What would happen if you lost everything? If the people who were supposed to love you unconditionally were no longer there for you, how would your world change?
That’s exactly what happened to Madeleine Becker when her parents died when she was ten years old. Ripped from her home and everything that she has ever loved, she is forced to start all over again. The only way for her to move on is to build walls around her heart and keep everyone at a safe distance. Her logic: she can't get hurt if she doesn't fall in love.
That theory is blown to pieces when she meets Reid Connely during her freshman year at college. He is gorgeous and darkly mysterious. He understands Maddy's pain all too well, but sharing his pain would mean breaking down the walls he put up around his own heart. Conflicted between loving Maddy and hiding his dark past, Reid starts to reevaluate his world. Maddy's inner strength, snarky personality and breath taking beauty help Reid to make peace with his past.
Together they find out what happens when they let love in.
There was a group playing quarters on the island and another group lining up shots on the breakfast bar – so not my scene. I just shrugged my shoulders, opened the door, pulled out a bottle of water and, when I turned around to walk back outside, I face-planted into a wall of solid muscle.
“Hand me one?” His voice was smooth and... gruff at the same time. Red-faced, I turned back around and got him his water, glad for the cool respite that the opened refrigerator door offered.
“Here you go.” I could not peel my eyes away from his mouth as he moved the bottle to his lips. They were perfect - beautiful and full in a completely masculine way. I watched, completely fascinated, as his throat moved, downing the water in three or four large gulps. He wiped his mouth with his forearm and I couldn’t help but let my eyes travel up the rest of his arm to his biceps and shoulders – those were the same as his lips – perfect. Amazingly, gorgeously, utterly, divinely perfect. Muscled and tanned, his arms were mouthwatering.
My knees wobbled. My heart thudded. Thousands of butterflies spread their wings in my belly.
“Thanks…” he stared blankly at my face for a minute and I couldn't help but wondering if he liked what he saw. He cleared his throat and roused me from my little daydream where the gorgeous boy is mesmerized by the maybe-a-little-above-average looking girl. That’s when I realized he was asking for my name.
“Maddy. Sorry, my name’s Maddy." I nearly choked on my tongue to get my freaking name out.
UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Series-Box-Set-The-ebook/dp/B00IBZKLZU/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1391977090&sr=1-4&keywords=melissa+collins
My Review for Let Love In: 4 1/2 stars
This was such a great book to read. I love when I start a book and instantly connect with the characters. This book was like that for me. Maddy and Reid have both been through some very emotional things and both are afraid to let people into their lives. Once they meet, though, everything changes for both of them because of the undeniable attraction they feel toward the other. Granted, Reid was an ass when they first met because he didn't know how to handle feeling that way toward someone. Maddy was almost content to let it go because she felt she didn't need any complications. But once the connection started, there was no denying what they had. They went through a lot together, learning how to be in a relationship, and each made mistakes. I'm not going to give any more than that away, because it is such an emotional roller coaster to read, but at the same time they're so real. I will say I was not prepared for the ending of the book to end the way that it did. I absolutely can't wait to start the next book to see how things turn out. Fabulous job Melissa!
If you’re lucky, you’ll fall in love – truly, madly and deeply in love. But what happens when that honest and pure love isn’t enough to erase your fears? What happens when your past rears its ugly head and threatens your future?
Maddy and Reid had that kind of love – the all-encompassing, Earth shattering, once in a lifetime kind of love. Then life happened. Old wounds that were thought to be long healed and scabbed over are ripped opened and they are forced to face the possibility that, maybe, they are not strong enough to fight their demons and embrace the light.
Together, they found out what love is, but now they will each need to heal on their own before they can ever be together again. They must face their fears and beat down their pasts in order to find their way through this crazy uphill battle called love.
They’ve let love in, but now, they need to find out how to Let Love Stay.
I get out of the truck and walk over towards the two of them. Maddy’s back is to me as I approach her and her date, so she doesn’t see me right away. But once the guy sees me, she spins around to look at what has caught his eye.
Her face is shocked and when our eyes lock, my heart skips a beat. There’s a pull between us. As much as I hate to admit it, she owns me. Her eyes are magical. They dance with light and passion and when she looks at me, they are filled with love.
The love and passion that are sparkling in her emerald green eyes evaporate when she realizes the scene that I’ve just stumbled upon. I can only imagine what’s going through her mind, but I’m sure the images of me kicking Logan’s ass are flashing vividly through her mind.
I’m no more than a few feet from them when the guy pushes Maddy behind him to protect her from what he perceives as a threat. He’s not very far from the truth, but she’s not the one who needs protecting.
Menacingly close now, he pipes up. “Who the fuck are you? What do you want?” Okay, I’ll give the prick a little bit of credit for trying to stand up to me, but he has no clue what he’s competing against here.
The caveman in me wants to deck this guy and drag Maddy into a bed – any bed – and claim her, repeatedly, until she understands that she’s mine and no one else’s. I’m going to do that anyway, but hopefully I can refrain from knocking this guy on his ass. I’d like to have the use of my hands tonight.
My eyes never leave Maddy’s, but my words are directed at him. “Me? I’m the boyfriend, asshole.” Maddy’s eyes widen slightly as I say “boyfriend.” Did she really think we ever broke up?
I avert my gaze from Maddy for a minute to stare this douchebag down. “And who the fuck do you think you are?” He falters, not enough that most people would notice, but I’m in predator mode. I see his throat work hard to swallow past the newly formed fear. His pupils dilate slightly and the pulse beating in his neck picks up as adrenaline surges through him. If he thinks he’s going to win this battle, he is wrong – so fucking wrong.
He puffs out his chest as he says, “I’m Maddy’s date for tonight.” He snickers lightly as he says, “You know? She never mentioned a boyfriend when I asked her out. Must not be much of a boyfriend if she doesn’t even mention you.” He swells with pride at his snarky little quip. In the split second he looks away from me to gauge Maddy’s approval, I lay him flat on the ground as I drop my shoulder into his gut and take his legs out from underneath him with one of my own. I freaking love my takedown skills. I didn’t even have to bust up my hands. I’m definitely going to need them in a little bit.
I straddle over him and pull him up by the collar. “Whether she mentioned me or not, she’s mine, so lay the fuck off. Got it?”
Maddy still hasn’t said a word and I haven’t actually spoken directly to her. I’m pretty sure she understands my actions though. Wordlessly, I reach my hand out to her. This is her chance. If she still wants me, then she’ll come with me. This is who I am, who I’ve always been. If she can’t understand that I love her, that I want her more than anything, then it’s not because I haven’t tried as hard as I possibly could to prove it to her.
Hand still outstretched, I look her directly in the eyes, as I try to convey everything that I’m thinking, that I’m feeling. In what feels like an act of God, she understands me and laces her hand in mine.
My Review for Let Love Stay: 5 stars
This was such a great finish to Maddy and Reid's story. I loved that it picked right up where the first one left off. I absolutely loved that it showed the vulnerability of both Reid and Maddy for something completely unexpected for either of them. But that something helped bring them back together. While at the same time, what Maddy did made Reid realize that he did need to face his past. At the same time, it made Maddy realize that things don't have to be perfect for them to move forward with their lives. I was brought to tears so many times while reading this book. Sometimes sad, but mostly happy. I abso-freaking-lutley loved the ending! Melissa did great once again with the completion of their story.
What comes after “they lived happily ever after?”
Maddy and Reid have seen their fair share of trials and tribulations, of love and loss. Facing down the biggest challenges of their young lives, they managed to survive and endure. With the future stretching out before them, they must learn to navigate new and unfamiliar paths.
Being new parents, starting new jobs, and continuing college is enough to overwhelm any couple. New challenges come up daily, as do small victories. Watch Maddy and Reid grow stronger together in this “one year later” tale of the everyday stuff that happens in real life.
With a solid foundation of love under their inexperienced feet – and with the help of their family and friends – Maddy and Reid learn how to let love shine, lighting the way for a beautiful future to come.
Here we are a year later and we couldn’t be happier to have Braden’s first birthday party tomorrow with our friends and family. Between prepping for the party, me working overtime, and Maddy finishing her last summer course, we’ve barely been able to stay awake past eight every night.
But watching them dance and laugh in front of me makes it all worth it.
I pull them both into my arms and just hold them for a quick second before Braden starts shimmying out of Maddy’s arms. He’s caught sight of his Lightning McQueen racecar on the floor and is reaching for it. Handing him his car, Maddy puts him in his bouncy seat. The sight of my wife taking care of our son, talking baby talk and kissing him sweetly should warm my heart. But all I can see is her ass right now. Yep, I want her.
“Get over here.” I pull her back to me once Braden is situated and brush her hair out of her eyes. “You look beautiful, you know that?” I trail sweet, soft kisses behind her ear and down her neck.
“Hmmm,” she mumbles and it makes me smile against her skin.
Moving from her neck across to her mouth, I feel her lean into my lips. This is something else of which I’ll never get tired. Her full, luscious lips pressed against mine; the taste of her sweet mouth still drives me crazy. “Well, hello there.” Pulling away from our kiss, Maddy arches her eyebrows as she presses her hips into my groin. The last motion surprises me more than a little. To say that our sex life has been different in the last year is, well, it’s an understatement to say the least.
“What? I’m not allowed to want my wife.” I grab her ass and push her into my erection a bit more. Our hands roam as the kiss rises in intensity. I fist a handful of her hair and pull her mouth even closer to mine. It’s the hottest kiss we’ve had in a while. Just as her hips start to roll into mine, we’re distracted by a sound, and smell, to which we’ve grown all too accustomed in the last year.
Before I can even move my hands from her body, Maddy’s pinching her nose closed. “Not it!” She calls out and laughs.
“Damn, you’re getting quick!” It’s kind of been our thing to decide who gets to change him. I scowl playfully at her and she just laughs at me.
“Dude, you’re killing my game.” Braden smiles as I hold him out in front of me. “Holy crap! What the hell did you feed this kid today?” Seriously, he’s lethal.
“He ate the same as usual. He’s just a stinky little monster.” She says the last sentence to Braden in that ridiculous baby talk. You can talk sweet about it all you want; it’s still poop.
My Review for Let Love Shine: 5 stars
What an amazing "after" story!! I think this is a first for me. Usually the book or books have a "Happy Ever After" and that's it, you don't really get much more about those characters again. I loved being able to see into Maddy and Reid's future and see that while not everything in their life is perfect, they still have that same level of love and want for each other. They still support each other in what they do, and they love their family - all of their family. The most special thing about that is, this is their chosen family, with the exception of Braden. They chose these wonderful people to be part of their little family's life and it's so much better because of it. If I could give this more stars, I absolutely would. Melissa hit this one out of the park, fantastically done.
Meet the Author:
I’ve always been an avid reader. Majoring in English Literature was a no brainer. Becoming a teacher and instilling my love for reading into my students was also a no brainer. I’ve spent the last ten years teaching and I’ve loved (mostly) every minute of it. When I was home on maternity leave for my third son, I discovered a new genre that sparked my creativity. My passion for writing sprang from my love of reading and once I knew I had a story to tell, I couldn’t wait to get it out there. I only hope that my readers enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Twitter - www.twitter.com/mcollinsauthor
Goodreads author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7023272.Melissa_Collins