The boy next door is now the man of her dreams.
From New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss comes a story of friendship, romance, and growing into a love that was always there. Only Ever You an all new swoon-worthy standalone is available now!
Rachel knew exactly what turning thirty would be like. She had a plan, after all. First college, then a climb up the professional ladder. Love, marriage, children. All of it was on the schedule.
The cheap Hollywood apartment wasn’t on the list. Neither were the string of heartbreaks. Or her the effect her mother’s cancer had on her career.
It’s hard to stay practical and on-point when everything takes a left turn.
Enter Sebastian, the nerd across the street. The boy she defended when he couldn’t defend himself. The best friend she promised she’d marry if life didn’t go according to plan.
Not only is he successful, confident, and gorgeous, he still has their handwritten marriage contract.
No one goes through with childhood wedding pacts.
But their families might just be crazy enough to rent a hall and set a date. All Rachel and Sebastian have to do is fall in love.
“Plan a wedding?” he asked. “Just because it’ll make you happy?”
My first instinct was to minimize. Call it nothing. Say the plans didn’t have to be big. We could just say we were getting married in city hall in three years.
But I was committed to the pitch, and that meant no backpedaling.
“Yes. The whole thing. A hall. A band. A long white dress. A honeymoon in Paris. It’s all talk, but if we’re going to talk, we might as well talk big.”
“You really want to do this?” he whispered.
Did I? No, I didn’t. But even though it was an insane lie for an intangible result, something about it felt ambitious. As if fake dating him was fine and dandy but faking a marriage was reaching for the stars. Thinking small hadn’t gotten me anywhere. Somehow, this was going for the glory.
Leaning in to me, he breathed on my cheek. The arm he’d draped over the railing stroked my hair. His lips moved to my jaw while he caressed the back of my neck.
“Let’s do it,” I said. My brain had become completely untethered from my body. I would have said yes if he’d promised me a plate of chicken.
He kissed me, and for a second I didn’t kiss him back. I was too stunned at his gentleness. I was a feather pillow, bending under him, barely holding my shape.
I was going to regret this. He was handsome. He was a wonderful person. I wanted to kiss him. A little pucker. A little change in the angle of my head. A taste of his tongue on mine. A little groan I had no control over before we were in full make out.
Oh my God. My body was praying for more, and my mind was reminding me not to get attached because in the end he was still a guy I was attracted to, and guys I was attracted to broke my heart.
“Gross!” Tiffany said from the driveway. Not expecting to hear her so close, we yanked apart. “You’re eating her face, dweeb.”
She rolled her eyes so hard I could only see the whites.
“You came out here to criticize how I kiss my fiancée?”
It was on.
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 3 Stars
Some 15+ years after Rachel and Sebastian made a marriage pact as teenagers, they both find themselves 30 and single… and pressured by their parents to make good on their deal. They haven’t seen each other in 10 years, but their parents are already making wedding plans — kind of forcing Sebastian and Rachel into the relationship.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t find there to be a lot of chemistry between them. Grown-up Rachel was nothing like the feisty teen we met in the prologue, and Sebastian just wasn’t the strong silent type I though he would be. They both seemed kind of wishy-washy to me, and I kept waiting for some big moment to change it all around that never came.
I also had some issues with the writing style. The conversations felt clunky, and I swear there were characters who just appear out of nowhere with no explanation as to how they are connected to Rachel and/or Sebastian. There were points where I wasn’t sure who was speaking, and that made it hard to create the image in my mind.
There have been several books by CD Reiss that I’ve loved, and a few, like this one, that kept me wanting more at the end. Overall, Only Ever You is a decent marriage-pact/childhood friends romance, low on the drama and an intersting twist. But it’s just not a book I loved and will come back to over and over again.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
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About CD Reiss
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up she’s at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She’s frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.
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