Review: All The Pretty Poses (#2, Pretty) by M. Leighton

My Thoughts

Sexy, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.
I was instantly riveted by the story of Reese and Kennedy…
a story rife with pain, heartache and longing for a happily ever after
that seemed forever out of reach.

Synopsis

all the pretty posesStrength…
It took Kennedy Moore years to put her life back together after Reese Spencer shattered it. But she did. Now, years later, strong and independent, she is in pursuit of a single dream—to dance with the Altman American Dance Theater. Unfortunately, Kennedy is learning that a girl from nowhere with no money and no contacts might never be able to reach her goal. 

That is, until Reese reappears, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Kennedy just can’t refuse. In exchange for working on his yacht for a few short weeks, he’ll get her an audition with the famous dance troupe. All Kennedy has to do is keep her head down, work hard and resist Reese. That sounds easy enough, right?

Weakness…
Reese doesn’t want to make it easy for Kennedy. Seeing her again has started a fire in his blood—an unwelcome one. It took him years to forget about her before, so this time he has a plan. It’s simple: Get Kennedy on his yacht, seduce her, get her out of his system, move on with his life. That sounds easy enough, right? 

But the one thing Reese didn’t plan for was Kennedy herself—a girl so strong yet so broken, she makes him want to rescue her, to take care of her. To save her. Even if he has to save her from himself.

My Review

I first have to say that M. Leighton is the queen of building sizzling, unstoppable chemistry between her two protagonists. She redefines sexy, turns up the heat on desire and gets us instantly enthralled by the will they or won’t they push/pull dynamic in each of her novels. She is also infamous for throwing a curve ball at us somewhere near the end… a plot twist we never see coming that changes everything. I really loved this story… a second chance romance packed with lots of emotion, longing and heartache. The story of Reese and Kennedy is a story of love interrupted. A love broken by time and circumstance and one that remained in pieces due to the hurt and guilt that consumed their memories.

“I loved him. With my entire soul, I loved him. And he left me. Just like that.”

Reese Spencer has it all. Money. Power. Good looks. Charm. Women. But when he walks into one of his clubs to see a beautiful woman dancing on the stage, he’s inexplicably, but irrevocably entranced. There’s something about her that holds him captive. And when he catches her eye, time simultaneously stops and rewinds as he recalls the one girl that held his heart so long ago, that is, before he walked away so suddenly from her life, leaving her without any explanation.

“The girl in me, the one who loved him so deeply so many years ago, wants to run to him, to throw myself in his arms and ask him where’s he’s been all this time. But the woman in me, the woman who had to clean up the mess of that girl, the one who suffers the echoes of all those tears, knows that there is nothing to run back to. There never was.”

Kennedy Moore has never forgotten Reese. She gave him everything and he tossed it all away the day he left her. Seeing him again stirs up all the feelings she worked so hard to suppress. For so long now, all she’s focused on is her dreams of becoming a dancer and dancing at his clubs is a means to an end. And now, Reese is before her after so many years. He’s no longer the boy she loved, but a man filled with confidence, arrogance and determination. He’s made it clear that he wants her, and her body prickles with desire she struggles to hold back. He makes her an offer that is tough to resist. A summer working on his boat in exchange for the dance audition of her dreams. Kennedy must remain steadfast and push him away. Her heart can’t take more pain… she’s been through so much… more than anyone knows.

“This might be the best few weeks of my life. Until it’s over.”

Being around Kennedy is so unsettling for Reese. He doesn’t realize how much he’s hurt her, how much he’s missed her. He also realizes that he’s become more like his father than he cares to admit… and he despises him. Kennedy somehow is able to make him feel again and all he knows is that he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anything. The more he learns of her life during the time they’ve been apart, the more he knows he has to have her. Make her his. Fix what he can to amend his wrongs.

“There will never be anything but this, but us. You’re mine, Kennedy Moore. All. Mine.”

Their relationship becomes a battle of wills. Reese wills stop at nothing to make her his, but Kennedy refuses to be the latest conquest in a long line of girls before her. But every moment they spend together, resolve softens especially as the old Reese resurfaces and shows her kindness and caring. And finally, she gives … he gives … and they relent to the connection that is back, pulling them inextricably together. Truths are revealed as they share their feelings, which continue to deepen. They truly begin to understand what happened then that has led them to now.

“I expected you to be my hero, but that wasn’t fair. I shouldn’t have put that on you. I needed to learn to be my own hero, because in the end, people can only hurt you if you let them.”

Seeing them together felt so right. So meant to be. They both harbor so much pain, as well as secrets that threaten what they have just now regained. Just as everything seems to finally fall into place, a series of truths begin to shatter everything all over again, piece by piece, splintering any potential future they dared to envision. There is so much that happens that is unexpected, moments that truly moved me to tears. So many lies, so much pain, so much love as well. Too many things must be reconciled for them to find a way to happiness. One of the messages I took from this story is that more than anything, the choices we make dictate our future. Words are powerful and long-lasting, but our actions must mirror our convictions and in this case, Reese has to make the right choices if he has a chance to love Kennedy for the rest of their lives.

This has definitely been one of my favorite books by this author, the story replete with a multitude of emotions I felt so completely. Loved it!

“I’ve loved you from the moment I met you. For fourteen years, I’ve loved you. And I’ll love you for a million more.”

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

Each book features interconnected characters, but can be read as a standalone. Click the image below to purchase through Amazon.

all the pretty poses all the pretty poses

About M. Leighton

M. Leighton at deskM. Leighton is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Wild Ones and The Bad Boys romance trilogies.  She is a native of Ohio, relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she lets her mind wander to romantic settings with sexy Southern guys much like the one she married and the ones you’ll find in her latest books.  When her thoughts aren’t roaming in that direction, she’ll be riding horses, swimming in ponds and experiencing life on a ranch, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.

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