Review + Giveaway: Good Intentions (#2, Welcome To Paradise) by S.L. Scott

My Thoughts

 

The sexy sequel that packs more romance and emotion. I was increasingly hooked with each intensifying and heartfelt moment.
The series keeps getting better and better!

4halfstars

Synopsis

good intentions coverTwo words sum up my summer in paradise—Evan Ashford.

I have a life back home I must return to, though my heart battles this reality. What started as a carefree summer fling has become so much more. Evan has become so much more. He’s become everything. Cupping his face, I stare into his deep blue eyes, wanting to lose myself once more… needing to know he feels this too.

Although our connection won’t stop the summer’s end from rushing toward us or silence the demons Evan battles, I have faith our love can overcome the obstacles that will undoubtedly arise from us choosing to be together. I still worry… Will our good intentions be good enough? But I’m all in, willing to take the risk, knowing he can destroy my heart if I’m wrong.

Like a riptide, I was forever changed by one woman—Mallory Wray.

Our eyes meet and we spend a moment looking into the others’, reading the fear and the love that mingles within. I move slowly down and kiss her forehead, her nose, her eyelids, her cheeks, and her chin before I kiss her lips again—soft and gentle, not rushed, but sensual. She smiles and I die inside knowing that I won’t get to see her face every day. I’ve been spoiled by this sweet angel giving me all her days and nights. I possessively take hold of her wrists and like so many times before, the air stills as our connection intensifies. I can’t help myself when it comes to her.

I kiss her.

Rain pours down harder and I wrap my arms around her, engulfing her body, her love, her soul.

My Review

Whereas Good Vibrations had a light-hearted, humorous, angsty, summer-fun-infused tone, Good Intentions had more of what I tend to connect with… deeper feelings, more character development, more intensity… and well, trouble in paradise. I loved the sense that what started as a summer fling has now developed into an actual relationship laden with very real problems and feelings that are starting to take root in the hearts of our hero and heroine. I’m the type of reader who gravitates to books featuring well-developed characters with complex and intensely felt emotions, whose growth you can almost see on the page. This sequel made big strides in giving me what I was looking for and I loved seeing the deepening romance between Evan and Mallory, as they continue to grow, shake off the sands of a short-lived affair and take the difficult next steps to be together beyond the close of the summer.

“Our lips meet, and under a full Hawaiian moon, that kiss tells me were were always meant to be more than a fling in paradise. That summer, we became forever.”

Last we read in Good Vibrations, Mallory and Evan admit that their feelings have developed into something more than just a casual thing. With Mallory’s impending departure back to Colorado, however, their future is burdened with questions and insecurities.

“I want to make sure I’m with him for the right reasons. The chemistry is there and I never question that. I think his commitment to me is there. I love him, but I don’t want to end up hurting him either. I can’t be with him because I think I can save him. I don’t want to be his savior… I want to be his partner.”

At the beginning, old threats re-appear in a big way, making both Mallory and Evan question mutual trust, but with time apart, clearer thoughts prevail and secrets are revealed setting them on the right course. During this time of turmoil, I really loved the more intense moments that really made me connect with their romance a little more. Their emotions felt honest and profound.

“My heart is soaring as everything becomes so clear in that moment. Evan is everything that matters. He’s mine and I’m his and all of our good intentions are good enough.”

I think in a sense, the trouble they have in the first part of the book is cathartic and necessary to their progression. It frees Evan from old guilt he’s been shouldering and it forces them to realize how important they are to each other… how much they need to communicate more… how much love they truly feel.

“I should’ve told you before now, before the party. I felt it. I always felt it. When I made you those promises that we’d be together, that was my heart speaking to yours, not just words. I’m in love with you, Mallory, and I should’ve exposed my true feelings a long time ago instead of internalizing them.”

I have to say I am loving the Evan that is emerging and growing. I sometimes felt he was a bit childish and too carefree for his age in the first book, but in Good Intentions, I really had a better understanding of his struggles with his past, with his family, and with his own future. I was glad to see him tell himself that he needed to get it together and figure out what he was going to do with the rest of his life. And although Mallory herself is also going through some personal growth, I think she somehow gave him the focus he needed. Evan was a lot more expressive in this book, and I liked seeing him so vulnerable and loving.

“She’s everything I never thought I’d find in a girl. I love her.”

I thought Mallory also did a great job of forcing transparency between them. Throughout the book, she makes herself, and Evan, have those hard, but necessary conversations.

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I thought that S.L. Scott did a really excellent job with pacing too. You had some big-time drama where I was able to revel in the intensity of those scenes, then you had moments of quiet bliss as their romance evolved, giving Evan and Mallory a well-deserved chance to just be happy with each other.

“We spend the next two weeks talking, laughing, sharing and exploring. We don’t fight. There aren’t even tiny moments of irritation. We’re happy. It is as simple as that. It seems that all of the hurdles that once stood in our way have been jumped and left in the past.”

But then, of course, you have Mallory’s imminent move back to Colorado, which punctuates the feeling of dread towards the end of the book, bringing all the doubts to the forefront as they could no longer be ignored or shoved aside for another day.

“I’ve never loved anyone like this before. I don’t even allow myself to think about you leaving because my heart aches and my mind goes into some kind of freakish negative overdrive thinking about every possible thing that can hurt us or separate us.”

And once they are forced apart and aided through the dual POV of the book, we get to better comprehend the thoughts, feelings and motivations of Evan and Mallory individually and I think there is a lot of goodness in there. I was particularly captivated by the warring feelings inside of Evan. He’s a lot more complex than I originally thought and I think we have yet to see his full character arc.

Overall, I was really impressed with this heartfelt sequel. While it was true to itself, keeping with some light humor and big-time steam, I honestly thought it was even better than the first!  I definitely felt more connected to the story and its characters. S.L. Scott’s vivid writing, solid pacing and sharper character development made me feel everything much more strongly. In the end, we don’t exactly have a cliffhanger, but we are left with a lingering question to ponder until book 3…

“Am I enough? I need to know.”

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