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I expected a life of music.

I expected to raise my son.

It took one look to make everything change.

I never expected happiness.

I never expected to find her.

I never expected to feel desire.

I never expected I’d be a family man.

I never expected to be loved.

I never expected to fall in love.

They say you should expect the unexpected.

I didn’t realize my unexpected would be the forever kind.


BOOK REVIEW: My Unexpected Forever

Heidi McLaughlin

BOOK SERIES: 

RATING:

“Her body is the one drumbeat I can’t master, but I’ll never give up trying.”

There’s something utterly moving about stories of second chance at love and healing hearts that learn to love again, but add to that equation a sexy tattooed rockstar who knows what he wants and will do anything, risk his own heart being broken, to get the woman he loves, and you have magic.

We met Katelyn and Harrison in Forever My Girl, Katelyn being Liam and Josie’s lifelong friend whose husband’s death brought them back into each other’s lives, and Harrison being the drummer in Liam’s band. From the moment they laid eyes on each other, we knew there was an immediate connection between them, and even under those tragic circumstances, we wanted to hope that there would be a chance for them somewhere in the future.

“I’m a widow with two children and he can have his pick of any woman he wants, why would he want me and my baggage?”

For almost a year, Harrison has admired from a distance the woman who stole his heart from the moment he met her, turning his affections into actions, offering her help whenever she or her daughters needed him, but never quite making his intentions known and giving her the time to mourn her husband. Katelyn did not fail to notice the sexy drummer in her life, everyone in her life encouraging her to move on with her life and give love another chance, but she does not feel ready to date again. She still perceives herself as married and as attracted as she may be to Harrison, she won’t allow herself to admit it or embrace her budding feelings for a man who is not her Mason.

“He’s not my type and I love my husband, whether he’s here to love me back or not.”

Through frequent flashbacks into her past and the life she shared with Mason since she was fifteen, we watch her sorrow holding her back and keeping her heart in a past that she’ll never have again. But the more time she spends with Harrison, the more her body starts betraying her and eventually she can no longer deny their physical attraction, regardless of the objections based on his rough stereotypical image of a rocker that her mind uses to fight her growing feeling for him. Every time they are around each other, her body fails her a little bit more each time, with a lingering look, a fleeting touch, a stolen kiss, and soon her heart is a battlefield of conflicting emotions.

“He’s the quintessential rocker and doesn’t fit my life. I don’t care that the way he looks at me makes me feel wanted. I don’t care that the way he looks at me makes me feel desired. I don’t care that the way he smells makes me want to crawl into his skin until I’m enveloped in his scent. I don’t care because he’s not Mason.”

Harrison’s willingness to wait for her to be ready for love again and to finally give him a chance to prove his feelings to her, as well as his eagerness to take care of her and her daughters, are heart-wrenching at times. Her hot and cold attitude towards him occasionally makes him doubt himself and his fear of rejection every so often discourage his efforts, but he never gives up. He is determined to show her what she is missing out on, but most importantly, how much he truly wants them to become a family.

“She doesn’t want me. I’m nothing but a distraction. I’m not the man she thinks she needs to help raise her kids. I don’t fit the mold, the stereotype of the All-American husband.”

When Katelyn lets herself feel again at last, love finally heals the remaining shards of her broken heart and opens her life to a future she never even hoped to have again.

Both prequels in this series, Forever My Girl and the novella My Everything, were beautifully executed stories in their own right, but this book sets a new standard in well-roundedness and flawless balance of elements, giving us a realistic and poignant account of a young widow’s battle with herself and her reluctant second attempt at romance. We watch her inner struggle, we hear her fears, doubts, reasons for not giving in easily to her body’s demands, and we cannot help but want her to be happy again. It is hard to blame her for not wanting to move on and put her past behind her when we are also shown the life and the dreams she once shared with her late husband, knowing she never expected to have to start all over again.

“What does he see when he looks at me? Does he see what I see? Does he see a single mom with two very young girls; a woman so broken and in pain because her husband was taken away from her far too early?”

We are also given a hero who never yields, never lets her rejection discourage him from believing in them and in the growing bond being forged between them. There is also overwhelming emphasis put on the wellbeing of the children in the story, the attachments between adults and children being developed at their own pace and independently from the romantic storyline. This only adds to the overall completeness of the story, making the love connection between Katelyn and Harrison even more special and well-earned.

“I know she doesn’t want me the way I want her, and I’d rather be her friend than not have her in my life at all.”

I truly loved this book. I became invested in every single character because the perfect picture we could so easily envision for them was impossible to resist. This very emotional but much sexier instalment of the Beaumont series could theoretically be read as a stand alone novel, but knowing Liam and Josie’s story as well is preferable.

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“I could live a day without water if I was granted the permission to just stare at her.”

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