Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waiting on You - Kristan Higgins (HQN - Mar 2014)

Series: Blue Heron (Book 3)

Does being nobody's fool mean that you're nobody's love?

Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love...just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell, her first love, broke her experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.

But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them--but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.

Good second chance story. Colleen and Lucas had been in love ten years earlier but parted ways due to misunderstandings and different expectations. Since then, Colleen has been the bartender at the bar she and her brother own. She has a talent for matching people into successful relationships, even though she hasn't had one of her own since Lucas.  Now Lucas in back in town because his uncle is dying and she's forced to see him over and over. Colleen realizes her feelings for him never went away, but she's not too sure she's ready to risk her heart all over again.

Lucas had lived in Manningsport a short time, but had truly connected with Colleen. He was in love with her, but determined to make something of himself before committing to marriage. He panicked when she started talking about getting married, causing her to doubt his love. Then he didn't tell her about her father's infidelity, making her doubt it even more. Add it a really stupid move that got him marrying someone else and it looks like he's lost Colleen forever. Ten years later he's divorced and back in Manningsport to take care of his dying uncle. Seeing Colleen again reinforces just how much he has missed her, but getting her to spend any time with him is an uphill battle.

The chemistry between them is still strong, but both have trouble overcoming their pride to see that they belong together. Each of them blamed the other for their breakup, and it wasn't until Lucas came back to town that they started looking at that time differently. Both started to see that their own stubbornness also played a part in their problems. Lucas, thanks to being raised partly by his uncle and snobby wife, had always felt like he didn't quite measure up. That insecurity led to his need to prove himself to Colleen, even though she loved him as he was. Colleen had security issues of her own, thanks to a selfish father and his philandering, that left her craving proof of Lucas's love. By the time Lucas came back, Colleen was a little more confident in herself, but unwilling to risk her heart. Lucas knew that he wanted Colleen back in his life, but was still planning to leave in a few weeks. I loved watching him get sucked into life in Manningsport without him realizing that it was happening or that he actually liked being there. He and Colleen start spending time together and the love they had starts growing again. Things were really looking good for them until something from Colleen's past comes up and Lucas gets really judgmental about it. I thought he was pretty much of a jerk at that point. I loved that it was his flaky cousin Bryce who straightened him out. I enjoyed the ending, but I would have liked to see a bit more groveling on his part.

Once again the secondary characters are a fantastic part of the book. I loved the "Menopause" crowd and their antics when Lucas and Bryce were working on the house. They were hysterical with their comments. Colleen's efforts to get Paulie and Bryce together were great, and had some great scenes as awkward Paulie tried to come on to clueless Bryce. The story with Colleen's parents and stepmother went a long way to showing why Colleen had the issues she did. Her mother really drove me nuts through most of the book, but really came into her own near the end of the book. I loved her there. Colleen's half sister Savannah was a sweetheart, and I really loved seeing how much Colleen and Connor loved her and supported her. Bryce was a character I both loved and hated. He was so darn nice, but he was also spoiled, I couldn't figure out if he was ever going to grow up at all. I liked seeing the light at the end of that tunnel. His mother Didi was the one that everyone loved to hate. She was just a real pain all around with her snobbery, selfishness, and control issues. She deserved everything she got.

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