Author: RC Boldt
Release date: May 21, 2019
(Sub)genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK
I received this book from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Wearing the nicest suit I own, I stand in the very back with a flask full of whiskey in my inner pocket. I put on a brave face as I watch her walk down the aisle.
Because it’s too late.
I refuse to be the bastard who makes her cry on her wedding day, but I’m dying to tell her what I’ve always known. She’s my best friend, but she doesn’t realize she owns my f*cking heart and soul, too.
Each step down that aisle takes her farther away from me and brings her closer to him, forcing me to face the truth: I’ve fallen in love with someone who can’t be mine. If she’d just turn around, maybe she’d realize I love her more than he ever could.
I won’t ruin her perfect day, but my broken heart begs me to try and convince her.
Falling in love with your best friend you know since childhood… Would you give into your feelings or would you be afraid to ruin a beautiful friendship? Choose Me tells the story of Magnolia and Hollis, who grew up together. It’s angst-y, romantic and real, I simply adore it.
“Just like Grandpa Joe said in last week’s sermon, a sweet friendship is good for the soul. Hollis Barnes is definitely good for mine.”
Magnolia and Hollis go way, way back. As kids they live next door to each other, and over the years they become close friends. Slowly they start to notice the other one as more then a friend, but both are afraid to speak about their true feelings. Both youngsters listen too much to other people, and their different backgrounds don’t help their case either. Before they can finally be together, Magnolia and Hollis have to grow up a lot, believe in themselves and make their own choices.
“It didn’t start as more than a friendship kind of love, but without me realizing it, over the years it slowly morphed. She’s always been a part of me, ingrained in my soul.”
Magnolia is a sweetheart, a true southern bell who tries to be the perfect daughter to please her parents. This means not all her choices are her own, but her friendship with Hollis is something her mother can’t control. Her heart belongs to Hollis, but telling him she loves him? Out of the question. Hollis loves Magnolia, but he thinks he’s not worthy of the pretty, rich girl. Magnolia and Hollis are a sweet couple, they are perfect for each other.
Choose Me is a story about growing up, choosing your own path and making important decisions. Hollis and Magnolia belong together, but it takes a long time before they finally can admit it. It’s also a sweet story; two young best friends who slowly fall in love over the years. With better communicating they could have been a couple much sooner, but I love that during their time apart they’ve grown up, and when they get back together… They are exactly what the other one needs.
“I’ve only ever needed you. I’ve only been happiest with you … It’s always been you, Hollis.”
I startle at the male voice calling my name. When I turn, I find a guy about my height wearing a button-down shirt beneath a sport coat and a pair of pressed slacks. He regards me with a mixture of surprise and recognition while I have no idea who the hell he is. He steps closer with a smile.
“Sorry to catch you off guard,” he apologizes and holds out his hand to me. “Grant Stevenson.”
I shake his hand warily. “Hollis Barnes.” I pause before adding, “But somehow, you already knew that.”
He grins, and if I’m being completely honest, I don’t detect any douchebag vibes. “I recognized you from one of the photos Magnolia has in her room of the two of you.”
It takes all my control to suppress the jolt that zigzags through me at his words. She still keeps a photo of us?
His eyes crinkle at the corners, and he lifts his chin to gesture to me. “Although I have to be honest, the ink and beard initially threw me off.”
A surprised laugh escapes me, and I slide my hands into my pockets.
Grant steps closer and glances around before lowering his voice. “I’m actually glad you’re here. I know you and Magnolia haven’t seen one another in a while, but you’re her oldest friend…”
Oldest friend. Not best friend. I don’t miss the phrasing. Although I don’t feel it’s intentional, it cuts deep just the same.
“I’m nervous as hell, and I’m hopin’ you can tell me if she’d like this.”
It takes me a moment to realize what he’s pulled out of his pocket.
A velvet ring box and a packet of Pop Rocks.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I resist the urge to rub at the center of my chest, where searing pain radiates.
He flicks open the box to reveal a ring with a large diamond that’s fancy as hell. Something Mrs. Barton would love and deem appropriate. But Magnolia? Hell no.
“Her mom helped me pick it out.”
“And I know she loves Pop Rocks since she always has a pack.”
Not the strawberry flavor.
But he’s trying. I can see the nervousness in his expression. The hope. The excitement.
I can’t crush this guy. He’s exactly what her parents have always wanted for her. The kind of guy who doesn’t get his hands dirty. The one with money and connections.
The one who can give her the future her parents expect her to have. The one who won’t come home with rough hands, callused to hell and back from working on a project that’s for a high-end client or due to be auctioned off to a car collector with more money than they know what to do with.
The man who wears button-downs like they’re second skin. Designer clothes.
So caught up in my thoughts, I don’t immediately realize that he’s pocketed the items and is gazing in another direction. When I turn and follow his focus, catching sight of her weaving through the crowd, I take advantage of the moment and let my eyes drink her in. She’s…so goddamn beautiful.
Her long blond hair spills down her back, and even beneath the shapeless graduation gown, her sleek, tanned legs peek out from the bottom hem, her heels accentuating her toned calf muscles.
When she catches sight of Grant, her entire face lights up, and…goddammit.
I can’t do this. This was a fucking mistake. It’s like someone’s performing open heart surgery and just cracked my chest open without anesthesia.