A wonderful, feel-good second chance romance packed with
fierce wit, irrepressible longing, heartwarming moments
and the bestest ever 80/90s references.
One of my favorite series this year!
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- Remember When: Amazon | B&N
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Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.
This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.
In case you live under a rock and don’t know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.
And not just to casting directors, either.
I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.
I should know. I was one of them.
And my life hasn’t been the same since.
My Series Review
I’ve had this series on my reading list for awhile now, I had heard it was good but not much more beyond that. Thankfully, my mood for a second chance romance impelled me to get started and I’m so very glad I did. This series was absolutely fabulous! Funny. Romantic. Sexy. Heartfelt. Addictive. I started reading late morning one day and by the next morning I was done with the entire series. I could not put it down, even during the wee hours of the night when sleep relentlessly tried to overtake me. My Kindle may or may not have slammed down on my nose at one point. 😉 It was that consuming. And let me tell you immediately, before I get into the stuff that really matters, that part of my obsession came with the most awesome eighties/early nineties references. From perms to Sun In to Reebok hi tops (I begged my mom for some pink ones of my own forEVER and I LOVED them hard once I got them) to lines from some of my favorite songs, books and movies, I seriously swooned and grinned like the big dork that I am every time they made an appearance on the page. Truthfully, just for having a Jake Ryan scene, a star is immediately earned. But I digress. I loved the characters. The story felt believable, the longing… the desire they felt for each other was palpable. And I don’t just mean the sexual tension, but the connection that sparked between our two protagonists so long ago, that grew and burned and then smoldered into embers over the years and across the miles, simply yearned for its other half. You knew these two were meant to be together. This is a romance of two people who fell in love early on and despite life getting in the way, they never forgot the other, somehow knowing they were lucky enough to find their soul mate during the turbulence and uncertainty of their teenage years. But what if your first love becomes one of the most sought after movie stars in the country? And more importantly, what if the love that blossomed so long ago is still the only real love you’ve ever known?
Rewind to 1990, senior year in St. Nicetius Parochial High School in Norman, New Jersey. Layla Warren sits in the back of her English class, mouth agape, gawking at the gorgeous new boy that has sauntered into her class oozing confidence and rocking an intangible magnetism. But when that boy, Terrence Wilmington III, sits behind her on that day, little did she know her life would forever be altered.
“He just had this way of making people around him want more. Want to know him, figure him out, be around him. I couldn’t describe him at the time, but I suppose what I was recognizing even way back then, was his Star Quality. If such a thing exists, then Trip Wilmington had it in spades.”
Trip, as he was nicknamed, was immediately in the limelight, but somehow, this girl… this former tomboy with a fierce wit, was the girl that caught his eye. They became fast friends, verbally bantering and deeply connecting on a level they both didn’t expect. They became inseparable. A duo. And despite the fact that he was the center of all the girls’ attentions and that her feelings silently grew beyond the bounds of friendship, she was happy to have gained another best friend, someone that somehow seemed to understand her to her very core.
“I was happy enough that Trip and I kind of had this unspoken thing. I don’t mean like boyfriend/girlfriend, but when we were together, we were just us. He was a different guy with me than the one he was at school or at parties, and I knew I was the only one to see that side of him. And he knew that I knew.”
Finally, after long months of push and pull, of heartbreak and tears, they were able to admit to each other what everyone else already knew. They spent one inseparable summer… attached, connected, entwined. Blissfully happy. The first book really chronicles this time in their youth… their time in school, their time becoming the best of friends, the time in which they fell in love. At such a young age, however, and at the precipice of the rest of their lives, their paths diverged as Layla went to college and Trip was left behind reeling, as the dust of their memories settled.
“Be happy. Wherever you wind up. And know that I’ll be thinking of you, wherever I am.”
As book 2 begins, we know that letters were exchanged as years went by, but they lessened and eventually stopped as their lives finally took a distinctly separate path. 10 years later, however, their paths fatefully cross. Without ruining the how of the matter, I’ll admit that the scenes had my heart furiously pounding as I anxiously awaited their first encounter after so long. Suffice it to say that the embers they thought had permanently burnt out, enlivened and blazed with an unexpected intensity they suddenly could no longer suppress. Their chemistry crackled, yet the reality of their adult lives refrained them from following what their hearts so clearly yearned for.
“When do you quit wishing for things to be different? Months? Years? Decades? You think that if a sufficient amount of time goes by, it should be enough to help you stop caring anymore. But it doesn’t. Ever.”
What ensues is a series of coming togethers and pushing aparts, misunderstandings and mistakes, moments of a love realized and a love gone wrong. What they have together is truly special, but so many things get in the way. With Trip’s fame comes a host of challenges, with years spent apart comes the arduous road to getting to know each other all over again, and with knowing each other all over again, comes the difficult task of letting go some old things and embracing some uncertain new things.
“My heart was beating like mad even as I felt it breaking in two. It was too much, not enough, everything I’d ever wanted and nothing I could have. Could a person die from this?”
Book 3 tells the final part of their story as they finally confront the questions that burden their relationship. They need to see if this connection, their love, would truly stand the test of time. Were they truly meant to be together? Could they survive all the problems they continued to face?
I loved this book again for so many different things, but one of the things I loved most is the heart of the story. I felt so connected with both characters. Layla is cool and funny and smart. She feels deeply, but she doesn’t take any crap either. Trip is wonderful. Despite his growing fame, and admittedly, troubles with it along the way, he has this wonderfully giving heart. He loves Layla so much and it’s obvious there just hasn’t been anyone else for him. The story flows perfectly and the writing is crisp, witty and smart. There’s sexiness, humor, emotion, angst… the series had it all. I was truthfully sad to let it go by the flip of the final page. This has absolutely been one of my favorite stories of the year! I look forward to reading more from this author!
“After all that we’d been through–all the laughs and the heartache and the mistakes–the reality was that we were who we were. Not perfect. Just perfect together.”
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