Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Barb's Book Review... Wherever You Will Go

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Brooke Willis had everything she ever wanted: a happy marriage, volunteer placement at the art gallery, and the promise of starting a family with the man of her dreams.

Saxon Reed had everything he ever thought he needed: a successful career, nice cars, expensive apartment, and more money than he knew what to do with.

After losing her husband Brooke insists on taking over his company to keep his dreams alive. Struggling in an industry she knows nothing about, Brooke turns to Saxon, her husband’s best friend and business partner, for guidance and support. Their mutual grief, and Saxon’s need to look after his best friend’s wife, creates a connection beyond just business.

Can Brooke take over the company and find a new life without saying goodbye to the past? Can Saxon protect and care for Brooke without scaring her away?

What happens when your heart doesn’t listen to your head? When lines are crossed and boundaries are pushed?

“Life goes on, whether you choose to move forward and take a chance in the unknown or stay behind, locked in the past, thinking of what could've been. I don’t want to live in the past anymore. I’m so lonely; there’s nothing for me here.”

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First let me thank Stephanie for gifting me and ARC of this novel in return for an honest review. Stephanie is a new author to add to my growing list for this year. She is also from Australia, did you need to know that, maybe not but I am always excited to read authors from outside of the US. And Australia is one of my favorite places after all. anyway, I digress.

*** small spoiler alert ***

Wherever You Will Go starts off with the story of a wonderfully close and loving couple, Nate and Brooke Willis. Brooke who volunteers at an art gallery and various other places, doesn't need to work. Her husband and the love of her life Nate owns his own investment banking business. That allows her to be the happy loving wife who isn't stressing for money. They have been married for ten years, having been college sweethearts. They talk of starting a family, it’s time and Nate as well as Brooke is ready for that next step.

The next day though things change drastically for this loving family. Nate, on his way to work is killed in an auto accident. Brooke's world crumbles. Hard. (God, the feels. The first few chapters had me in tears and sobbing. It was like I was there, holding Brooke’s hand through this hard time. It makes you tell the one you love “I love you” a few extra times just in case. Because we are not promised a tomorrow after all.) No one can console Brooke, her soul is hurting as the rest of her tries to deal with the loss that is swamping her. The only exception is Saxon, her late husband Nate’s best friend, business partner and brother from another mother. The moment she sees him after the funeral she breaks down completely. He knows how she feels. They share in the pain of this loss. Nate meant so much to them both.

After the funeral Brooke falls into bed and literally doesn’t move for days. Her parents and best friend Rachel check on her . In order for her to get her ass out of bed and shower it takes her mom breaking down when she finds her still in bed in her funeral clothes and her feeling guilty for making them suffer more. (But come one they should know this was hard, I mean her life died when Nate did. She needs to restart and that is not an easy thing to do.) Brooke tries to move forward. The hope that she is pregnant with Nate’s baby is holding her up. But the tests keep coming out negative. The doctor tells her it is most likely the stress that is keeping her period at bay.

Three weeks later when Brooke wakes up and her period has started she flips out. Total divafied, emotional, ‘I’ve lost my mind’ breakdown and destroys her master bedroom ensuite bathroom. Mirror smashed, shower door smashed, everything she can get her hands on is tossed against the wall and shattered. Her one hope of something of Nate’s, a little piece if him is gone. (Again, my feels were all over the place. I know the feeling of loss, most of us do and the closer you are to that person the worse it hits you. Talk about a sucker punch. But it only made me read on further.) Brooke reverts back to the couch potato who refuses to eat, just laying there wallowing in her hurt and misery. Her parents and Rachel still check on her but they get no where with her. She barely acknowledges them. It isn't until Saxon comes over that things change.

Saxon -after getting calls from Nate’s mom that she isn’t letting anyone in or answering her calls- goes over, not bothering to knock he uses his key and when he walks in she is half sitting up on the couch, dirty hair, unwashed and in Nate's baggy ass sweats. His heart goes out to her and the moment she sees him she has a complete breakdown. After just simply holding her on the couch he gets her to go shower. He is getting her out of this house. She needs to be out in the air and out of this house and all of its memories. The guilt for not coming sooner swamps him. He should have come sooner. When she goes to the spare bathroom -the one she has been using since she tore up the other- he goes to investigate. Then he is slammed with guilt and worry. Everything is destroyed. Almost as much as she is.

Going out for coffee and spending time with Saxon seems to have lightened her heart a bit. There is still a lot of anger in her at losing her soul mate but Saxon isn;t letting her get off that easy. He asks her about Argo. Nate’s company. When she decided to keep it months ago he hoped she was coming in to the business. Now it was time to know. There hours out and talking about Argo get her to thinking about what she wants to do. She has a small epiphany once she is back home. Her being this way. wallowing in her hurt and misery is hurting the people around her more than she had seen before. Everyone is there for her, canceling and rearranging plans they had in case she needs them. It’s time to change that.

“Life goes on, whether you choose to move forward and take a chance in the unknown or stay behind, locked in the past, thinking of what could've been. I don’t want to live in the past anymore. I’m so lonely; there’s nothing for me here.”

The next morning she calls Rachel and needs to go shopping for ‘work suits’ to get her head in the game before she talks herself out of it. Rachel agrees and they hit the mall. Several hours and many bags later they hit the food court to have lunch. They’ll go for a movie after all this shopping and just have a day out. Its the first time in three months that Brooke really starts to feel lightened. She can do this. When she gets home she has a nap and then when she wakes she goes into cleaning mode. The next day is much the same. Her house is cleaned top to bottom, including her now naked ensuite bathroom. Time for a clean slate and a new beginning for the next morning. She will be strolling into Argo to see exactly what is needed to keep Nate’s legacy alive. To make a name for herself in his world.

Working at Argo is just what Brooke needed. Maybe it was working and spending everyday with Saxon. The one person who knows exactly how she feels and there is no need to hide her feelings from him. As they work closer and closer and more time passes things between them grow to a new level. The small brief moments turn into a fire that they can no longer deny. With a night of passion at the office Brooke freaks out. Of course, because she is so mixed up in her head. Every thought revolves around the growing guilt she now feels. But thankfully Saxon is able to get through to her. For now at least. They attend work functions, gala’s and socialize in a business manner when it’s needed. Saxon also makes every available opportunity he can to take her out. Keeping her and himself busy.

The tension is still there but Brooke is trying to just live, not think. A co-worker Paul is the only real problem at the moment. He has made Brooke and other woman in the office uncomfortable but so far hasn’t crossed a line. Saxon talks to Brooke and is making arrangements to move him out of the Argo family in a way that won't come back and bite them in the ass but after months of working there he makes a move on Brooke. One that is not welcomed and turns into a fight she won’t forget anytime soon. This only adds to the guilt and pain in Saxon. He failed to save her. He wants her but she still isn’t ready to open herself up to him completely. Her heart belongs to Nate, even though he isn’t here anymore.

It takes a night out at Nate’s parents house for all the cards to crumble into place. Jeanine, the nasty snarly bitch makes Brooke feel like she has hurt Nate by being with Saxon. Jeanine doesn’t think he is good enough for her. Needless to say that night Brooke hurts Saxon. Breaks his heart.. after he swore to never give it anyone he had laid it out for her and she ran it over like a bug. After Brooke leaves him standing in the driveway he confronts Jeanine and vows to never see her again. Some family she was. Then Brooke awakens to Saxon coming into her house and curling up in bed with her. She thinks he forgives her and as she passes out she hears him say he loves her. But when she wakes he is gone. Its not until she gets to the office early to speak to him she sees his office is destroyed. His hurting over nate and her was finally let out in a method of mass destruction.

After a complete breakdown on her part Brooke goes to see Nate. She needs to talk to him, needs to feel him again. As she leaves the graveside she sits in her car and she feels something when she hears a song on the radio. Finally after a bit of listening to a song on repeat… she knows what she has to do. Finally she has accepted Nate s gone but will never be far from her. It’s then that she feels lighter and at ease. Now, Brooke is a woman on a mission. One that takes her two very stressful, long months to fulfill but it was what she needed to do to gully move on.

The moment she shows up on Saxon’s doorstep is the moment of truth. Can he forgive her? Will he? One knock on his door is going to make her day or crush her and she will have to start over. What could happen when he opens the door? They had a rocky start, skidded to a halt and now you have to wait and see what happens.

Let me just say… this story had me all over the place. I would go from laughing (out loud and getting looks) to shock, to crying and then into a wtf just happened state. It kept me on my toes to say the least. I loved it. My feels have been shredded and I can honestly say it was completely worth it. I’ve not read a book this emotional (in a good way) in a long time. And can’t wait to jump into the next installment.  Also, as I read this one my iTunes decided to play Crazy by Kat Dahlia and Jesus it is so Brooke and Saxon so I thought I would share it. Just listen to the words. I put it on repeat while I read the last 20 percent of this book. Just saying, LOL!



'Cause I ain't been myself.
Lately something's going on.
Nah boy, I ain't even slept,
I been up all night long
In my head,
Tryna figure out what I want, what I do,
What I don't.

Is it crazy all that makes sense is you?
Tell me, 'cause it's blowing my mind.
Tell me, 'cause I don't understand,
How someone just can walk into your life,
And everything before them you forget.

Is it crazy?
Tell me what's going on,
I need to know.
'Cause I ain't tryna lose myself,
Or lose control.
Baby, tell me the truth,
I need to know.
Is it crazy?
Baby, is it crazy?

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