Rachel Miller had love, life and happiness…until she didn’t. Uncertain of how to cope and move on without him, Rachel’s life comes to halt as she mourns the loss of her fiance Ben. Then one night she discovers it doesn’t have to. By way of dreams, Rachel and Ben continue to live the life they had planned together. It’s unconventional, it’s not even real, but it’s enough for Rachel. For the first time since Ben’s death, she’s happy…whole. That is until she runs into someone she barely knew from years ago and suddenly real life is just as great as her dream one. Now Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Will letting someone new in threaten what she has with Ben? Or will their love story threaten her new happiness? Is it crazy to chase after a ghost while being caught up by someone very real?
The room is only lit by the glow of the hallway light. It slices an off angled rectangle across the floor. Not too far away lies a bed, its comforter and pillows thrown on top, suggesting it was made very quickly and without much attention. The room is a step up from a college dorm in that it has a much bigger bed and there’s no desk, but there are few similarities I find amusing. The framed autographed jersey that hangs proudly on the wall, a roughed up looking chair which has a pile of semi-folded laundry sitting on top, and—my personal favorite—the Sports Illustrated poster of girls in bikinis on the back of the door. I suppose I should be somewhat impressed that they weren’t topless.
There is one thing really stands out though. The one lone candle, sitting on the dresser, lit and mixing with the glow from the already existing hallway light. The smell of cranberries floats through the air, reminding me of Christmas. But it’s not Christmas time. It’s the beginning of summer, and this is the first time I was ever in Ben’s bedroom.
He’s standing right behind me and my body begins to become aroused. Is it by his presence or was I already in this state before the dream started? I can’t tell, nor do I care at the moment. His voice sends a chill down my spine.
“I remember this night.” He steps out from behind me, circling me as he walks around the room.
I watch as he takes in the contents of what used to be his bedroom before moving towards the candle. His face glows from the light of the flame. “Do you?”
I take a deep breath. “Of course.”
“I remember every moment,” he says, looking at me. “I remember where we went for drinks, I remember what wine you drank. How many glasses you had,” he smirks. “Were you nervous?”
I don’t answer because he already knows. Was I nervous? A little.
“I remember you suggesting we come here,” he continues.
I remember that too. It was maybe our fourth or fifth date. We met at a bar, one near Ben’s apartment. I knew our relationship was about to get more physical, both of us wanting it to. Until then, there had only been groping and petting and kissing. Lots and lots of kissing. But we weren’t teenagers anymore. We weren’t virgins waiting for the perfect moment. We were adults who both wanted the same thing—each other.
Ben takes a few steps, making his way over to where I’ve stood since this dream started. Once in front of me, he brushes some of my hair off my shoulders, revealing my open collar. I take a glance down and see I’m wearing the same dress I did that night. The only reason I remember it is because Ben had broken the zipper trying to get me out of it. We laughed about it then, but our laughs quickly turned into moans once the dress fell to the floor.
“Why here? Why tonight?” Ben asks, his fingers tracing along my shoulders and neck.
“I-I don’t know,” I answer breathlessly.
“I think you do,” he says, circling me, pressing his chest to my back. “Something has you…worked up.”
I try to make sense of what he’s saying but the minute his lips are on my neck, all previous thoughts disappear. His fingers glide up my arms, brushing my hair aside.
“Something has you needing,” his lips move against my skin. “Do you remember when I found this spot?”
His tongue slips out and circles the sensitive area just under my ear. My body shivers, my arm rising up and wrapping around his head, holding him there.
“I remember how you squirmed the first time I kissed you there,” he whispers.
I try hard not to squirm this time, cementing my feet to the floor and pressing my behind into him. I feel him laugh silently.
His lips stay on my neck, moving slowly while one hand comes up and palms my breast.
“Ben…” I moan.
“What, baby? What do you need?”
“You know what,” I whimper.
He breathes out. “I do. But do you?”
I exhale in frustration. Why does he keep talking in circles? Why isn’t he already ridding us of our clothes?
“You’re driving me crazy. What are you waiting for?” I say, nearly begging.
His lips leave my neck as he circles around to my front, scanning my face. His lips quirk up slightly. “You’re in control here, babe. This is all you. You decide when we start, when we stop.”
“I don’t want to stop,” I say hurriedly. “I want you.”
He says nothing, like he’s giving me a moment to reconsider. But I’m flush with need, with want.
“Don’t you want me?” I ask.
A small rush of uncertainty runs through me, wondering if maybe, after all this time, he doesn’t need me like he used to. He sees my concern and immediately lifts his hands, cupping my face.
“Always,” he says. “I wanted you so bad that night and every night after. Days too,” he smiles.
I smile back, feeling a little relieved. “So then what are we waiting for?”
His expression changes, becoming serious. “Are you sure it’s still me you want?”
His words stun me, and I step away from him, almost as if I’ve been slapped.
“What?” I ask. My voice shakes from shock and…anger, I think. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Ben lifts his hands in surrender, apologetic as soon as he sees the hurt on my face. “Nothing. It meant nothing. I’m sorry.”
I’m still too shaken to move so Ben takes a tentative step towards me, slowly placing his hands on my hips. Our bodies align and press against each other. He nudges his head against mine, encouraging me to look at him. When I do, the lust in his eyes from earlier is back.
“I’m sorry,” he repeats. His fingers press harder into my skin. “I know what you need, and I know why we’re here. Let me give it to you.”
He slowly lowers his face, waiting to see if I’ll object. I don’t. When our lips meet, I open my mouth and let him take control. He guides me to the bed, laying me down slowly and with care. I feel his body come rest on top of mine.
“You and I both know this isn’t real, but when you wake up, you won’t be able to tell the difference,” he says between kisses to my neck and chest.
“When I wake up…” I repeat quietly.
“You won’t be able to tell the difference.”
*Review received from the author for an honest review*
5 “Just Rachel” Stars!!!
How lucky is Rachel that she found love with two perfect men in her life?!? Although, I don’t think Rachel would call herself lucky. This is Love is the story of Rachel’s struggle between letting go of her first love and finding room for her second.
“I was beginning to think you were too perfect to be real.”
This author has done an amazing job on her debut novel. I had no idea how much I was going to love this story. And it wasn’t just the story. The author’s writing style and story flow worked so well for me. Before I knew it, I was done. And wanting more!!
“I know we can do this. I know it because I know we’re worth it. You know it too.”
From the first few pages I knew my heart was going to ache for Rachel. And it did!! Rachel’s character brought out so many different emotions in me, from heartache to frustration. Until you are in her shoes, you have no idea how you would react. It was real easy for me to judge and say what I thought she should do, but if put in the same shoes, I can’t say I how I would have handled the situations. It’s always comforting to read about characters who are not perfect. And in this case Rachel is not. But don’t take that the wrong way, she’s still a lovable character, just dealing with things the way she needs to.
“You can’t keep us both.”
As you can see, I really did enjoy Rachel and Jax’s characters. Plus, they have some GREAT secondary characters. All I am going to say is Tess!!! You will love Tess. Oh, and Jax is perfect!! Too perfect, but hey, it’s a book, right?!?! 😉 But in all honesty, Jax is a patient, caring, and HOT guy. I was rooting for him from the beginning, but knew Rachel had a lot of baggage to deal with first.
“In Tess’s words, he just marked his territory. And…I loved it.”
This story is a must read if you are looking for all the feels!! It even has some steamy scenes to top off all the goodness 😉 Add it to your to read list, and you may even want to bump it up towards the top 🙂