Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she's suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.
Fortunately, her friend Ryan Stewart offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn't want to like Maggie, not when he knows Ryan has feelings for her too. But it's hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she's sleeping under the same roof.
Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she's haunted by the past, she can't open herself up to the future...
A chance meeting in a totally awkward situation throws Ryan Stewart and Maggie Lachlan together. The completely unlikely friendship starts strong and stays that way. Since Maggie had pushed all of her friends away after her husband's suicide almost a year earlier this was definitely something new and different for Maggie. Then there's Ryan's brother, Brodan. Brodan is big and brooding and at first reminds Maggie of her dead husband – but she soon sees that there's not much at all that connect the two men.
Maggie is incredibly attracted to Brodan, but he doesn't seem to want her like she wants him. Even after Ryan offers the use of their house to her after her house sells in a day and Maggie all but throws herself at Brodan – he still turns her down. But soon Maggie finds out that there's a lot going on with Brodan and Ryan that change her thoughts about the brothers and this changes how she looks at them as well as her life and how she's living it.
When I read the blurb to this book I had no idea how incredibly emotional the book was going to be. It seemed like it would be more of a lighter book with Maggie finally finding her way after the death of her husband. Well, she did find her way but it wasn't quite as light as I thought it would be.
Maggie has cut herself off from almost everything and everyone, except work, since her husband killed himself 10 months earlier. She even cut herself off from parts of her house and is haunted by the thoughts of her husband shooting himself - knowing full well that she would be home soon and find him. She never found a note and believes that she was just not lovable – even though he was the one who had done multiple tours of duty in the armed forces and had become more sullen and depressed with each return. When she meets Brodan and Ryan they are the last people she expects to bring her out of her funk. But Ryan's sunny smile is something that she can't seem to resist...she just has to put up with Brodan as well – take the good with the bad.
Maggie is so determined to make Brodan act on the attraction that she thinks he feels for her but he turns her down. I have to admit that at this point I was thinking she was a bit selfish as he's said that he can only be her friend. I understand not taking no for an answer but she needed to back off. Right after that Ryan sheds light on that subject – explaining to Maggie that Brodan doesn't date because Ryan doesn't (he feels it would be unfair to date someone knowing he's going to die). This helps Maggie but she still has issues with it.
Brodan and Ryan both bring Maggie out of her funk and without realizing it help her out of her depression. Finding a letter - finally – from her dead husband is devastating but she now knows that she's not to blame for his death. And her dead husband? Such a Rat Bastard with capital letters. My God! The info that is revealed is mind-boggling. I can't believe that one human would do that to another and I felt even worse for Maggie. By that time, however she really had dealt with her issues and could work through the info in the letter better.
The book hits highs and lows like I couldn't believe. The depression, death and forced personal restrictions really showed me three people who had cut themselves off from life. The trio used each other, in a good way, to find their way. The end was happy, but the story got incredibly sad before it got to that point. It was a definitely a dark tale and one that was an emotional roller coaster. Paulson, however, really wrote the story well and kept my attention throughout. Never did I feel like I wanted to put the book down to try to recover for what came next – it was done so well that I even enjoyed the sad times. I wouldn't want to read this kind of angst all the time but it was definitely a book worth reading.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
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