by Lauren Dane, contemporary (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-492-7
Our heroine Caitlin Moore is an overachiever fresh from wiping out the competition in Harvard when she bumps into an old flame while club-hopping. Eamon Blake (oh no, not the guy who inflicted that don't-want-you-back song onto the world a few years back) and she went way back during a three-month trip to Ireland four years ago when she had a full cultural immersion with the locals thanks to Eamon and what seemed like six hundred packs of condoms. Now that Eamon is in Seattle and the chemistry between them is still as combustible as ever, they have a chance to explore things between them.
But with Caitlin just starting out in the rat race, she feels that there is no room in her life at that moment for a serious relationship. Eamon, on the other hand, has a tendency to walk out in a huff when he feels that the woman is bossing him around. These two can't seem to avoid each other no matter where they end up in on the planet, however, so perhaps it's destiny as much as love. Who knows?
While I like the concept of this story, I find this story a little rushed. That's the impression I get while reading it. The story moves across time and zip codes but the narration doesn't always make this clear so there are times when the transitions from one location or time to another can be disorientating. Also, while the characters are likable, despite their occasional silly goose moments, the author wraps out their problems too conveniently and too abruptly toward the end. I really like how at the end Caitlin is allowed to keep her ambitions and the man, though.
Always is a very readable story, but I can't help feeling that this story could have taken a more leisurely pace to allow the characters to relax and do their thing before reaching the happily ever after.
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