All He Ever Desired (Kowalski Family #5) by Shannon Stacey

All He Ever Desired (Kowalski Family, #5)Rating: 4 stars

Published: November 19th, 2012

Publisher: Carina Press

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: A second shot at first love

After college, Ryan Kowalski decided to leave Whitford, Maine, rather than watch Lauren Carpenter marry another man. Now his siblings need his help to refurbish the family-owned Northern Star Lodge and he’s forced to face the past sooner rather than later when he collars a vandal—and learns the boy is Lauren’s son…

The last person Lauren needs back in her life is Ryan Kowalski. With a bitter ex-husband and a moody teenage son, she has enough man trouble already. But her son needs to learn a few lessons about right and wrong, even if Lauren has to escort him to Ryan’s door every day to work off his crime.

With all this close contact, Ryan and Lauren can’t deny the chemistry between them is as powerful as ever. But can a few searing kisses erase their past and pave the way for a second chance at true love?

Review:  A great story about second chances at love.

Ryan is a successful builder who returns home to help restore the family’s inn. He is reluctant to return because he doesn’t want to run into Lauren, the woman he opened his heart to and refused him. But of course, fate has other plans for him when he runs into her and then catches her son vandalizing the family’s property.

I liked Ryan from the start. He was a tortured soul who once laid his heart on the table only to have it be broken by Lauren. He lived his life for his work, having one relationship and nothing more significant than that. He felt real and my heart went out to him and his conflicting emotions. While his heart was saying one thing his mind was being practical and it wasn’t until the very end that his feelings won out.

Lauren felt real too. A divorced woman with a teenage son, she struggled everyday to make a life for herself and her son. Always remembering the one that got away and imagining how it could have been. But she doesn’t kid herself into believing that all will be well if she gets together with Ryan. She has responsibilities and I admired her for putting them first rather than giving into her desires to let it all go and be with Ryan.

I loved their interactions. Their chemistry was very palpable and their dialog very entertaining and revealing. I enjoyed having both points of view since it truly gave me a chance to really get to know their personalities, hesitations and wants. The author did a great job of bringing them together in a believable way. Their courtship may have been short, but their interactions and their history really helped me imagine it could be real. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and the son’s struggles with adapting with his situation with his father. It helped show a different, more assertive side to Lauren and Ryan in how they dealt with that situation and how they related to him.

The writing was very good. I feel that my expectations for this book were met since it was filled with great humor and banter, amazing chemistry and well developed characters. I liked that the events presented served a purpose. Each time they interacted with themselves or secondary characters I got to know a little bit more about them and I appreciated that.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Josh’s story. I adored him in book 4 and he really won my heart in this book with his humor and great heart.

I received this title through NetGalley from Carina Press and would like to extend my appreciation to them for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange of my honest opinion.

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