Review: All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey

A second shot at first love

After college, Ryan Kowalski decided to leave Whitford, Maine, rather than watch Lauren Carpenter marry another man. Now his siblings need his help to refurbish the family-owned Northern Star Lodge and he's forced to face the past sooner rather than later when he collars a vandal—and learns the boy is Lauren's son…

The last person Lauren needs back in her life is Ryan Kowalski. With a bitter ex-husband and a moody teenage son, she has enough man trouble already. But her son needs to learn a few lessons about right and wrong, even if Lauren has to escort him to Ryan's door every day to work off his crime.

With all this close contact, Ryan and Lauren can't deny the chemistry between them is as powerful as ever. But can a few searing kisses erase their past and pave the way for a second chance at true love?

Lauren Carpenter is a single mother of a 16 year old boy.  She’s been divorced for 8 years when she meets up with Ryan Kowalski again.  Even though she lives in his hometown in Maine, he now lives in Massachusetts so he’s been able to avoid him for the most part whenever he’s in town.  When Ryan comes home for a month to help fix up the family lodge she finds she can’t avoid him any longer, nor does she want to.

Ryan has had a thing for Lauren as far back as he could remember.  He tried to tell himself over the years that he didn’t but truths eventually come out.  Things are awkward at first when he sees Lauren because of a plea he made to her many years before – leave your husband, come away with me and I’ll make you the happiest woman on earth.  Unfortunately Lauren had turned him down and he’d headed out of town alone.  Once Lauren and Ryan get that awkward monkey off their back they have to deal with Ryan’s nosey family, Lauren’s ex-husband and her 16 year old son – all of whom seem to be in the way in one way or another.  The biggest obstacle they come across is that Ryan is really a visitor in Maine and eventually he’ll go home…without Lauren and her son Nick.

I always enjoy a good Kowalski book and this one was no different. 

Ryan was a great hero.  He was kind, thoughtful, caring, hot, sexy…I’m sure I could go on but you get the picture.  He probably made a huge mistake when he went to Lauren all those years ago and asked her to run away with him - he saw how unhappy she was and he didn’t want her to suffer – that kind of made him look bad – but he did it for the right reasons and his heart was in the right place so I had to give him kudos for that.

Lauren was the typical mom – working and trying to make ends meet, making sure she’s there for her son and making a good home for the two of them.  Nick screws up in the book and we never get a good reason why he does it but he takes responsibility for his actions and doesn’t try to blame someone else.  I had to admire Lauren for that since obviously she had raised the kid right.  When she finally made her move on Ryan, after he acted kind of like an ass to her at her friends wedding, I was so happy with her.  Sure she was a little intoxicated but it gave her just enough liquid aggression that she could tell him that she was disappointed in the how he had acted.  Go Lauren! lol 

In the end I loved that the story was filled with humor and love, a wonderful family feel and a great romance, but was so very normal.  These were normal people with normal problems and though this is fiction it could have happened to anyone.  Shannon Stacey has a fabulous way of making the ordinary seem extraordinary and that’s why I enjoy reading her books so much. 

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

No comments: