Eli Wilson was never meant to end up with someone like me.
Mouse. The girl who spoke but wasn’t heard—who lived in the shadows of her family and spent most of her days being ignored by the town that shaped her.
My love for him bloomed in elementary school and I’d been forced to watch him fall in love with another girl while our friendship withered away under the weight of jealousy and lies.
But by some strange twist of fate, we were given one night together underneath the stars where I handed him my entire being, only to have him throw it away.
The next morning, I left The Hollow and vowed to never return.
I reinvented who Lyla Scott is. I built a career doing something I love and found people who accept me for who I am.
Seven years later, I’m standing in front of my childhood home with a churning in my stomach that I haven’t felt since the day I left.
When Eli finds out I’ve returned, he makes a point to show me that he’s not the same carefree boy I once knew. Life has been cruel to him over the years and he has every intention to prove that it’s my fault.
He claims he’ll destroy me, but I won’t go down without a fight.
Goodreads Review – “This book has left me with such a wonderful feeling of hope and love, though I may not have been so forgiving of Denise! Such a lovely book. 💖💖💖💖💖”
Goodreads Review – “Oh my word!! I could have finished reading this book in less time if it wasn’t for my constant need to take off my glasses to wipe my eyes.”
Goodreads Review – “I love these types of romance books – dark, angsty, small town, second chance romance, full of ‘almost’ moments and friends to lovers.”
Oh, the anguish of unrequited young love! That’s how this story starts out as young Mouse/Lyla and her family move to small town The Hollow and meet the neighbor boy, Eli. Mouse is immediately smitten but she thinks it’s one sided. That sets up for years of torment as she watches Eli grow into a handsome young man in demand. Soon he leaves behind his childhood friend. Mouse is a quiet, smart girl that just wants out of the small town where she out of place as she writes romance stories to overcome her isolation. Her mother is a nasty piece of work and her sister is a popular girl with little time to spare for her meek sister. There’s a lot of emotional abuse and family disfunction in the story. That’s the dark part not the romance which comes into play in the last part of the story after a successful Lyla comes back to town and becomes embroiled with Eli in a grown up way. The prologue let’s you know what’s going in Eli’s head but it’s a little confusing as the story begins and even later in the story when Eli’s anguish is revealed. His reality is sad as he struggles to take care of his mother and overcome his grief. The question is can he get the girl? First he has to try. There’s a lot of withholding and secrets and misconceptions among the characters that causes emotional turmoil and hurt. Can they come clean and have quality relationships? This story drew me in from the beginning and kept me turning the pages to see if this dysfunctional family could heal, if Lyla’s dreams come true, and if young love turned into a romance novel with an HEA. I liked this author’s easy writing style, good storytelling and terrific characters.