The One You Can’t Forget by Roni Loren
Series: The One’s Who Got Away, #2
Released:June 5, 2018
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “You normally talk to strangers about their hypothetical underwear?” “Don’t you?” His smile was playful. “You can learn a lot about a person that way.” “Oh really? What do yours say about you?” The question was out before she could stop herself. “Hmm.” He peeked down and apparently reached for the waistband of his jeans to check. “That I’m irresponsible because I forgot to do laundry again and had to go without.”
I promised. I promised I wouldn’t fangirl out this review. I said to myself, Sheena- surely you can manage to get through an objective and informative romance novel review without fangirling out. Then I sat down to compose my thoughts, asking myself the first question I always ask myself after a read: “how do I feel having read this book.” And the first sentence that came to mind:
So, yeah, the promise I made not to fangirl was broken practically before it was being made because I reallllllly love Roni Loren and I reallllly love the direction she is taking this monumentally important and socially relevant series.
The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn’t deserve to be the one who got away. But nothing can change the past, so she’s thrown herself into her work. She can’t dwell if she never slows down.
Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca―the attorney who helped his ex ruin him―his simple life gets complicated.
Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca’s secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other
Rebecca Lindt is a survivor of the Long Acre high school shooting massacre. She’s dedicated her life to her career and has a teflon armor of cynicism, bitterness, misery and apparent loneliness that drives her to be unbelievably uptight and unforgiving. It only makes sense that she is a kick ass, take no prisoners, “Oh, I’m sorry, were those your balls? Hand em over, pal” divorce attorney with a bad bleach job.
Wes is a recovering alcoholic. His inherent goodness was practically tangible. He’d been dealt a raw deal over the past few years, starting with his ex wife and the waste that was laid to his life during their nasty divorce. Wes’ ex wife did quite the number on him during their divorce proceedings (a late reveal that will surely make you rethink certain carnal inclinations, for lack of a less spoilery phrase). As a result, he made poor choices, lost everything, his reputation was in tatters …and then he succumbed to alcoholism. Life kicked We’s ass but he kicked back harder and has managed to reclaim his life and work toward his full potential. Wes is a fantastically talented chef and has dreams to bring his culinary arts to life. He has grown from his fall from grace and doesn’t need any reminders of how his ex tried to take him out, or the attorney who helped her take him down.
But fate is a fickle bish and when he finds out that the attractive woman who he saved from a robbery is the same attorney (with a much better look) who helped his wife slay him in court, well. Surprised is an understatement.
You weren’t lying when you said your Good Samaritan was hot. Woo, boy.”
“Which completely doesn’t matter because he figured out who I am, and now he hates me.” Rebecca huffed. “I’m not feeling so fond of him either.”
“Oh, I doubt he hates you. Who could hate you?” Kincaid patted Rebecca’s arm. “Come on. It’ll only be an hour or so. Maybe y’all can talk it out. And it’s for a good cause.”
“What? Your love life?” Kincaid bit her lip.
“Well, the doc is super adorable. And smart. I love buttoned-up, brainy guys. They are usually full of surprises behind closed doors.”
Despite their unpleasant past connection and incorrect preconceived notions Rebecca and Wes develop a friendship and bond. Wes works with at risk teens and Rebecca comes from a wealthy family and has worked hard to acquire her own wealth as well. She sees an opening to support the man she’s come to fall for and despite her (mean!) father’s meddling and ultimatums. Wes isn’t without difficult family dynamics either and has to thwart his own share of drama from affecting his relationship with Rebecca.
“Can you help me murder my brother?”
“I was thinking we could get rid of them both in one go. How far is the drop from the balcony?” Rebecca tapped her chin. “We could make it look like an accident. I know someone who could defend us.”
Wes and Rebecca are at their best when they are baiting and joking together. They are especially enjoyable while engaging with the teens Wes teaches. Now, I don’t like kids poking their heads where they don’t belong in my romance novels, ruining the vibe, but these teens were an integral part of the story, especially when getting too close to one troubled kid, puts lives in danger and Rebecca is forced to relive her own teen horror story.
Being with Wes, opening herself up to him and their chemistry was therapeutic for Rebecca. She carried around some serious feelings of regret, guilt and remorse for her perceived indirect role in Long Acre’s school shooting. Allowing herself to see herself worthy of love, and able to love someone else was freedom for Rebecca and her character growth was just as palatable as We’s. They were complete opposites, but were equally yoked and once they got out of their own way, became a dynamic couple.
Her hands slid along his chest, her fingertips sending threads of awareness straight downward, and grappled for his shirt like she was going to tear it right off him. He was all for that. He backed her against the bookcase, rattling some of the items on one of the shelves, and aligned his body to hers. Every deprived male cell in his body rushed to the surface, and he had no shot at playing it cool. His cock grew hard and heavy, demanding things it had no right to, while her nails scraped him through his thin T-shirt. All the years of abstinence seemed to coalesce into one pounding fist of need in his gut. He broke away, panting, and pressed his forehead to hers, trying to rein himself in. “We should probably stop this. Like right now. My bedroom is exceptionally close, and I’m losing my inclination to do the right thing.”
“The right thing?” she asked, breathless.
“Yes. Not rushing this. Not talking you into something and then falling on you like an animal. I haven’t been with anyone in a very long time. I haven’t wanted to.” His grip on her neck tightened, his control barely tethered. “But when you kiss me like that, touch me, I can’t think of anything other than stripping you down right here, putting my mouth on every inch of you, and then sinking deep inside you and making you scream.”
A soft gasp escaped her. “Oh.”
Oh! Oh! Ohhh! Indeed! The One You Can’t Forget is one of my favorite Loren novels, I appreciate the delicate subject matter being a source of discussion and observed from many facets. The stories of school shooting survivors and how their brush with death shaped their lives doesn’t sound very romantic, but that is the strength of great writing, Loren took these damaged, traumatized characters, built worlds for them with cracks and fissures, and wrote stories to heal their shattered souls. It was a captivating, sexy, dramatic and super feely story and I can not wait to find out where the Long Acre survivors take us next.