Book two is out–and awesome–now, bring on book three! 🙂
About AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME:
Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.
Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.
Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
Ah…best friend’s older brother. Such a fun troupe! Ann Aguirre does a great job with it in As Long As You Love Me, the second book in her 2B trilogy.
Most of the novel takes place during the second half of the same year in which book one, I Want It That Way, takes place. If you’ve read the first book, there are glimpses into what Nadia (and Ty and Sam!) are doing, but you definitely don’t have to have read it to enjoy this book. Actually, since Lauren has already moved out of apartment 2B by the time As Long As You Love Me starts and has very little contact with its inhabitants (plus the fact that in book one she went out of her way to hide what she was thinking and feeling from her BFF Nadia in the first book anyway), it would work fine as a stand alone.
In other words, don’t let the fact that you might not have read IWITW yet stop you from giving this one a try. I’m not saying you won’t want to read book one once you finish, but hey–just start the series somewhere, would you? 😉
Rob Conrad has become my new book boyfriend. He’s strong, steady, thoughtful–and totally unappreciated by just about everyone he knows. He once overheard his own grandmothersay, “Poor Rob. He’s just smart enough to know he’s dumb.” The fact that she didn’t realize he could hear her in no way excuses her comment. He’s stayed in Sharon, Nebraska, working in construction with his father and has become totally used to being considered “less-than”. He’s less than his younger sister Nadia, who everyone knew would go on to college and better things after high school. He’s even said, “It’s a good thing I’m hot, right?” and not in a cocky, full-of-himself kind of way, but instead with an it’s-obviously-all-I’ve-got-going-for-me air. Honestly, he broke my heart.
But he’s great at construction; he’s even bought a house that he’s restoring in his free time with plans to flip or possibly keep when he’s done. He’s made some furniture for it already–in fact, his dream is to someday make a living from creating custom order furniture…a dream he’s trusted with exactly one person: Lauren.
Lauren Barrett realized shortly after arriving at Mount Albion College on scholarship that it wasn’t for her, but instead of owning up to her mistake and doing something constructive about it, she went into a self-destructive downward spiral of booze, boys, and bad decisions. Now she’s back in Sharon, a bit at loose ends but relieved to not have to be pretending to be something she’s not anymore. She’s planning on continuing her college education online–in a field better suited to her interests and abilities–and finding some full-time work to do in the meantime.
And if she also picked up her old habit of lusting after Nadia’s big brother while she’s at it? Well, a girl does need a hobby to occupy her time…
I loved watching Lauren and Rob get close. We see the entire story from her POV (except for one bonus scene at the end where we see things from Rob’s veiwpoint during part of the time when they’re apart), and it was just so sweet watching him change from the old object of her crush to a guy she finally really comes to know and love. When she realized that she’d neverheard him laugh before the first time she made him chuckle? Had me feeling all the feels. When he surprised both of us with his quiet humor in response to Lauren’s snarky comments? Made me melt inside. Like this scene before they’re even dating, when Lauren’s offered to help him work on his house:
With resumes turned in, I had nothing else to do. “Nope. Do you mind picking me up?”
“Not at all.” Rob headed for the door because our business was done, but he paused, wearing a faint frown. “Don’t wear anything cute.”
“Because…we hate cuteness? It–and not money–is the root of all evil?”
To my everlasting delight, he played along. “Truly. In fact, we’d better set off on a world-saving mission instead. You and me, destroying cuteness wherever we find it.”
“We’ll have to destroy all the Build-A-Bears. The children will never understand.”
“But that’s why we have to succeed, Lauren. For the children.” His mock-earnest look was so adorable that if he were my boyfriend, I’d shove him onto my unicorn-strewn purple comforter and do dirty things to him.
I met his gaze and nodded with resigned stoicism. “I’m in.”
For the second time, I made Rob laugh. He pocketed his tape measure and strode toward me, tipping my face up as he would if he meant to kiss me. My heart went nuts, but he pecked my forehead, as I’d seen him do to Nadia a thousand times, usually when she was being a goof ball. In that moment I must have looked like a deflating balloon.
“Seriously, I just meant–wear something you won’t ruin working on the house.”
I nodded. “See you tomorrow.”
This partnership was probably a terrible idea, but since the universe kept handing me excuses to hang around with Rob, I couldn’t say no. Deep down, I suspected I’d been skating toward my first broken heart since I was thirteen years old, and there was nothing for it now but to make good. I flopped on my bed with a sigh.
Well then, world. Bring it on.
How could anyone see this guy as nothing more than a pretty (okay, gorgeously hot) face? Honestly, he slayed me over and over again with his quiet wit and earnestness.
When the bad-relationship-moment comes, Lauren was my least favorite person ever. I’m still not a hundred-percent convinced that it’s an all’s well that ends well ending, because ohmygoodness, she’s breathtakingly cruel to him. Yes, she needed to work through her own issues and get herself to a place where she could be the type of girl he deserves, but..wow. Even now I’m still giving her the squinty-eyed glare.
But, okay–she needed to work through her stuff, and he does do amazingly well for himself in her absence–he admits feeling the need to prove himself, because of the anger and hurt he felt, so…all right, then.
It’s still hard to remember, though.
But oh, yes, there’s a happy ending. For my new book boyfriend and the woman who finally deserves him. And their beagle.
Bring on Max and Courtney’s story (The Shape of My Heart), because I’m ready!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Read the First Chapter HERE!
Other Books in the 2B Trilogy:
The Shape Of My Heart (11/25/14)
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.