Series: Bachelors of the Ridge, #3
Published by Dutch Girl Publishing, LLC on March 22, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Cole Mallinson has never been able to move on.
It’s been two thousand, three hundred and sixty-two days since he’s seen his ex-wife, Julia. He’s never stopped loving her, never stopped wishing she’d come back. Everyone thinks he’s lost his mind for never moving on, but they couldn’t understand. It was never a choice.
Seven years ago, Julia Mallinson left Denver, and even though it’s the last place she wants to be, she’s back. The years of infertility that she and Cole endured during their marriage wore her down past the point of breaking. And when she left, she didn’t look back, couldn’t look back, for the sake of her sanity, her heart.
Between an accidental run-in at the grocery store and a meddling pregnant sister, Julia is forced to face the man she walked away from. The man who still, after all these years, has never moved on. Though neither has she.
And in the end, she’s left wondering if the past is ever left in the past.
What an utterly fantastic story about forgiveness and second chances. Cole is the first book by Karla Sorenson that I’ve read. About half way through the story I felt compelled to picked up the first two books in this series. Sorensens writing is wonderful and there are some profound messages surrounding forgiveness that are a great part of this story.
Julia and Cole have been divorced for 5 years when Julia moves back to Denver and back into Cole’s life. These two seem fated as it doesn’t take long for their worlds to collide. The story unfolds from both of their points of view and in both present and past sequences. Sorensen does a great job maneuvering through this so that they story gives us a great perspectives on these two individuals. They both have wonderful support networks who only want the best for them. Julia is still damaged by what drive them apart and Cole is still damaged about how she left him. Neither have been able to move on and for good reason, they simply aren’t meant to be separated.
What set this apart for me was how Sorensen drives the choices the characters make. They are adults and they act accordingly, but not always smartly and never without emotion.Strong emotion. Palpable emotion. Julia has a lot to make up for and Cole, the dreamboat that he is, wants a second chance. He also wants to do things right. But he wont be a sucker. Julia is going to have to earn a place in his life again.
“I’m walking on eggshells,” he whispered. “And I can’t sustain that forever. When I don’t know what’s going on in your head, I feel like I’m one wrong comment away from losing you for the second time. That’s not something I can handle going through again, Julia. You are my heart, and I don’t want to live without you, but I can’t keep feeling like this.”
This passage leads to the other thing that sat with me long after I finished this. Sorensens take on forgiveness and what it means for people to take a chance on someone who has already slighted them, as Julia has with Cole: “You’re not starting over, Julia. You’re starting fresh.”
Her sister Brooke is really the person who pushes them back together and even in her state, she’s so very wise:
“If you and Cole decide that you’re going to try this again, it’s not a continuation of your previous relationship. It’s a new one.”
This is one of the sweetest stories about the transformation of a relationship. But its the change, the step towards bravery, that Julia makes that makes this a 5 star read. There are moments I was really frustrated with her, but she has much to contend with and she does push herself to embrace her hearts desire:
“I’ve run from my fears my entire life. And I never felt shame in that until you, because you are my deepest, truest love.”
Again, this is a 5 star read and one I recommend. I feel pretty invested in this little group of friends now and look forward to going back to books one and two (Dylan and Garrett) and to the future stories.
~Review by Cyndi
My small basket was packed full and I paused before going down the next row, trying to decide if I needed a cart. I could add more wine that way.
In the second I paused to think about it, my eyes lifted up to the end of the aisle, blinking at the tall, broad-shouldered man that stood at the opposite side.
And my heart exploded in my chest, a messy, visceral explosion, when I saw his profile.
I yanked back behind the end cap and peeked over a row of pasta sauce jars to make sure I hadn’t lost my damn mind. That I wasn’t imagining him standing there because of how my day had played out.
Nope. No. Oh holy shit, no, he was not a specter sent to haunt me.
His dark hair was shorter than the last time I’d seen him, his frame larger. My stomach turned in on itself at the insane moment. The tears I’d pushed down in Brooke’s bathroom spilled over my cheeks while I stared at him. His arm reached out to pluck a box of pasta from the shelf, and the way his forehead furrowed while he read the label made me back up a step so I couldn’t see him for a beat. Like I was capable of not looking again. Ha.
The universe hated me.
A hysterical giggle lodged in my throat when I considered that the entire freaking cosmos was playing a joke on me, that I might have been living so close to Cole that we shared a grocery store for the last month. And no matter how much I wanted that wine, my feet had already angled toward the exit. When he started to turn in my direction, I didn’t think, didn’t question.
I shoved my basket onto an empty bottom shelf and turned to leave, plowing into the chest of a store employee carrying an armful of canned vegetables, which hit the ground with awkward, loud bounces.
Go! I screamed in my head. But my head lifted instead.
His eyes locked on mine, widening in the next heartbeat.
“Julia,” he called out, the hoarse crack in his deep voice opening a chasm in between my ribs.
And I was gone, fleeing the store without a backwards glance.
Well, let’s see … I’m a wife and a mother. If the things that I write bring a smile to someone’s face, then I’ve done my job. I am obsessed with Outlander (both the books and the show). I’m almost exclusively a romance reader, which means some people will never consider me a literary snob. If I could meet one historical figure, it would be Jane Austen. I received my Bachelors in Public Relations and worked in health care marketing before I had my babies. I hate Twitter. I do it, but I hate it. Also, if you want to get on my good side, bring me wine and I’ll love you forever.
If you’d like to join my Facebook Reader Group, you can do so here.