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 heart… an 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.
Source: eARC through Netgalley/Harlequin for review purposes
Favorite Quote (it’s from an ARC, so it might be different in the finished copy):
“Don’t be mad at me, you inconvenient woman.”
Colleen is a fixture in Manningsport, NY. She and her twin Connor own the local tavern. She’s known as a bit of a flirt and an amateur matchmaker. Colleen is charismatic, funny, and a friend to all. So when the love of her life returns to Manningsport to see his dying uncle, she slaps on her brave face and acts like it doesn’t rip her heart in two to see him after all these years.
Lucas is from southside Chicago, but when he moved in with his uncle’s family as a teen, he lost the poor, but loving home and is thrust into a small room with no windows because his uncle’s wife is a class A bitch. He loves his uncle and cousin, Bryce, but he misses his father, who is in jail, and his older sister, who is in Chicago. When they move to Manninsport, NY when they boys are seniors in high school, Lucas immediately falls for Colleen (and the feelng is mutual).
Well, it all comes down to a mistake that was made (and the impossability of there being another way for it to play out) and feelings that were hurt, then one thing leads to another and their relationship is irreparably damaged. It was kind of senseless and heartbreaking, like you would expect something like the breakup of first, true love to be.
Kristan Higgins is one of my favorite authors. I know going in that I will probably really like the story and the characters. This book is no different, but I really feel like it’s one of her better books. Colleen was just so much fun, so quick-witted and funny, I loved her spunky attitude. She made me laugh a lot. The chemistry between Lucas and Colleen was phenomenal. Probably my favorite parts were the backstory to when they were teenagers. Higgins did a very good job with the flashbacks. I wanted a whole book about their teen romance (please write a YA book, Kristan!). The first meeting between the two, and then the prom…Holy Cow. I actually thought that phrase quite a bit while reading.
I love how Higgins incorporates background characters into the story. Both Colleen & Lucas’ family dramas were very entertaining and did nothing to detract from the romance of the book, but in fact added quite a lot to the story. I was very invested in all of it. I very nearly cried more than once. I couldn’t find any indication of it, but I really believe (hope) that Higgins will be writing more stories set in Manningsport, especially considering Colleen’s brother’s story in this one. I would also love a book for Jack Holland, brother to the characters in the first two books, Faith and Honor. Kristan Higgins never disappoints, but this one surpassed most of her other books. I hope we have a lot more coming from Manningsport and if not, I may have to resort to writing fanfiction again.