Series: Bowler University #3
Published by Willam Morrow
Published on January 6th 2015
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After graduating from Bowler University, the last place Cam Ruiz ever expected to find himself is his hometown. A bad job as a bouncer and worry over his mom’s health make living in Paradise anything but. There’s only one thing that can make his return any harder—running into the only girl he’s ever loved.
Tate Ellison made a mistake when she was eighteen, one that cost her the best thing she’s ever had. She’s always hoped the regret of losing Cam would fade over time. Too bad it’s only grown. She took comfort in the fact she’d never have to face him again, so his presence in Paradise throws her for a loop.
The pull between them is instant and when the truth of what happened years ago tumbles out, they share a mind-blowing kiss...which leads to more. But the past has a way of repeating itself. When all the cards are on the table, Cam and Tate must decide what they are willing to do to make it last.
I confess, I usually never read books in a series out of order, but I was offered the ARC of this book – even though it’s the third and final in the Bowler University series – and I’m such a sucker for second-chance-romances that I couldn’t turn it down. It works really well as a standalone though, with enough background given to easily set the story up on its own and I was very quickly sucked in.
Cam has returned to his dead-end home town after graduating college in order to look after his sick mother. He has big plans for his future, and has no intention of staying in the town he was desperate to escape as a teenager, but all of his plans get thrown into disarray when he runs into Tatum – his high school girlfriend, and the love of his life who broke his heart when he left town four years ago.
But not all is as it seems, and it soon becomes clear that Tate is still as in love with Cam as he is with her, and sparks are very quickly flying. Cam is still terribly hurt from their break up, and even though Tate thought she was doing the right thing at the time, she now knows that letting Cam go was the worst decision of her life. So, amidst much arguing, flirting and game playing, there is a great build up as they both sort through their feelings, and from the moment they start to let their guards down with each other, it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves back in each other’s arms.
“Tell me this is right. Tell me we’re special, that we’ll never have this with anyone else.”
Her voice broke on a sob. “We’re special. This is right. It’s always been you, Cam. It’s always been us.
I love that the author doesn’t make us wait for the reunion. It comes fairly early in the book, so we get to spend a lot of time with them as a couple as they reconnect. This is a real soul-mate relationship – even after their time apart, Cam and Tate still know each other inside and out, and you can really feel the chemistry between them. And I loved how both of them were so willing to admit their feelings and open themselves up to being together again. They loved each other, they wanted to be together, and that was it.
“You break me, Tate,” his rocky voice said.
She kissed his skin. “And you put me back together.”
But their issues from the past are still very much a part of their present, and they have a lot to work through. Throw in some external drama, and it makes everything so much more heart wrenching as they decide what it is that they want, and what is worth fighting for.
The storyline is one that I’ve read before but Megan Erickson does a great job with it, injecting a sense of reality into the storyline. I could absolutely understand the reasoning behind all of their decisions, and even though the angst gets a little bit unnecessarily intense towards the end, it works, and creates a great sense of anticipation leading up to the big finish.
There’s a great cast of side characters. I love Tate’s family! Their storyline there adds a nice touch of drama, and the dynamics between the characters was fantastic. The characters from the previous book also all make an appearance, and there is some sweet story progression for them.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s sweet, it’s sexy and it’s beautifully romantic. The drama in the storyline works really well, and I easily got lost in the story. If you’re a fan of the series and already know Cam, you’ll probably love it even more, but I was still very happy reading it as a standalone.