Feb 23

Return to Us by Corinne Michaels Review


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From New York Times Bestselling author Corinne Michaels comes a new second chance standalone love story.

At eighteen, I walked away from Willow Creek Valley for good.

I was young, scared, and stupid, and it cost me the love of my life—Grayson Parkerson.

Fourteen years later, a crash sends me back home to recover.

Back to where we met, fell in love, and planned a future.

The one he’s now living as a single dad to his daughter.

Working at The Park Inn together gives us a chance to reconnect, and seeing him with his little girl makes me long for the days when he was mine. One look in his gorgeous blue-green eyes, and it’s like I never left. One kiss, and my world is upside down. One night together, and I know without a doubt, in his arms is where I belong.

I’m not the girl I was—intimidated by his wealthy family and desperate to escape our small town. I can imagine a new life for us here. 

But he’s learned to guard his heart, and trust won’t come easily.

How can I convince him to give first love a second chance?

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I love a second-chance romance, especially when it’s a second-chance at first love, and boy oh boy, did Corinne Michaels give her readers a truly amazing one in Return to Us. This book kicks off her new Willow Creek Valley series. When it was announced, this book went immediately on my most anticipated reads list, and having read it now and without even seeing any other titles or blurbs, the other books in the series are on it now, too. While it’s not at all necessary to read Stay for Me, the final book in Michaels’ Arrowood Brothers series, readers will recall meeting the heroine, Jessica, in that book. Her role there was small, though, and you won’t be missing anything here by not reading that book first as the events she was involved in there are covered in depth here.

Michaels is truly adept is pulling the reader into her stories and the world she’s creating, and she deftly did that here with Grayson and Jessica’s story. A second-chance-at-first-love romance, Grayson and Jessica were high school sweethearts who came from vastly different backgrounds. Gray was deeply in love with her, but his parents didn’t hide the fact that Jessica wasn’t up to their standards. Coupled with some other emotional baggage, Jessica latched onto his parents’ disdain and used it, along with the fact that she wanted out of Willow Creek, as a reason to end their relationship. Fast forward several years, and Jessica is back home, recuperating after a serious trauma. Gray is still there, a single father now, and it’s clear to everyone—but the two of them apparently—that there are unresolved feelings there.

I loved Gray so much. He was exactly the kind of ovary-busting single dad that I love to read about. He was such a great dad, and his relationship with his adorable four-year-old-daughter was incredibly sweet. Jessica broke his heart, but he still found it in himself to be patient with and kind to her. Jessica has been through a lot, and she was still dealing with the physical effects and emotional fall-out of her near-death experience, not to mention her feelings for Gray and the way being back home felt. Between her emotional baggage, including her lingering feelings for Gray, and her physical recovery from a traumatic event, she had a full plate of issues to deal with. But she was out there every day, trying to overcome it all, fighting for her recovery and facing her past head-on. I loved her strength, and I believe she’s one of the strongest heroines that Michaels has ever written.

As this author loves to do, she takes her readers right into the thick of her characters’ pain. She wreaks her havoc on our hearts as skillfully she does theirs, and I know, before I even pick up one of her books, that I’ll be taking whatever emotional battering Corinne is dishing out. Fortunately, she always heals her characters, and her readers, after ripping them to shreds, and thankfully, Michaels does this part exceptionally well. It’s one of the reasons that I reach for her books time and time again.

An addictive and enthralling second-chance romance, Return to Us was angsty, steamy, romantic and positively brimming with feels. Michaels’ breathtaking storytelling was on point, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I loved every word of this story, and I am eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. Five smooches from me for Return to Us by Corinne Michaels!

~Danielle Palumbo




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