It’s with bittersweet anticipation that we awaited the last book in The Sullivans series and personally, this was the story that I wanted to read the most. One by one, the Sullivan siblings met the loves of their lives, and one by one, they found their happily-ever-afters. We watched Lori “Naughty” Sullivan witness it all, rejoice in her brothers’ and sister’s happiness, sometimes with a cynical attitude and always with a protective streak, but ultimately sharing their joy and only wanting what is best for them. We got hints throughout the previous books that her love life might not be all that rosy, but the details stayed a mystery. In this final book we finally find out who Lori really is, what motivates her and what is in her heart. We unveil the vulnerable woman behind the sassy attitude, and let me tell you, she might just be my new favourite!
Lori’s story starts on a sad note. We find her heartbroken and disillusioned with love. She is grieving the loss of a relationship, as dysfunctional as it was, and this latest heartbreak in her life has shaken her to the core, making her question her place in the world, making her give up her one and only passion in life – her dancing. She has given up her career, left it all behind and decided to find a random place away from it all where no one knows her, to regroup, find her bearings in life again, and lick her wounds. And that is how she stumbles upon a farm in Pescadero, CA looking for a farmhand.
“Lori had something to prove to herself first before she could go back to her real life. And she hadn’t yet proved it, hadn’t even come close to turning the darkness that had settled inside her these past months back to bright, vibrant color.”
As idyllic as her new surroundings might be, the farm owner does not appear to be impressed with her sudden appearance. Grayson has escaped city life himself, hoping to find comfort in isolation and solitude. He carries the heavy burden of guilt on his shoulders for the way his marriage had crumbled and turned into tragedy, having resigned himself to the idea of never deserving to find love again.
“For three years, solitude had been his companion and he’d convinced himself that all he’d ever need again were the blue sky, a thousand acres of pasture, and the crashing waves of the ocean. Until, from completely out of the blue, Lori Sullivan had barged into his life… and promptly blown his carefully emotionless world to shreds.”
Two broken hearts in need of mending, two lonely individuals desperate to love again but fearing another disappointment. Lori barges into Grayson’s quiet and predictable everyday life like a breath of fresh air, her smiles and positivity bringing his walls down, one cranky brick after another. While he likes his silence, she likes to talk, while he grunts his disapproval at everything she does, she responds with a smile. Before they know it, they are under each other’s skin, their mutual attraction steering the wheel, but their growing affection for each other being the driving force behind it. They thread the frustrating waters of unspoken sentiments and fears of unrequited love, week after week, until they finally give in to all the pent-up desire between them and when they do, oh boy, do we get fireworks!
“Nothing has ever been better than this, Lori. Not one goddamned thing.”
They heal each other, fall deeper in love with one another day after day. Grayson fulfils her dream of finding someone who would do anything humanly possible to make her happy, someone who would want to protect her and make her feel safe in giving her whole heart to him. Lori’s love for Grayson finally overshadows his guilt and pain, giving him hope that in Lori’s love he has finally found his home.
“Every time he kissed Lori and tasted how fresh and sweet she was, Grayson felt as though he was being bathed in warm sunlight on a perfect summer day. And even now, as he kissed her beneath the moon and the stars, that warmth moved through his veins, pumping through a heart that had been cold for so long.”
A beautiful story of finding the kind of love that feeds the soul, flesh and bone. In true Bella Andre style, we are taking a journey into her unique brand of ‘meant-to-be’, into a reality where true love finds you regardless of how much you fight it or how little you expect it.
“I love you… So that means you’re going to have to love something again. I know you hate doing anything I say, but this time you’re going to have to. Because you’re going to love me back. I’m going to make sure of it.”