Publish Date: 26 May
Reviewed by: E & MinnChica
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn’t truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly’s finally ready to move on, and she’s planning to marry another man.
But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it.
Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish—and prideful—fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly’s beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he’s had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he’s the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there’s only one way to do it….
This blurb came from Goodreads.
E: If Lauren Dane writes it I will read it. Some of her stories I love more than others but regardless I know I can always sit back and become fully immersed in her worlds. This is one of those I really enjoyed but I am not sure it will be a frequent reread because of its very emotional intensity. Kelly and Vaughan’s story has been a while in the making. Bits and pieces of their back story as well as their present day have been sprinkled in every installment featuring the Hurley Boys and their band. It became evident the tension was growing and something was going to give. I just wasn’t sure how ugly things would get before they settled down and how everyone would manage not to slide back into the current level of interaction. I really loved how Kelly showed how much she had grown since her marriage and divorce and how she made the entire Hurley family work to regain her trust.
MinnChica: I am so in love with the Hurley series, and I was waiting on pins and needles for this story. Dane did such an amazing job building up the tension and discord and raw feelings between Vaughan and Kelly over the course of the series. I sat down with this book and was determined to finish it ASAP, because I knew that it would be a wild ride that would be full of heart and so many feels. And let me tell you, Dane did NOT disappoint!!
E: Vaughan was spoiled, he didn’t want to deal with the reality of responsibility so he manipulated the situation so Kelly was the one who ended their marriage. Then he let his family think the worst of her without ever admitting his culpability, which continued even after Kelly had build a solid life for their children close to the Hurley ranch. Then Kelly got engaged and he realized if he didn’t make a decision and act on it Kelly would be lost to him forever. Yet in order to get her back he was going to have to grow up, admit his faults, and demonstrate Kelly and the girls came first in his life.
Kelly was a complicated enjoyable character. A former model who gave up modeling fulltime to start her own business and raise her daughters. She was determined to both protect and give them a much happier/safer childhood then she experienced which meant putting up with the less than welcoming attitude from the Hurley clan for the girls. She worked extremely hard overcoming the emotional wounds left by her mother and while it was an ongoing struggle Dane made it evident how far Kelly had come. I really loved seeing her stand up to all comers for the sake of her girls and how much she emphasized how they needed to see healthy relationships between adults.
MinnChica: I adored both Vaughan and Kelly. When they originally married, they were young and lived life a bit through rose-colored glasses. They were in love, and thought that would be enough to sustain them. I loved the way Kelly really buckled down when her girls were born, and that when Vaughan finally came back to her, she made him work to prove that he could be the kind of husband and father they needed. I was glad to see that Vaughan didn’t wine and complain about having to put in the effort. He knew he screwed up, he knew the majority of the blame lay on his shoulders, and when push came to shove, he was willing to do just about anything to prove to Kelly that he was 100% devoted to her and the girls and their core family.
E: I really enjoyed watching the interpersonal relationships. Like always Dane displayed friendship exceedingly well for both her heroine and her hero. Kelly had her best friend and former divorce lawyer (who really needs her own story) as well as her more professional relationships through her business. Vaughan had his brothers and their agent. While both Kelly and Vaughan were supported by their friends, I thought it was a great touch having their friends mention some hard truths when necessary. I also loved watching Vaughan’s relationship grow with his daughters as they grew more secure at the thought he was around for good. His reaction was very amusing at times as their “best” behavior slipped back to normal behavior.
MinnChica: I also really liked all the interlocking relationships of this story, and series overall. I especially loved the tough scene when Vaughan came clean to his parents about why his marriage ended, and how wrong they had been about Kelly for all those years. It was hard and yet so wonderful at the same time. One of the things that I would have liked to see explored further was Kelly’s breakup, especially as some events further in the story playout. I felt like it was left a little in the air, and would have liked it wrapped up just a little bit more.
E: Once again Dane provided a story, which lived up to its extended foreshadowing. I loved seeing Vaughan work for a relationship and have to not only face but admit to those he respected his part in ending his marriage. I also really liked how Kelly’s fiancée worked himself out of the picture instead a messy love triangle or a public brawl. It was handled so nicely and I think in the same way it would have happened even if Vaughan did not decide to become a fulltime part of his daughters’ lives. While I am sad to see the end of this series Dane didn’t leave me with an unfinished feeling. Even though I want Kelly’s best friend Stacey to have her own story since she is such a fascinating character.
I give Back to You an A.
MinnChica: All in all, Dane wrote an incredible book that was part of a wonderful series. The Hurley boys were all so sexy and charming and fun, and I have to admit that I think Vaughan might be my favorite of them all. He was so determined to win back his family that he went to great lengths to prove to them how important they were. I loved that single-minded devotion and watching it play out through the pages. This second-chance love story might be one of the best I’ve ever read.
I give Back to You a B+