New Adult Contemporary

Always My Own (Always #2) by Tawdra Kandle

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Synopsis
When Elizabeth Hudson and Trent Wagoner met on a Christmas tree lot in Florida, sparks flew, igniting a fire they both thought would burn for a long time.

The problem with fires is that sometimes people get hurt. In this case, both Elizabeth and Trent end up burnt when an impulsive decision results in long-term repercussions.
Trent, still dealing with the aftermath of a painful situation that impacted two families in his hometown of Burton, struggles with the feelings he has for Elizabeth. He’s not sure that committing to her is a good idea when everything he touches seems to end badly.Elizabeth took a risk when she moved to Burton for Trent. Now she’s stuck in a job she’s not sure she likes, living with people she doesn’t know, in love with a man who may not be capable of the forever she craves.

When it seems as if hope has died . . . there’s always love.

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          I received an ARC from Netgalley for an Honest Review.

PictureTrent Wagoner

This is the second book in the Always Series by Tawdra Kandle. Elizabeth and Trent’s story originally begins in a short novella called “Under My Christmas Tree.” If you get the chance to read it before tackling this one that would probably help, but it is not necessary. I didn’t get the chance to read it first and I was fine following this story line.Elizabeth has been running away from her recent past; or you could look at it as running too.
We are introduced to Elizabeth as she is entering the county of Burton for the first time. She comes across the Road Block, a local bar, on the outskirts of town. Deciding to stop and drink some of her memories away, she ends up getting drunk and needing a ride. She tells the owner to call her husband, Trent Wagoner.

Trent hasn’t had an easy life. His mother was a drunken neglectful person. After his recent marriage he ends up having to leave Elizabeth and go back to Burton to bail his Mother out of jail. Trent has guilt over not telling Elizabeth he was leaving. With that hanging over his head and now the court’s order for his mom to clean up, he is stuck in a town he doesn’t want to be in. No matter what where he runs his past keeps catching up with him. His biggest regret was leaving Elizabeth.

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What I imagine Elizabeth Hudson would look like. Image by Michael Radford Photograp

Elizabeth and Trent each have deep emotional scars that have been created due to their upbringing. Elizabeth has given up on depending on men because they all leave her at some point with a broken heart. Trent sees himself as being no good for anything or anyone.
When Elizabeth and Trent realize that they are both going to have to live with each other for the time being the tension in the air is strong. Their chemistry is still prevalent, but the scars that have been created are still deeply rooted in Elizabeth from Trent’s betrayal.

Time can heal all wounds. That is the stories main premise. Elizabeth faces her demons in regards to her father and is able to regain trust in Trent eventually. Trent’s self-esteem rises each day Elizabeth is with him. He feels that fate has given him a second chance and that is all he can ask for.I enjoyed the story. I think Trent and Elizabeth’s personal baggage is real and relatable for readers, but their connection and recommitment towards each other just seemed off. I think I would need to go back to read the short story to understand this one.

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