Aug 06

I’d Rather Not by Lani Lynn Vale Review


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Oakley Spurlock is dying.

She only has weeks to live thanks to a freak infection that totally and completely destroyed her kidneys.

Despite her family’s desperation, not a single one of them is a match.

In a last-ditch attempt, Oakley’s father takes to social media to beg for help to save his daughter’s life.


Pace Vineyard is lost. So lost, in fact, that he’s not sure he wants to be found.

But then a beautiful woman’s face is splashed across social media, and Pace finds a spark in his soul for the first time since a bomb went off beside him.

He’s already missing two legs. What’s one more kidney?

At least, that’s what he tells himself.

What he doesn’t expect is to give his heart to the woman, too. Or for the woman to run away with it and force him to follow.

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I’ve been reading Lani Lynn Vale’s work since she released her first book, and I’ve read them all. I’m completely invested in this world that she’s created in East Texas and Louisiana, and her books are the literary equivalent of must-see TV for me. I’ve been reading about these characters, their stories and their communities for years now, and each book is like catching up with a group of old friends. The KPD Motorcycle Patrol series is a next generation series based upon the stories of the children of the lead couples from Vale’s early series, KPD SWAT and the Heroes of the Dixie Wardens MC.

One thing Lani does exceptionally well is matching her couples. I’d Rather Not pairs a double-amputee hero with a heroine in desperate need of a kidney, and I was riveted by their story. There were so many connections between this couple before they even met, and their love story had a strong fated feeling to it that I absolutely loved. These two needed each other, in more ways than one, and the two of them were kindred spirits of sorts. The lengths that Pace went to in order to save Oakley’s life were the epitome of a grand gesture. Kind, patient, protective and generous, Pace was an utterly swoon-worthy hero, and Oakley, the one woman who saw beyond his physical imperfections to the perfect-for-her man beneath, was his ideal match.

This romance begins an unconventional first meeting, but Pace’s feeling for his friend’s sister began years early as he lived vicariously through him to experience Oakley’s love and care. For her part, she learned about the lonely soldier in her brother’s unit from him, and she started to include things he’d like in her care packages to her brother. Years later, when Pace learns about Oakley’s plight, he doesn’t hesitate to find a way to help.  This is where Vale creates her magic–by delivering a knee-weakeningly romantic love story rooted in, of all things, an organ donation, and as strange as that sounds, it totally works. She peppers this story with plenty of screen time from Oakley’s parents, fan favorites, Trance and Viddy, and weaves a suspenseful subplot into the background that brings more favorite characters into play.

I’d Rather Not is an engaging mix of the past and the future, and Vale fills the pages with all of the heat, heart and humor that her suspenseful romances are known for. I loved everything about Pace and Oakley’s love story, and this series is quickly becoming a favorite. I’d Rather Not by Lani Lynn Vale gets five smooches from me!

~ Danielle Palumbo


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