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276 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 5, 2013
The story starts out with Emily, her friends, and her cousin, Alana, on their way to Culture, a male strip club, for Emily's bachelorette party. These ladies have quite the time and I was instantly laughing especially at Alana who seemed a little uptight at first.
I'm not even capable of an auditory response; my vocal cords have shorted out and my jaw has dropped to the floor. Raunch-y.
Alana is smart, beautiful, polite, the essential good girl if you will. I mean after all she is the daughter of a judge but something or should I say someone has been missing in Alana's life, actually for about five years to be exact, and what she doesn't know is she is about to come face to face with that something or someone, known as Jack the Stripper aka Ryan Pierce, a man she fell in love with, gave her heart and soul to, the realest thing in her entire life, but sadly she wakes up one day and he is gone. This brings on several issues for Alana but most of all she has questions! Lots of them. Why is he a stripper, why he never contacted her and most importantly why he left?
Ryan is sexy, loving, energetic, protective and certainly not perfect, but he loves Alana and that is as clear as day.
"I never thought I would touch you again, " he says smoothly, his tone laced with emotion.
Naturally they are both shocked and Ryan has some serious explaining to do which he fully intends too and hopefully Alana will understand. I enjoyed these two so much, in every way and the banter between them had me laughing and smiling. Their relationship never really ended, if you know what I mean.
"I've been dead for five years Alana." "You look pretty alive to me." He shakes his head, "I came back to life five minutes ago."
As Alana ponders what to do she decides to meet with him in hopes to have all her questions answered. Ryan slowly explains things to Alana and as they both take their time getting to know one another again, they find themselves in a relationship that is so natural and meant to be.
Ryan and Alana worked as a couple, they had chemistry, understood each other and loved each other unconditionally. She came from money, her father paid for everything and that included law school, somewhere she desperately wanted to go.
"I'm not lucky, I'm just privileged. There's a big difference," I clarify indifferently.
Ryan came from a home where his father wasn't around, his mother was a functioning alcoholic and his twin brother was a drug addict. All of which touched me in a very personal way. I laughed and I cried. These two have a lot to work through and they do. They learn to trust each other and fight for everything they have ever wanted. I envied them both for their unconditional love and strength.
Alana amazed me, especially when it came down to the fact that he was a stripper because let's face it, how many women could handle that. Ryan wasn't exactly thrilled about it but he had a plan and everything made sense. They both had insecurities and strive to love one another and I was completely in love with both Ryan and Alana, their determination in life, progress in their relationship and their ability to trust one another and work through the good times and bad.
I want to be the father I never had and the husband my mother was cheated out of. So if I have to take off my fucking clothes to make the money I need, I'll do it. And I pray you want me enough to suffer through it. Because I promise I'll make it up to you for the rest of my life."
Marissa Carmel did a fantastic job writing a story that I devoured in a day and fell in love with wholeheartedly. She has extreme talent, writes with passion, emotion, humor, love, reality and it all shows through her characters and the story being told.
Why did Ryan leave, what kind of future do they have, will he continue his life as a stripper, will their families approve of their relationship? All of these questions will be answered when you read this book. It is a standalone with no cliffhanger and I highly recommend you go buy it and read it for yourself.
So many quotes I loved in this book as well so I will leave you with just one more.
"You have power, you have force, and you irreversibly own my heart."
One more thing this is undoubtedly one of the best stories I have read about unconditional love!!
“I may have had more lovers than you, and I may take my clothes off for countless women, but you are the only one who can strip me bare.”
Alana, her cousin and friends go to a strip club to celebrate her cousin's bachelorette party. When one of the strippers comes out on stage Alana is shocked to see her first love, Ryan. She gave everything to Ryan 5 years ago including her virginity and he just disappeared the next day. When Ryan realizes Alana is there he tells her he has always loved her and can explain his disappearance.
When you find out why Ryan disappeared you will probably have the same reaction I did which was pretty much WTF!?? The reason he disappeared didn't seem plausible to me and at that point I was thinking this was a three star book. I have to say by the end I really loved this book. It brought me to tears twice. I even found my self having a tiny bit of sympathy for the people I hated at the beginning which was mainly Alana's father, Sean, and Ryan's mother. I still didn't like them but I did feel for them. Most of all I was heartbroken for Ryan.
I am not a big fan of second chance romances mostly because if it didn't work out the first time I have a hard time believing in undying, super romantic love and I like all that mushy stuff. I really liked Alana and Ryan together aside from Alana being wishy washy in the beginning. I could totally understand that she had a right to be mad at Ryan and to have trust issues but it was just annoying that she went back and forth on beginning with him when she obviously wanted to be with him. I also had a hard time believing in Ryan's circumstances but as I continued to read the story really pulled through in the end.
I like my book boyfriends with more of a spine and a little more possessiveness. Ryan showed a little bit of that spine at one point but it would have been nice to see him show her who's boss. Let his innermost alpha male out! That would have made me super happy and it would have made this book a 5 star read.
This was a good read. It was a little unbelievable at times but brought me to tears a couple of times and if a book can get that kind of emotion from the reader then it is definitely worth reading.