All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey (Kowalski Family #5)
Released: November 12, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “Coffee?”
Lauren pressed a hand to her stomach, cursing the butterflies. “I think I’ll have decaf.”
“They have that effect on women.”
Why does Shannon Stacey write such adorable books? Her Kowalski series has quickly gone to one of my most anticipated series. In this book we get a hero who was so desperately in love with the heroine when they were younger that he asked her to leave her husband to be with him. Although Laura married young and had to care for her son by herself most of the time while her husband partied with his friends, she still loved him, so she declines Ryan’s advances. Ryan leaves, eventually building a successful contracting business in Massachusetts. But now he is back in the small town of Whitford to help his brother Josh repair the snowmobile inn his family owns. And since it’s a small town, he can’t avoid Laura for long.
Laura eventually divorced her husband and now works for a small insurance company. Her son is 16 and for years now when life gets too stressful, she daydreams about what life would have been like with Ryan. When Ryan catches her son vandalizing the inn (he is a good kid and this is rare for him) Ryan asks that Nick work off the payment, meaning Laura and Ryan are going to be seeing a lot of each other.
First of all, while this is a lovely romance between Laura and Ryan, this book is so full of all the Kowalski’s and small town residents. Mitch and Paige (previous couple) decide to get married at the inn, meaning all the Kowalski’s invade in this book. I love their interactions, especially Josh who is always looking to give his brothers a hard time. I can’t wait for him to get his own book.
For the first 25-30% of this book, Laura and Ryan don’t have much page time together. I was antsy to get moving with their relationship, but the build up ended up working so well for me. When they finally get to it, it was worth the wait. Ryan is such a good guy and understanding that while he is building a future with Laura, her son and ex-husband have to be considered too. While Laura is a little cautious with Ryan around her son, he is 16 and she makes him realize adults do things and need things that maybe he doesn’t understand. I like how all of that played out. Plus Shannon Stacey writes really sexy books with great sexual tension and romance scenes.
My favorite thing in this book is how things are resolved at the end. I don’t want to spoil but I think things are handled so realistically that it surprised me. Which is sad that it stood out so much. I wish other romance books would tone down the glitter and rainbows at the end of the book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely, solid HEA. But when you have kids and live in different towns, decisions have to be made. Sometimes decisions that are hard. And the author doesn’t shy away from giving us a realistic glimpse into combining two separate lives. Well done.
I can’t wait for more. More, more, more.
PS – they can all be read as stand alones so jump in.