Book description via Goodreads:
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?
It starts out as any other ‘good girl meets bad boy’ plot. Michael is the damaged bad boy with a heartbreaking past and Lauren is the good girl who goes against the waves and decides to befriend Michael. The chapters alternate between the past and the present, which works out really well for this story. Two parts of the story of their relationship unfold at the same time; the chapters of the past tell about Michael’s sad childhood and why he is the way he is as he grows up, and how Lauren and Michael met and became best friends.. From the start, we know that these chapters are building up to something that happened between them that caused them to not see or speak to each other for 8 years. The chapters of the present tell about their chance encounter with each other and how their attempt at rekindling the friendship they used to have. But is that possible given the circumstances that ripped them apart years before?
I loved Lauren and Michael! Lauren is the girl-next-door who sticks up for herself and those that she cares about. Michael is the bad boy who doesn’t really know how to control his anger, which makes him a target for other boys to egg on. Lauren stands by as his best friend, as Michael gets involved with all the wrong type of girls. Meanwhile, Michael tries to protect her from getting hurt by all the wrong guys. Their relationship as best friends totally tugged at my heart strings, so when the climax was finally revealed, I was heart broken! It wasn’t super overly dramatic but fairly realistic and relate-able I wanted to reach into my kindle and punch people but hug them at the same time. And I’m not going to lie… I may have shed a tear or two… Okay, more like got really watery-eyed.
In the present, they have both moved on from their past and have forgotten about each other… Or have they?? I loved seeing them try to build back up to the friendship they had before. At first it’s awkward but they eventually get more comfortable with each other and their banter is still the same as it was when they were younger.
Like I mentioned before, the drama wasn’t over the top. There aren’t really any sex scenes, but the chemistry is definitely there. This is a beautifully told love story, filled with the perfect amount of angst and romance. I loved this book and will more than likely be reading it again.