You and Only You
Blessings, Georgia #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: February 22, 2016
Number of pages: 322
Cover Artist: Tom Hallman
Welcome to Book One in the Blessings, Georgia series of Southern contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala. With the support of her handsome, unassuming friend Mike Dalton, LilyAnne Bronte is finally ready to put the past in the past.
It's never too late
Mike Dalton has secretly loved LilyAnn Bronte since they were all children together in the small town of Blessings, Georgia. But one fateful day T.J. Lachlan roars into town and starts showering LilyAnn with his charm, and Mike feels his dream of them being more than friends slipping away.
To find the love you missed
LilyAnn, as anyone in Blessings will tell you, let herself go after her fiancée was killed in Iraq. The attention of the handsome new guy shocks her into a revelation: she's ready to live again, and maybe the best is yet to come. The thing is, everybody in Blessings is sure it's Mike and LilyAnn who belong together-and they're willing to do whatever it takes to make LilyAnn realize the love of her life has been by her side all along.
(Originally published as The Curl Up and Dye.)
Those of you who are familiar with Southern women know that the phrase "Bless Your Heart" isn't exactly a good sentiment. In this quote, Mike brings someone from work to Thanksgiving Dinner, trying to make LilyAnn jealous. As a man, he totally didn't get this, but the women, well.. There's a reason their moms are smiling.
LilyAnn strode across the room with a smile on her face stretched from ear to ear and immediately thrust her hand forward.
“You must be Homey. I’m LilyAnn Bronte, the absent hostess, and it’s my home in which you will be dining, so welcome, welcome.”
Mike glared at LilyAnn, but she was ignoring him.
“My name is Honey,” Honey repeated, still smiling, still working the dimples.
Lily giggled. “Well, silly me. When Mike asked if he could bring you to dinner, I would have sworn he said Homey. I do apologize. Whatever must you think of me?”
Honey shook her head. “That’s fine. We all make mistakes.”
“Bless your heart. You are a sweetheart,” LilyAnn said, and then waved a hand at Mike as if he’d just committed the biggest faux pas. “Mike, for goodness sake. Get your honey Honey something to drink.”
Then LilyAnn giggled again. “Your honey, Honey… oh my goodness, I’ll bet people play with your name like that a lot. Well, so nice to meet you. Enjoy yourselves. If y’all get bored with all the man talk, feel free to join me in the kitchen. I promise not to make you work.”
She wiggled her fingers in a darling little bye-bye motion and strode out of the room with a toss of her head and her backside swinging.
Mike didn’t know what to think. She’d been so damn nice, and he’d been hoping for at least a frown. He glanced at Honey, who was already engaged in conversation with his dad at the wet bar. When he looked at his mom and Grace, they were grinning. He glared at the both of them. He didn’t know what the hell was funny and wished this day was already over.
I actually read the second book in this series first. I read it last year. The emotions it evoked have stayed with me and has kept me on the look out for more by the author. Seeing this, the first book in series re-released with a new title made it an natural choice.
I remember LilyAnn and Mike as very periphery characters in the second book. I knew that Ruby from the salon had helped to bring them together after they danced around each other for years, but that was about all. So I felt pretty confident going into this book that I didn't really know their story. And as it turned out, I had no clue.
I think that the blurb was a bit deceptive on the whole "showering LilyAnn with his charm" is a vast overstatement. He barely noticed her and they had limited interactions... well, until the very end. Then all kinds of attention was to be had. Too bad it wasn't the good kind.
I'm about to get a bit spoilery, but I feel this needs to be said. There were some triggers hidden in this book. Triggers of rape and stalking ending in violence. The perpetrator was caught, and though I cheered on while he got his comeuppance, it involved a bit of suspended believe. We are given a theory on the how, but it still felt far fetched. But a happy ending is a happy ending.
This was an emotional story about two people who everyone knew belonged together, but needed to learn it for themselves. They had to learn to communicate with each other and be open to new possibilities. I had to grab the kleenex several times during this book, as it has me by the heart strings. I really didn't feel that anything was spoiled reading this out of order and will be on the look out for the next book in the series. I gave this book 4 stars.
Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read and review the book.