My name is Raphael Cruz. I was once a man made up of only flesh and bone. Never feeling, just existing. I indulged in the pleasures that others gave to me, and those I gave to them. That's all it was—pleasure. Physical pleasure. No emotions, no attachments. I didn't need all those feelings, didn't want them. There was no longing for love, no longing to let anyone in. Until I found her. And I gave in.
Harlow Hannum showed me what love was all about. I savored it and held it close, not even knowing I really wanted it in my life. She made me feel loved. She made me accept love. She taught me how to love in return. My heart was open to it all. My heart was hers. It belonged to her. But, she never knew. And then lies, deceit and betrayal forced me to lose the one thing that made me more than a man who just existed.
I should have told her I loved her when I had the chance. I should have told her I gave in to all the powers that love possess.
Will I ever have the chance to tell her? Will my past mistakes never give me that chance?
Tears come down my face because as he stands here I wish things were different. I wish I could remember loving him because I know he's terrific but if my mind can't remember loving him, how can my heart?
He wipes my face with his thumbs.
"Don't cry. It's not your fault. Everything will be fine. I'll miss you, Harlow, but I'm used to missing you." He takes his hand away from my face.
"I gotta go. Please take care of yourself. I know you'll do great teaching this year, I know you'll do great at getting better. You have my number. Please use it if you need me and I'll be in touch with Craw about how you're doing." His lips come down so close to mine, I think he's about to kiss me, but instead his lips find my cheek and I know one of my tears have reached them. "I... I can't promise myself that it will be easy just to be your friend, but I know this is the way it has to be."
Then Raphael Cruz walks away...
As I read those words, I too had tears running down my face. (in all honesty I was all out ugly crying and cursing the author!)
M.R. Joseph can turn simple words on a page into something magical that will have you devouring the pages of her books, and this one was no exception.
Always In is an emotionally gripping tale of Second chances and fighting for love when you believe all hope is lost. This book continues shortly after the end of book one Giving In, and shows the struggles Harlow, Cruz, Willow, and the rest of the gang are going through while Harlow is healing.
Not a huge fan of Cliffhangers, I was devastated at the end of book one, knowing I would have to wait quite a while for book 2 but I can tell you that this book was worth the wait, surpassing any expectations I had as a reader. I felt like I was one of the gang while reading, whether it was because I was Laughing at Willow's completely ridiculous yet hilarious sexual innuendos, or I was crying because my heart was breaking at either Harlow's or Cruz's frustration, this book grabbed me from the beginning and me tied up in knots right up until the end. Whatever you do, be sure to have a stress ball, box of tissues, and chocolate on hand while reading!
The secondary characters have much more of a role to play in this book than in the first, so you definitely get a better sense of who they are and what they are about. For instance Willow, one of Harlow's best friends and a Teacher at the same school as Harlow, has a big mouth and has no problem calling it as she sees it, like in this scene "Harlow, you are just going to sit there and not say a thing about that guy? What in the hell has gotten into you lately? Wait. I can answer that. Nothing ! Your hymen has probably grown back and now you're a twenty-four-year-old virgin."
We also get a lot more of Bella, Cruz's sister-in-law, I love their relationship with each other she's very motherly which he definitely needs in his life, and she always gives him the best advice like this, "You can do one of two things here, Raph. One, Move on. Which I don't really think you'll do. And two, you can fight the biggest fight of your life, bigger than any war you have fought in, do anything and everything in your power to make your way back into her life. You are a fighter and honestly, I'd be disappointed if you didn't fight for her."
I can't tell you about my most favorite part of the book because that would be a big HUGE spoiler and I don't want to spoil this book for anyone! I can however say that you do not want to miss out by not reading this book, it has quickly jumped to my second favorite book (the first being Giving In)of the year. An although this book is the last in the series that is dedicated to Cruz and Harlow, I was assured we would be seeing more of them in the rest of the books in the shore series!
See Where It All Started.....
The Shore Series #1
Raphael Cruz doesn't do it. He just doesn't. Cruz doesn't fall in love. He's a "get in and get out" kind of guy. Ladies love him and fall all over him for his swoon worthy good looks and overwhelming sex appeal. He knows how to talk to them and tells them exactly what they want to hear. When he's done making them scream his name, he shows them straight to the door. The meaning of the word love doesn't exist in his world. But that could all change with a wink of a girl's eye... And one hot-as-hell romp in a bar bathroom.
Harlow Hannum is your typical girl-next-door. She has the brains, the beauty, and the money. What she doesn't have is the luxury of being someone's first choice in the game of love. She always comes in a distant second place, leaving her guarded with her feelings. Lies, betrayal, and secrets of her past follow her wherever she goes, no matter how hard she tries to hide them. That is until she's reunited with the one guy who can ignite the spark in her heart that's been extinguished for so long.
With sunny days, heated nights, and love lingering in the air in the beach town of Sandy Cove anything can happen. Especially when fate steps in for Harlow and Cruz. Will their blossoming friendship turn into unexpected love or will the collision of their opposing worlds be the end of what could have been?
Wow! I am currently nursing the worst book hangover I can ever remember having. I truly haven't read another book since I read the end of Giving In by M.R. Joseph.
Now, I was given a complimentary copy of the book, and when asked what I thought of it, I told the author that I really do think this is the best of her books, which is saying something because I loved her other series!
Harlow, a jilted lover, turns to a cute stranger at the bar for comfort. Cruz watched the hottie at the bar slam back another shot of tequila and figured he could turn her frown upside down. A year later, when the two of them run into each other sparks ignite.
Harlow and Cruz are explosive together whether they are fighting or well the other F word, lol. The supporting characters are not just in there for fluff like some other books, they each have a part to play and you can really feel their connection to each Harlow and Cruz, Which makes the story that much more interesting and enjoyable to read.
I thought that the way that the author wrote Cruz and Harlow; it was so easy to empathize with them. These aren't your typical picture perfect couple who come from great families, or have tons of money. Harlow comes from a good family that is old money, and Cruz comes from a family with a checkered past, but both are not without their scars, they're damaged just like the rest of us. I think that is part of the reason I enjoyed reading Giving in so much. I mean yes, there was great sex scenes, drama, romance, and humor, but I kept reading because I cared about what was happening to these people.
I cried for them, I was angry on their behalf, and I cheered them on. This is not a book that you can just walk away from; once you finish it, you'll be anxiously awaiting the next in the series to see what comes next.
My biggest complaint about this book would have to be that it does end in a cliffhanger, which I am not a fan of at all in any book. However, that probably has more to do with my lack of patience.
I'm a book enthusiast, turned author, who loves all things "Happily Ever After".
My first book, 'Reunion' debuted in November, 2012. Meant only to be a Christmas gift to my family and closest friends, word got out, and here I am. The second in the series, 'You Belong With Me', released in March, 2013, and the final installment in the series, 'Letters to Luca', released August 2013.
Mom and wife by day, writer of contemporary romance by night, I believe in soul mates, true love, and all that mushy stuff.
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