really enjoyed it, even though sometimes I could only shake my head at her.

So, then FINALLY, Callahan becomes more than her friendly neighbor with a sketchy past and things are going so great…until Andrew decides to stir the pot and everything hits the fan. Thanks, Andrew. You suck so much.

It was pretty much an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved and I was really sad for Grace. Luckily Kristan Higgins doesn’t leave us suffering for very long (it would suck if she did!). Grace gets her happy ending and I get to be happy for her and her beau.

signature1

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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