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Shiloh Walker

REVIEW:  You Own Me by Shiloh Walker

REVIEW: You Own Me by Shiloh Walker

You Own Me Shiloh Walker

Dear Ms. Walker:

Thank you for sending this book to me for review. I’m a big fan of the friends to lovers trope and was excited to dig in. The premise of this story is that Decker Calhoun went to prison for actions related to Elizabeth Waters. The why isn’t revealed until late in the story.  He’s yearned for Lizzie for a long time but has never acted on it; instead being a good guy friend. The big tattooed felon has it bad for Lizzie and its utterly sweet to watch him sweat over her dating another guy and how to best approach her.

Individually each character worked for me. It was the setup I struggled with. Decker has gone to prison for something which is only alluded to in the beginning. We know it has to do with Lizzie and we know he doesn’t regret it even though he gave up a college scholarship, a potential budding professional sports career, and spent time in prison. It’s all good.  He’s fine, for the most part, being a felon. He has a small circle of friends including the guy who gave him a post prison job as well as Selah and Lizzie.

Lizzie has her small circle of friends and an asshole boyfriend.  Said boyfriend tells Lizzie he’d like an open relationship where he gets to screw around. Rather than dump him, Lizzie is sent into an emotional tailspin. Selah convinces her to sign up for the same fetish dating site as her boyfriend and try the open relationship her boyfriend suggests. Selah’s motivations are to get Decker and Lizzie together.

It was so obvious to everyone that Decker and Lizzie were in love with each other that it didn’t make sense that Lizzie would continue to date anyone but Decker; that she’d hang on to her dumb boyfriend; that she’d sign up for a fetish dating profile. The two character’s actions of refusing to talk to each other once came off as unnatural.  Decker holding off because he thought Lizzie was happy was completely believable. Decker not pursuing Lizzie once she told him what her boyfriend wanted? Not believable.

Lizzie’s insecurity based on her boyfriend’s request? Believable. Lizzie not pursuing Decker when he practically laid at her feet? Not believable.

When the reveal of Decker’s big actions came about, it was a bit anticlimactic and I had a hard time buying into it. If he truly had no regrets because he loved Lizzie and had always loved her, that made some sense, but it didn’t seem like his love developed until he was in prison.

It was a short novella–under 100 pages. Decker and Lizzie were sweet characters. I loved that they ended up together. It’s the romance, the courtship part of the story, that I struggled with. C

Best regards,

Jane

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ARC Giveaway: Wrecked by Shiloh Walker

ARC Giveaway: Wrecked by Shiloh Walker

Wrecked is a friends to lovers story from author Shiloh Walker.  Kati  is recommending this book for April and when the author contacted me about doing an ARC giveaway, it seemed like serendipity.

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From Shiloh Walker:

 

wrecked shiloh walker

Last March, I was in Tucson, Arizona for the Tucson Festival of Books.  We were at this cool little bookstore on 4th Avenue with a couple of bloggers who’d met up with us (heya, Bookpushers!) and I walked past this book…Wreck This Journal.  I saw it out of the corner of my eye, glanced at it. Kept walking…then I stopped and went back. Stared at it.

And just like that…Wreck this Life.

There’s this girl, she’s out to wreck her life.  Why?  Because her entire life, she’s tried to control everything.  Why? Because when she was a kid, her life was chaos and she had no control.  Why?

All these little bits and pieces were little coming together, clear as day, in my head.

So, after I paid for the journal—of course I had to buy a copy—I was walking outside, still dealing with this book coming together in my head, I had this picture of him. Zach. The hero.  He’s the heroine’s best friends and they’ve been friends for forever.  She’s out to wreck her life, and he’s out to remake it. Because he’s been in love with her…forever.

The next day, I was talking to Helenkay Dimon and the idea is all but exploding out of me.

There’s this guy, and he’s a tattoo artist, the heroine has this crazy plan to wreck her life after her fiancé dumps her.  She’s going to get a tattoo—and the hero is doing the tattoo, cuz he’s a tattoo artist.  So she’s getting a tattoo and while they’re doing the tattoo and she’s trying to come to grips with how her fiancé dumped her…and she asks Zach, her best friend for forever, if he’s ever been in love.  Zach has been in love…with only one person, ever.  But he can’t tell her that, see?  Because she’s his only.  So he tries to hedge away…but she pushes and he just tells her, ‘It didn’t work out…she never seemed to notice that I was the one staring at her when she walked into the room.’

 

I could see all of this, clear as day.  And I hadn’t written a single word.  I asked Helenkay what she thought…and she said, “I love Zach already.”

That was pretty much me…I loved Zach, and Abby, from the get-go.

 

 Excerpt

The dark brown of her eyes seemed to burn as she stared at him.

Zach was torn between just closing the distance between them and just calling this whole idea off. More than seventeen years, damn it. That’s how long he’d loved her and she’d never known.

But you’ve never told her.

Yeah, because she’d never seemed to—

Abby slid her off her stool.

Mentally, he sighed. Shoving a hand through his hair, he glanced away from her, tried to find something else to look at, focus on, think about. He’d been teasing her and pushing her as far as he figured he could go without saying outright, “I read the damn journal. If you have to have an affair, why not me?”But she wasn’t exactly following and—

Her hand touched his shoulder.

Zach and looked back her. His heart seemed to jump up into his throat as she closed the distance between them.

Everything in the world faded away as she pushed up onto her toes.

And then, as she leaned in and pressed her lips to his, Zach realized this was what it was like to have a dream actually come true. As her mouth parted under his, he was almost certain he was dying. Maybe he’d already died. Yeah. He’d been eating something and choked, died, and now he was in heaven.

Except he figured there was no way he would end up there.

So maybe Abby really was kissing him. Groaning, he reached for her and hauled her closer, pulling her to stand between his legs. With one arm wrapped around her waist, he slid his free hand up her back and tangled his hand in the crazy, soft curls of her hair. Soft as silk, just like he remembered.

And her mouth was sweet, every bit as sweet as he remembered, but there was no director, no crew, no brilliant stage lights shining down and this kiss wasn’t choreographed or scripted.

Abby wasn’t kissing him because she had to, wasn’t kissing him because it was in some fucking script, and she wasn’t going to pull away and make some stupid joke to break the tension.

Abby was kissing him, damn it.

It was real.

Real, and he was going to make the most of it.