Loving You Always (The Bennetts #2) by Kennedy Ryan
Released October 7, 2014
Review by Sheena
Favorite Quote:“Oh God….it hurts to love like this. So sweet it hurts.” Like a sugar-tipped shard of glass piercing her heart. Every time.
*Cue Pachelbel’s Canon”
Yes….yes. I am so damn pleased. I feel so happy and free and ALIVE! My heart played Canon throughout Loving You Always. It was just that classic, and right and effortlessly tear duct triggering, heart string strummingly RIGHT. Well, not at the beginning. In the beginning, shit was pissing me off, but just as I was about to brandish my trusty pitchfork, summon the the town crier and rally the villagers for a good old fashioned mobbing. The winds changed and suddenly I found myself in possibly one of the best contemporary romance stories I have ever read. Loving You Always is book two in The Bennetts series, part one If You Were Mine, being the introductory novel that made mincemeat of my heart! A book that had me wanting to hurl my Nook across the most vast sea, all the while knowing I would torpedo myself across oceans to retrieve it so I could finish the story. Ahhh. This is not about If You Were Mine *shudders* This……this is about my redemption! My salvation!! This is about Loving You Always! I would not suggest you read it as a stand alone. Brilliant as it is, you won’t get the same intense feelings of epic RIGHTEOUSNESS that came along with being on this journey from book 1.
Kerris Walsh (swoon) and Cam (argh!) are all back and their intertwining lives are seemingly unraveling. Loving You Always opens with Walsh living as a shadow, burying himself in his work and bonding with his formerly estranged father following the gutting loss of his beloved mother and the pain of losing Kerris and Cam in one ugly day months prior. Cam (the jerk) and Kerris are settling into their farce of a marriage as he can not get over her betrayal with Walsh and she can’t be free of Walsh in her heart and in her dreams. In a cruel twist of fate, her pregnancy is the only real tie that binds them, and sadly even that tie fraying. A series of heart wrenching and unfortunate events is the catalyst for Cam and Kerris’ destruction. An utter devastation that forces them both to re-evaluate and make life altering changes. Cam’s change sends him to Paris (good riddance ass hat!) and Kerris’ change lands her in long over due therapy and…into Walsh’s strong, loving and capable arms.
Annnnnd then the awesome really begins. Their love affair is much like Pachelbel’s Canon. Starting shy and unsure – rolling, beautiful apprehensive notes, the power of love growing, boldly, promises and declarations…and then…then a breakthrough of this joyous momentum that carries through. It was like Kennedy Ryan had a looking glass and saw my broken body, bent at awkward angles lying on the proverbial concrete ground. Almost like she picked up my pulverized heart, taking care to gather all the pulp like pieces in tatters and put me back together again. She ruined me in If You Were Mine and healed me upon a bed of fucking roses in Loving You Always. The journey- *barely suppressed squeals*. The journey that Kerrs makes, her transformation, her fortitude to do the work on her soul to safe guard Walsh’s feelings! The vulnerability she showed when she would have normally ran from the heat of exposure. Her willingness to lay herself bare and not reconstruct walls to protect her heart. In the words of my smexy sister Tori, Jaysus!!!!!!!! It freaking moved me damn near to tears.
Kerris 2.0 is a woman grown and knows she can claim Walsh and does so in the most kick ass way. Kerris bravely facing down a romantic rival and making mincemeat out of the coked out useless Nordic beauty was one of my favorite and rightfully bookmarked scenes!
Walsh. He is perfectly imperfect. Generous, confident, loyal and brave. I had a moment when I clutched at my new pearls (my last pearls were damaged beyond repair in Bennetts book 1) and I worried that Walsh may evolve (devolve?) too much into his father’s ways. I never take anything at face value and I am deathly afraid that the shades of his father’s shortcomings are going to slip into Walsh’s psyche. Did Ryan give us this amazing novel where I am enraptured from the title page to the back cover, only to land a calculating and fatal blow in upcoming book three where Walsh fucking dies or something? Or hurts Kerris? Or Kerris is a bonehead and hurts him? I would legit lose my shit!!
Okay so yes, I think Cam is an immature jerk. But against all odds, I respect him now. He reemerges from his Parisian life a successful artist and it seems as if some of the darkness he carried around was leeched off him- a little. I ultimately wish he would get help for his emotional issues. Growing up an abused orphan, suppressing his trauma and how it shapes his life will do him no favors in the long run. This has been a long road for Cam, as he was so manipulative and mean sometimes! Quiet as it is kept, I believe he had plenty of room to feel wronged by Kerris, but his cagey actions squashed most of the compassion I could muster up for him.
“I can’t do… us anymore.” These last few weeks have been….I said I was done” He finally looked her right in the eye, and the resolve she saw there shook her. “I still am” Abandonment. Rejection. It actually felt strangely, sadly familiar.
From the start of the book to the end, Cam’s unwillingness to seek help and heal was problematic for me. As his wife, Kerris would not know which Cam she would get from day to day. His mood swings are classic signs of instability. Despite his inherited substantial wealth and new found professional success, he is stagnant emotionally and I fear for the next woman he gets involved with as his demons still doggedly ride him. (Watch out Jo!!!) I bid him good luck but I so have the biggest shit eating grin because I got the HEA of my dreams. An HEA so picture perfect that I wonder if in my awe and celebration, I am not missing tiny fissures that could spell disaster. I’ll stow my fears for another day! Because today honey, Walsh gets his woman and Kerris, well what she gets ain’t half bad….
“He had to have some of her. He mouthed the hot, wet flesh through her panties, moaning at the taste of her exploding on her tongue. She arched off the bed, gripping his head and rolling her hips into the searching hunger of his mouth. He slid his hand up the silky skin of her waist until he reached her bra, pulling the fragile cup down and dusting his fingers across her nipple, so hard and tight. He lost himself in devouring her…”
I absolutely recommend this series and would love to hear if you are drawn in and enjoy it as much as I do.