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When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.
Or that it would end so painfully.
Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.
As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?
**COPY OF BOOK PROVIDED FOR HONEST REVIEW**
I finished this book at 2:30 this morning. I just could not go to sleep without knowing how it was going to end! And even now, hours after finishing it, I still can not stop thinking about the characters. The story, which is told in both Lauren and Michael's POV, just sucks you right in. I think it is the flashes we get of the past that truly takes hold and won't let go. Instead of being told about past events, we get to experience them right along with the heroine/ hero.
We begin in current day with Michael and Lauren seeing each other for the first time in 8 years. They are both shocked and unsure of what to say to the other because things did not end well between them. She is still very hurt by Michael's actions and he is not sure how to handle the situation that he left so broken all those years ago.
But the draw to each other is too great. just like it was all those years ago.
Michael can not help but remember how much his friendship with Lauren meant to him. We get those pieces of the past from his POV to show us the tragedy of his childhood and how those events affected him. We get to see how Lauren came in his life and brought out a side of him that no one else could. And of course we also get present day and how he struggles with what the right thing to do by her is. Can he ask for forgiveness when he is not sure he deserves it?
Lauren felt an immediate draw to Michael. Despite all the rumors that were flying around school about him, she still feels the need to befriend him. And when she does, she quickly sees that those rumors are just that. Through her flashbacks we get to see how her bond with Michael grows and what he means to her. We also get to see her current daily struggle with dealing with their past and how things ended. Can she let it go without confronting him and asking all the questions she still has?
At times this book had my heart hurting. I was sure things would not end the way I wanted them to. It was difficult to read some of the past events without tears coming to my eyes. But I wouldn't change any of it because the story of Michael and Lauren is one worth reading. It makes you believe that out of the bad can come good. And we all need reminded of that every once in a while. ❤