Title: Believe in the Wish
Author: Christi Snow
Release Date: May 11, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Length: ~55,000 words
Genre: New Adult, enemies to lovers, forbidden love, twins, contemporary romance, mourning death
I buried my twin sister six months after she found out she had cancer. Her funeral was three months ago. Today is our birthday and it started with delivery of letters from her.
It seems she didn’t trust me to move on after her death. She knows me too well. But how can I go on when my other half is just…gone? That’s not something I can recover from with a snap of my fingers. But I also can’t ignore her instructions even though I’d be perfectly content to cuddle up with my buddy, Johnnie Walker, and call it a year.
She has a list of things for me to do and there are rules attached.
There’s one major problem besides the fact it’s been three months since I left the house. I have to do all these things with her jerk of an ex, Hawk Simmons. He abandoned her shortly after she found out she was sick. If that wasn’t enough to make this a really bad idea, the fact that he makes an appearance in all my nighttime fantasies probably does.
I don’t think I can do this, but I owe it to my sister’s memory to try.
This is a stand-alone male/male contemporary romance novel.
Building suspense without danger
The very nature of the style means that the reader is always wondering what’s going to happen around the next corner.
But when it came to this book I wanted to try my hand at suspense of a different sort.
No, there’s no danger or hidden attacker in this book.
What there is instead…*author cocks an eyebrow*…are some unanswered mysteries about how these two characters ended up in this situation.
Emma loved her twin brother Ethan.
That was never in question, so he just assumed that when she died he would inherit her half of their home and business.
That wasn’t the case.
Why would she require him to jump through all these hoops?
Hoops like having to play nice with her asshole of an ex, Hawk.
Hawk is another mystery in this story.
The book is told from both Hawk and Ethan’s point of view, but it takes a while for the reader to see things from Hawk’s side of things. That was done on purpose.
I want the reader to question what exactly Emma was thinking here.
Emma knew she was dying.
She knew Ethan wouldn’t handle that well.
In the months leading up to her death, she made a plan.
A plan to make sure Ethan lived even when she didn’t.
And that’s all I’m going to say…
Let’s start with Christi. She is an author that definitely writes from her heart. She is an avid reader (one of the two or three blogs I watch religiously), and writes her characters with heart. AND, she doesn’t write the same character, just in a slightly different situation. She writes complex characters, that you have to invest time, and emotions into figuring out their motivations, their wants and needs, and where they will be going next. I love the depth of her writing, and I soak it up every single time one of her books hits my e-reader. (Example, she sent me this arc…I forced myself to finish what I was reading, then dropped everything to read this next). Read anything and everything from Christi and you will have a happy ending, and enjoy yourself along the way.
Now, the book. I read the blurb, and knew immediately that my heart was going to be ripped out. How could you not? And right from the first paragraph you see what a mess Ethan’s life has become since Emma died. They were everything to each other, and when she died, well Ethan felt he should have died instead. Watching his struggle, even in the first chapter, was difficult. He had taken grief to a level that is difficult to fathom, and the reader couldn’t help but bleed along with him. Then to find out that his sister had “betrayed” him and hadn’t really left him the house and business without stipulations. That’s a pain that can’t be measured.
As we move through the book, we find, of course, that Emma has a plan, and if Ethan and Hawk go along with her plan, Ethan will get what he had expected at the end. However, first Ethan has to walk through the fires with Hawk, and learn that maybe not everything with Emma was as open as Ethan had thought. The bitterness Ethan experiences with Hawk is what one would expect in that situation, and even when they have fun times, Ethan feels guilty because he has always wanted the man than Emma loved.
There was so much guilt tied up in Ethan’s feelings, and the author portrays is so beautifully. Guilt is a complicated emotion, and when Ethan enjoys himself with Hawk, he feels guilty. When he realizes that Emma is dead, and he is alive, he feels guilty. All these emotions that are wrapped up in how he feels about the two people he cared about the most, and getting past that isn’t easy. It takes time and patience, and maybe some smoldering hot kisses from a sexy man. 😉
The rawness of all the emotions Ethan portrays was difficult to read sometimes. You will cry. Grab tissues, and keep them handy. Christi does an amazing job of giving the reader just enough information and emotion to catch you and drag you in, while forcing you to hold on to all that, and wait to see what comes next in Emma’s plan.
I absolutely loved this book. If a book can make me cry, smile, laugh, and give me a happy ending, it is going to be a thumbs up. But when the author can make me believe that all these emotions are coming from a living, breathing human being, that’s a keeper and a re-read. Without question, one of the best reads I’ve had this year. The book hangover was worth every precious second. (And there was a bonus happy little note in there about Found At the Library, another Christi Snow fave of mine, that made me giddy!)
5 pieces of eye candy
Katya ended her call and promptly pushed the ‘away’ button for receiving phone calls. “I’m sorry. No more calls. They may not think so, but they can survive without me for an hour or so while we have our chat.”
Ethan’s stomach rolled over. That brought them to the question of the hour…chat about what? But he was almost afraid to ask at this point. Instead, he redirected. “Do you have your own firm, or do you work for someone else?”
She raised an eyebrow at him, but with a slight tilt of her head she must have seen something in his expression because she answered, “I own my own firm. When I graduated from law school, I went into a partnership that was later dissolved when I bought my partner out. It’s all mine now, which keeps me very busy.”
He grimaced. “And that’s further complicated by hermits like me who refuse to answer phone calls or mail deliveries. Sorry about that.”
“No.” She shook her head. “It’s time for you to stop apologizing. This is a hard time for you and that’s okay. To a certain extent, that’s the way it should be…”
She hesitated for a moment. “At least for a little while. You’re allowed to grieve. But Emma knew this would be an issue for you, so she made plans.”
“What kind of plans?”
Katya reached into her briefcase and pulled out a file. She reached inside and pulled out an envelope that she handed to him. On the front was his name, written in Emma’s handwriting. Suddenly it was hard to breathe.
“What is this?” he whispered.
“The first of your instructions. You need to open and read it.”
He didn’t want to. He didn’t know why, but he really didn’t want to. “I’d rather wait until I’m at home.” At his house, if he fell apart, he could do it without witnesses.
She shook her head kindly. “No, that won’t work. She was very specific in how she wanted this all to go. I need you to open it now.”
Ethan swallowed against the huge lump in his throat as he tried to find air to breathe. His heart pounded in his chest. Surely, everyone around them could hear that.
“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I promise.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” He glanced up at her. “It’s never going to be okay again.” His voice cracked.
She lowered her lids, and her lips compressed into a tight line as if his grief was too much for her.
His hands shook as he turned the envelope over, lifting the sealed flap. It had to be his imagination, but he could have sworn that he smelled a faint whiff of the strawberry lotion Emma always liked to wear.
For just a moment, he shut his eyes and tried to calm down his emotions going haywire. He didn’t know whether to be angry that she’d done this to him, sad that she wasn’t here to tell him whatever information this letter held, or scared at whatever Emma had cooked up for him.
Throughout her life, she’d kept him hopping. As the exuberant, outgoing twin, she’d always dragged him into trouble when all he’d wanted to do was stay home. In that regard, this whole scheme of hers was very apropos.
He took a deep breath and pulled out the single sheet of paper and unfolded it. At the very first words on the paper, his eyes filled with tears.
Happy Birthday, baby brother.
He glanced up in disbelief at Katya. “It’s May fifteenth?”
At her silent nod, he gazed down at the paper in his hands, his eyes filling with tears. It was their twenty-fifth birthday. The first birthday he’d ever celebrated without her. She’d only been twenty-four when she’d died. How unfair was that? To her. To him. To the world that missed out on everything she had to offer it.
Emma’s handwriting wavered in front of his eyes, but he continued to read, not knowing what else to do. His other option—sobbing in the middle of the restaurant—would be mortifying.
I’m sorry I’m not there to go out partying with you. Remember when we were little and you didn’t want to share your birthday with me? Now you get your wish.
He’d been a horrible person. The tears overflowed his eyes. He’d made that wish more years than he even wanted to remember. How selfish was that? How could he have wished for a life without her in any way? She’d been his light.
Katya shoved a tissue into his hand.
Right. He was in public. Time to get it together.
My bad. It was probably too soon for a joke like that.
I love you, Ethan.
I know I didn’t say that enough—you know emotional displays and I didn’t mix—but beyond anything else that happens over the next few weeks, KNOW THAT. I love you, and if I could have figured out a way to stay, I would have…for you.
But God obviously had different plans for me, so now I’ll just have to content myself with being your guardian angel for the next seventy-five years. I’ll have your back, bro. I promise.
And in the interest of having your back, that’s why Katya is here.
I know you. You’re stubborn, and right now, I imagine that you’re more than a little sad. I get that, but that doesn’t mean you stop living. My death means you have to live twice as much because you have to do it enough for both of us. I’m counting on you.
Make a Wish, Ethan. Believe in it. It’s time to live.
When Ethan finished reading, he took several deep breaths. The sobs had welled in his throat, and it was all he could just to hold them inside.
“You okay?” Katya asked.
“Yeah.” His voice sounded husky, but he’d managed to say the word, so he figured that for a win.
“Then it’s time for step two.”
He looked up just as she held a flaming lighter to the candle on top of a cupcake. She pushed it in front of him. “Make a wish and blow. All you have to do is believe.”
As he sat there, looking at the flickering candle, it occurred to him at just how sad this was. His twin was dead, and he was at some bizarre birthday celebration with someone he’d never even met before. Even from the grave, Emma was working to pull him out of his shell.
So he closed his eyes and blew as he made his wish.
I wish I wasn’t so alone.
But when he opened them, nothing had changed. He was still sitting in a restaurant with a woman he didn’t know, mourning the twin sister who’d died. Not that he expected a miracle, but Emma wanted him to believe.
How was that even possible? She’d been the one who believed in the magic of things like wishes and fairy tales. What had that gotten her? She’d died before she’d even had the chance to live. What kind of magic could he possibly believe in with that kind of reality?
As an avid reader her entire life, Christi Snow always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy she felt when she read. But…she never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.
When she turned 41, she decided it was time to go after her dream and started writing. Within four months, she’d written over 150,000 words and hasn’t stopped since.
She’s found her calling by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. She’s truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.
Her tagline is… Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. She’s loving this adventure!
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5/12 ~ MM Good Book Reviews
5/14 ~ Dog-Eared Daydreams
5/15 ~ Happily Ever Chapter
5/16 ~ MM Book Escape
5/17 ~ Book Reviews Janisf & Leisha
5/17 ~ BFD Book Blog
5/18 ~ Dirty Books Obsession
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5/20 ~ Bayou Book Junkie