This is the second book in Jaycee Ford’s The Love Bug series. This book ‘s plotline ran concurrently to the first book, and therefore, it overlapped the first book in some places, but it focused on the perspectives of the two main characters’, Ellie and Paul. The skill of this writer shines in that she was able to make that plotline feel fresh. This book was not a recounting of what happened in the first book. Instead, in that small part of this book, the focus was on Ellie and Paul, and their roles and reactions to what happened to Jordan and Tom. However, the primary focus of the entire book was Ellie and Paul’s surrender to the long-simmering romance between them.
Paul and Ellie have a long history, one of friendship, one of longing, one of passion and love denied. Smack dab in the middle of that history is a man that they both care for, Lance, Paul's best friend and Ellie's former high school boyfriend of 4 years. This a story of two people’s struggle to do what they think is right while going after what will truly make them happy.
”He’ll only ever be a friend.”
Ellie Caldwell moved to the small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains when she was a freshman in HS. Two boys fell into love at first sight of Ellie. Only one of them asked her out, and while she said yes, it was always Paul that she wanted. Lance broke up with her, but not for the reasons he stated, and Ellie went back to NYC to pursue an education and career in fashion design. But that town was home, Paul was never far from her thoughts, and it was there that she wanted to open her own boutique. So she returned.
Paul Harris is a good man, a loyal friend, and a cowboy. He's also in love, and always has been, with his best friend's ex-girlfriend. He's never forgotten her, or the one kiss they shared before she left for college, and he's never gotten over her. But, he'll never have her either; she was Lance's first and they have a rule in there friendship - no going after each other's girls.
”Will this only ever be friends with benefits?”
Ellie is moving back to town to open her own boutique. She and Paul share a few explosive nights together. She has to finish her internship in NYC, and then she is coming back. While she is gone, they have a major communication breakdown, and Paul doesn’t handle it well. Months go by without any communication, but when Ellie does return, she runs into him. At this point, she’s heartbroken and emotionally battered; Paul is in a deep depression. That pull between is still there and won’t be denied. Ellie questions Paul about what happened, and Paul realizes his mistake.
”You’re the only one I have ever wanted to be with.”
The love they had for each other was undeniable, but they kept their relationship a secret because of Lance. This was very difficult on Ellie. I felt her frustration and her longing. Paul was a mix of emotions – deep love for Ellie, turmoil about Lance’s reaction, and guilt for sneaking around behind his back and for keeping their relationship a secret, and torment over hurting Ellie in the process. I felt it all. It was a difficult time for them, but they got through it, though the road was not easy.
I loved this book, and Jaycee Ford’s writing is captivating. She made an impression on me with her writing abilities in the first book, and she raised the bar with this book. This story is an excellent addition to an already fantastic series. Jaycee Ford is now a favorite author, and she moves to my auto-buy list. Well done, Ms. Ford!