If I closed my eyes, I could still see them—all blonde sunshine, ocean-blue eyes, and long limbs. The glint of Lake’s gold bracelet. Pink cotton candy on Tiffany’s tongue. My scenery may have changed from heaven to hell, but some things never would: my struggle to do right by both sisters. To let Lake soar. To lift Tiffany up. The sacrifices I made for them, I made willingly.
A better man would’ve walked away by now, but I never claimed to be any good. I only promised myself I’d keep enough distance. If I’d learned one thing from my past, it was that love came in different forms. You could love passionately, hurt deep, die young. Or you could provide the kind of firm, steady support someone else could lean on.
Lake was everything I wanted, and nothing I could ever have. I was nobody before I knew her and a criminal after. The way to love her was to let her shine—even if it would be for somebody else.
Caroline's Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book wrecked me. WRECKED. ME.
After reading the first instalment, Something in the Way, and knowing that this is a trilogy, I just knew that this second book was going to make me hurt before I can even begin to feel better again.
So, you know that this is not a standalone and it’s imperative that you read the first book before picking this one up.
“It made my gut smart each time it hit me – she was getting older every day, living a life that didn’t include me.”
I normally like to set the scene when I’m writing reviews, but I seriously don’t want to give too much away. So all I’ll do is include some of my favourite quotes, and say that at the end of the first book, we know that Manning is headed to prison, so that’s where he is at the beginning of book 2.
“What was wrong was that I was in love with someone who might never be mine. Someone I hadn’t seen in a year and whom I saw everywhere.”
The whole time I was reading this novel, I felt tense, anxious, hopeful and desperate. I felt pained, thrilled and then heartbroken. Seriously, this author! I stayed up until the early hours to finish it, but then spent time just lying there trying to get to sleep, while the story flitted through my mind. The first thing I did this morning was grab my Kindle and look at all my highlighted lines and passages. *big sigh*
“My love for him spanned the ocean, the sky over our heads, an infinite universe of stars.”
However much the plot twists and turns, Lake and Manning remain obsessed with each other. And, I'm obsessed with their story! The things they thought about each other, the words they spoke to each other. Manning’s desire and control were on a viciously tight leash.
"I'd wanted to fall to my knees and pay homage. To overwhelm myself in her. Soak my senses in her. Touch her body, smell her neck, taste her mouth, hear her moan, feel her relief that I was home."
And, Lake. In the words of that song, she’s “not a girl, not yet a woman”. By the time Manning sees her again, she’s really blossomed and fulfilled the promise of her potential full-blown beauty. Add her goodness, her innocence, her intelligence, and her drive. She’s pretty much the full package. His conflicting emotions about her are so visceral. Manning just sees her as all things pure and beautiful and, no matter how much he wants her, he is averse to tainting her with his past and the fear of what his love might do to her.
“Her innocence and simplicity defied the chaos in my head.”
Lake starts the book as a girl about to finish high school but, at the end of the book, I felt weirdly proud of her. I really felt that the final lines in the story were proof of her becoming a woman. Her decisions, not her age, determined her step into adulthood.
Do we need to talk about Tiffany?! There are so many Tiffany-haters! LOL. My main feeling about her is that she’s misunderstood. I don’t love her but I can sympathise. Her self-worth is determined by other people’s opinions of her. She only seems to look for affirmation through other people’s eyes. It seems like she’s always a bitch to Lake but we can also clearly see moments when she truly loves her sister. I think she's fighting for her identity but because her dad's always written her off, she struggles to push herself forward in the ways that really count, and only does so in ways that she understands - through her sexuality. I hope I'm not wrong about her!
"There were many things I wanted from the depths of my soul, but I understood how loving something too much could do irreparable damage."
God, my poor heart!! Honestly, October cannot come soon enough so I can get closure on this series!!
Julie's Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Emotions run riot with this, the 2nd instalment of this trilogy.
Manning, Lake and Tiffany continue with the triangle, after the cliffhanger of Manning being led away, accused of a felony but had no way to prove his innocence or alibi, as that would have raised other implications.
We start with Manning doing his time in prison, about a year after the end of the first book, and having Tiffany visiting him each month and, whilst she was only with him before the arrest because Lake liked him, I didn't have very good thoughts of Tiffany. We get to know more of Tiffany's insecurities, why her behaviour is how it is.
I was willing Manning to make good on his feelings for Lake, and totally got where he was coming from, fighting his feelings and whilst I don't doubt they do love each other, I think Manning is playing with Tiffany's heart, she really has got her claws into him.
We see Lake past the two birthdays until her 18th, and even though she had no contact from him,, she still held a very large torch for him, and was prepared to break Tiffany's heart and world so she could ride off into the sunset with Manning. This instalment goes through a lot of soul searching for all of them, including Lake and Tiffany's parents. All of them doing what everyone thinks and wants each other to do.
A coming of age story, with a lot of soul searching, with friendships and family being tested.
You could see the love growing between Manning and Tiffany even though we think that time was being put on hold - sadly that was only in Lake's head.
Lake is a sensible girl and I hope that she gets to make the choices she wants for her future, and I feel that whilst they are all tied by marriage, Lake needs to move away to college to realise and work out the truth.
Can Corbin really be as good as we believe, I hope so, but I don't think that he and Lake are going to be in each other's futures, as anything other than friends.
Some very sweet moments, and some very tempestuous moments, too.
Can't wait to see what's in store for the final instalment. My mind is going ten to the dozen with scenarios. This had me gripped.