Oh, what a tangled web we weave in the name of love! As someone who’s always believed that love is not a constant, but rather a human condition that constantly transforms throughout the course of our lives, adapting to our circumstances and the people we grow to become, this story could not have found a more perfect audience than myself. I was drawn to this story, lured by its very premise and the gut-wrenching emotional conflict that would inevitably ensue, but within the sticky walls of a love triangle, I soon discovered a most persuasive exploration of the very state of being in love, of its limitations and its endless possibilities, and of how adaptable the human heart can be. To say this book was a pleasant surprise would be a mild understatement—it not only introduced me to this author’s beautifully crafted prose, but it also pushed my mind to live this story with the characters, to travel this tortuous journey with each one of them, and to lose myself in the many what-ifs a story like this cannot help but spark. I was rapt from the first page, consumed by its every word, and I still cannot stop thinking about it.
I’m married. Married. To Kael Shepard. My best friend since I could walk. Brother to the man I really want.
Maverick DeSoto has spent her whole life falling in love with Killian Shepard. But five years his junior, her childhood infatuation had to remain just that for a very long time. When their time finally arrives, however, it ends just as quickly as the man she’s loved all her life unexpectedly marries her older sister. We meet Maverick on her wedding day—not to the man she’s always dreamed of marrying, but to his brother Kael.
“It’s not such a bad thing to fall in love with your husband, Maverick.”
“How do you do that when you’re in love with someone else?”
From the moment we enter Maverick’s mind, there is no doubt in our own that this young woman’s heart is utterly broken. We feel her pain, uncertainty, remorse, shame, and the deeper we delve into her mind, the better acquainted we become with the inner battle splitting her heart and soul in two. Because Maverick has not only married the brother of the man she loves—she has also married her lifelong best friend, a man who has selflessly loved her all his life.
It may take a while. Years even. But I vow right here and now to whittle Killian Shepard from my soul. It will hurt like a motherf*cker. I’ll stumble. I’ll fall. I’ll skin my hands and knees when I do. Then I’ll pick myself back up, dust myself off, and try again.
Through constant flashbacks into their shared pasts—recent and distant—and through frequent changes in point of view, we get to witness all the most crucial moments that have led these three people to a point of no return, and through that, we also discover how differently the Shepard brothers have always loved Maverick DeSoto throughout the years. We are shown every pivotal moment in her life that has led her heart to wish for a change. But even as we watch her desperately trying to move on and return her husband’s affections in equal measure, we also watch her every forward step followed by a regretful step back as her heart betrays her time and time again.
At any one point in my life, I have been infatuated, in lust, in love, or just plain obsessed with Killian Shepard. It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to shut off feelings you’ve had for the same person for twenty-some years.
I will not tell you which future Maverick’s heart embraces in the end or the many reasons why she makes that choice, but I will tell you that this story is not what it first seems, and it will undoubtedly stay with you long after you turn that last page. It’s a story that shows how much every single decision we make—regardless of what is in our hearts—can change the course of our lives, and that love does not always heal everything. Some loves were always meant to be short stories, and others were destined to become epic novels. No matter how entangled their pages would always be.
It’s not grand gestures but the small things that seem so mundane and inconsequential that slot themselves inside our memories forever. When everything else fades with time, those are what shine bright, undying.
I found myself frequently lost in my own thoughts while reading this book, pondering these characters, their actions, and wondering about the many directions this story could have taken, even though in my heart, there was always only one happy ending. This book will inevitably generate dialogue, as all great love stories do, and regardless of which ‘side’ you find yourself favouring, you will agree with me that the author has done these characters justice and shown us just how bittersweet true love can be. This rare gem of a story is a top recommendation from me.
“…underneath the hurt and betrayal is where true love lies, Mavs. You just have to unearth it.”