New Release Tour: Welcome to Forever (Hero’s Welcome #1) by Annie Rains *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Welcome to Forever (Hero’s Welcome #1)
by Annie Rains

A Contemporary Romance
From Loveswept
Releasing December 1, 2015

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If you love Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, or Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss the Hero’s Welcome military romance series! Welcome to Forever introduces a small coastal town where America’s best and brightest risk everything for love.

In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.

As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. But when he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her, sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.

 

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Review

3-5 stars

Kat Chandler is trying to move on in her life after the death of her Marine fiancee. Her first priority is to be the best principal for Seaside Elementary and prove wrong all those who think she too young or inexperienced to be the head of the school. Her first test appears on the first day of the school year when a student’s dad marches into her office to tell her how she should deal with his son. Nevermind that he’s the groundskeeper and the very man she was admiring earlier in the morning.

Micah Peterson is determined to do right by his son. After his son’s experience with bullies in his previous school, Micah has vowed to keep an eye out for any problems his son could experience because of his muscular dystrophy. Having to scold the principal the first day of school wasn’t on his plan of action, but then again, his plan didn’t include being attracted to the principal either.

I liked this story very much, especially because the characters and their story felt so real.

Micah and Kat are both trying to make the most of their situation and both have Ben’s best interest in heart. I enjoyed watching how thei tentative friendship developed into something more and how both opened themselves to the chance of something more. I especially enjoyed their candid conversations, their flirty banter and stolen moments. I liked together and looked forward to seeing their story move to the next step.

Although I understood perfectly well where each was coming from, I did find that the story dragged in places simply because they just could not move on. Those first moments, I overlooked easily since the author made every effort to show that both Micah and Kat were trying to work their issues out. My main problem came towards the end when their relationship was truly put to the test. In my opinion, Kat’s reaction to Micah’s deployment was extreme. I could understand why would react that way, but thought it a bit ridiculous that she hadn’t prepared herself for the possibility when he still had time to serve. It didn’t help that Micah was way too stubborn to give her the chance to apologize when she came to her senses.

All that said, I still think that Welcome to Forever was a sweet, romantic read with intriguing characters. All in all, a good start to a series.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

“Have you thought about that kiss?” she asked, as he leaned in close to fasten her seatbelt. She couldn’t control what was coming out of her mouth. “Because I have. A little.” She started laughing again. Val had warned her that she was a horrible drunk, and evidently, it was true.

“What have you thought about it?” he asked, his voice low and bristly. Her buckle snapped into place with a loud click. He could step back now, but he didn’t.

And she didn’t want him to. What was the point of being drunk if you couldn’t say and do what you wanted, and then apologize for it in the morning? No one blamed a drunk, they blamed the drink. “I thought that I liked it. The kiss. It was amazing.” She held her breath as he lingered in front of her, his hand still resting on the seat’s buckle.

“I thought the same thing.”

“You did?” She swallowed thickly, as her heart rode up her throat.

His brow lifted. “You sound surprised.”

“I’m out of practice.” She nibbled on her lower lip, drawing his gaze there. Then his gaze flicked back to her ring. Just the thought squashed the flutterings in her chest, leaving a deep ache that vibrated with the alcohol. “He’s been gone for two years,” she said.

Micah’s brows pinched together softly.

Explaining about John in her state wasn’t a good idea, though. She might start crying, which she didn’t do in front of others anymore, and right now all she wanted to do was forget everything but their kiss. That she wanted to remember. “You could kiss me again,” she said softly.

His smile deepened and, damn, he smelled good.

Leaning in closer to her ear, his hot breath melted her as he whispered, “Kat, you’ve had too much to drink. I’m taking you home now.”

Before she could process what he’d said, he stepped back and shut the Jeep’s door, the sound as offensive as if someone had crashed cymbals in her ears. A moment later, he reappeared on the driver’s side and cranked the engine, another sound that made her wince.

She closed her eyes, unsure of what to do with her drunken emotions.

“If I kiss you again, I want to be one hundred percent sure it’s what you want. Not because my almost ex is walking up and you want to help me out. Not because you’ve had too much to drink and want to escape.”

She suddenly felt very tired, as the Jeep Cherokee headed out of the parking lot. “So, you are going to kiss me again?” she asked. Before she could hear his answer, though, her eyes closed and the sounds of the road and his voice, and the blood thundering in her head, blurred together. She remembered their kiss, the feel of his stubble roughly brushing against her cheek, and the way he had smelled like pine and fudge brownies.

No, wait. His eyes reminded her of fudge brownies. He didn’t smell like them.

Her eyes fluttered open. Yeah, she was definitely going to regret tonight in the morning.

 

About the Author

Annie Rains bio picture

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).

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