Today we are so excited to be sharing USA Today bestselling author Renée Carlino’s all-new contemporary romance stand-alone,
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In this evocative and poignant novel from the USA TODAY bestselling author of Blind Kiss and Wish You Were Here, a young widow in the midst of grieving her late husband through Facebook posts learns to heal and fall in love again.
“See you on the other side.”
Laya Marston’s husband, Cameron, a daredevil enthusiast, always said this before heading off on his next adventure. He was the complete opposite of her, ready and willing to dive off a cliff-face, or parachute across a canyon—and Laya loved him for it. But she was different: pragmatic, regimented, devoted to her career and to supporting Cameron from the sidelines of his death-defying feats.
Opposites attract, right?
But when Cameron dies suddenly and tragically, all the stages of grief go out the window. Laya becomes lost in denial, living in the delusion that Cameron will come back to her. She begins posting on his Facebook page, reminiscing about their life together, and imagining new adventures for the two of them.
Micah Evans, a young and handsome architect at Laya’s father’s firm, is also stuck––paralyzed by the banal details of his career, his friendships, and his love life. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, only that there is someone out there who can bring energy and spirit to the humdrum of his life.
When Micah discovers Laya’s tragic and bizarre Facebook posts, he’s determined to show Laya her life is still worth living. Leaving her anonymous gifts and notes, trying to recreate the sense of adventure she once shared with her late husband, Micah finds a new passion watching Laya come out of the darkness. And Laya finds a new joy in the experiences Micah has created for her.
But for Laya, letting another man in still feels like a betrayal to her late husband. Even though Micah may be everything she could wish for, she wonders if she deserves to find happiness again.
Written with Renée Carlino’s signature “tender and satisfying” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life) prose, this warm and compassionate novel shows us how powerful the courage to love and live again truly is.
Narrated by Avery Caris & Stephen Dexter
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Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF
Carlino’s talent to spin a tale and convey her words with such style has always enthralled me, so it’s not difficult to imagine how excited I was when the publisher sent me the ARC via NetGalley.
I really wanted to like Leyla and it niggled me to bits that I didn’t connect with her until nearly the end of the story. I tried to put myself in her shoes in an attempt to understand why she reached out to a lost one the way she did. Logically, sorrow consumed her; however, it did seem a tad odd for someone in her profession to cling memories in such an obsessive manner. It all felt rather illusory to me.
I really liked Micah and gave this lovely guy ten out of ten for his steadfast patience. He set eyes on Leyla and that was that! She was the one he’d been dreaming of, like a sign to get out of the rut he’d got himself into and start anew. Even though he was on the receiving end of something confusing, he quickly became aware that specific boundaries weren’t to be crossed. Yet him pushing so subtly paid off to a certain degree. This gentle and compassionate man began to tap into Leyla’s subconsciousness, occasionally making her reflect on what could be, other times causing her deep distress.
You see, there’s a lot to be said about social media. You post, it’s read. Is this considered to be stalking? I can’t answer that because sometimes I like to check out what my authors are up to. Was Micah overstepping the mark by reading what Leyla uploaded? It is indeed food for thought. What she was doing showed me she’d hit rock bottom and rebuilding her life was the last thing on her mind.
It’s not until disaster struck that Leyla realized just how important Micah had become to her. Yet she still held back…hmm, I don’t think Micah’s twin sister helped here. Honestly, I would have run a mile, too. I often wondered if the wide berth Micah had given Leyla would backfire on him. It was her call, so he has no option but to play the waiting game. One thing is for sure. It was like a wake-up call for Leylah, and going back to her job meant putting things into perspective.
Carlino’s character development left me with my mouth wide open. How twins can be so different, how one can be so sensible and sensitive and the other…well, I honestly thought she’d got a screw loose. But one thing is for sure, neither can live without the other. I had an awful lot of trouble getting my head around some of the comments Micah’s sister made and not just to her brother. If it was her idea of playful banter, she lost me there.
Observing how Leylah overcame feelings of crippling emptiness and how she learnt to cope with her emotions…even when faced with a few home truths, didn’t make for easy reading. However, Carlino got home to this reader that hope and the will to carry on regardless is the key. The tone of the story changed three-quarters of the way in with some damn good dialogue lightening up the mood, and I have to say Pretzel, the dog, tickled me pink!
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com