Swerve (St. Martin’s Press)
January 30, 2018
Childhood neighbors get a chance at love in Should’ve Been You, an achingly romantic novella in Nicole McLaughlin’s Man Enough series!
National Guardsman Jase Beckford wants to live a quiet life raising cattle and taking care of his mother. His childhood friend and neighbor Hannah is still his best friend, but when he walks into the Walters house one morning and sees her twin sister Becca for the first time in five years, he wonders if he missed out on something special.
Becca Walters has nursed a secret crush on Jase since childhood, but he always preferred Hannah, so she buried her feelings assuming her sister and Jase would one day turn their flirtation into a real relationship. And this Christmas, she is anticipating a proposal of her own, so Jase’s reappearance in her life doesn’t mean anything. Much. Okay, maybe more than Becca would like to admit.
However, when Becca’s sister gets engaged to someone who’s not Jase, Becca and Jase find themselves spending more together. And when secrets are revealed, suddenly those dormant feelings come back to life; but is the possibility of something between them worth risking the happiness of everyone they love?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Note to self: Do not let a novella be the first thing you read by a romance writer.
In the past I’ve indicated how difficult I believe it is to provide a believable romance as a novella. Frequently it’s hard to do in a full-length novel. Characters have to connect and fall in love, but in a believable way. I’ve also mentioned that one way to make this happen is to have had the characters know each other in the past.
While Should’ve Been You succeeds on that last score with Jase and Becca knowing each other for 18 years and Becca crushing on him just that long, so many additional complications were tossed into the mix that the slim pages of a novella just couldn’t do it justice.
I’d like to be more specific, but I can’t without spoiling the novella. Let it suffice to say that in a romance novella, it’s best if neither character has any strong attachments to any one else.
I can be more specific about what I did like. Jase and Becca were cute together, teasing, sweet, and steamy, which is one reason why I will read something more by Nicole McLaughlin. Characters actually having chemistry is the sign of a good romance writer and Jase and Becca had it.
Also, I liked the other characters. I liked Hannah, although she was the reason that Jase and Becca never found happiness earlier. I could understand her lack of self-esteem that drove her to be jealous of Becca. Obviously, McLaughlin cares about her characters.
Should’ve Been You is the third in the Man Enough series. I think I’ll visit the others and then get back to you. Or if you get there first, let me know.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3 butterflies out of 5