Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin is a very emotional storyline. The theme allows readers to understand how to cope with loss and handle grief. It is also a friends to lover’s story.
Many say that a guy and gal cannot be friends. This story seems to prove that point. The different dynamic relationships play a part in how people react to each other. Friends usually are able to be direct and let their guards down without having to build walls. Usually these relationships are based on honesty where each person can show their true selves. Some of the best intimate relationships start off as friends. The heroine, Alexis, and the hero, Jake began their friendship as pen pals while she was deployed in Italy. They did not literally converse with a writing object, but used the modern way, a phone text. McLaughlin wanted “it to be a safer way to share feelings without being face to face or voice to voice. These two are able to share only when they feel like sharing.”
Alexis is not used to displaying her emotions, keeping everything close to the chest. Her parents died in an auto accident, she was raised by her older brother Dean, and now has lost her fiancé in a military helicopter accident. Anyone who has lost a loved one, especially when it is unexpected, can relate to this powerful quote, “Several times she had to talk herself out of just crawling back into bed… Moving on, healing, required putting one foot in front of the other. Even when it felt impossible.”
The story poignantly shows how those grieving can move on, that time heals. Yet, there are also instances when something can spur someone’s memory about a loved one, and that feeling of being hit in the gut returns. “I wanted to write about this because I experience it. I put in the book how sometimes the weight of the pain feels brand new. I lost my father when I was ten. I watched my mother and how she dealt with losing a partner. I think I put my own feelings in these scenes. My dad has been dead almost twenty-five years and every once in awhile a thought pops up in my head and I cry instantly. I think the grieving process is a long journey.”
But it is also a story of hope. After a year serving overseas Alexis returns to her home town in Kansas. Her brother offers her a job at the Stag Distillery he owns with two friends. But it also ended up becoming one of the most successful wedding and event venues in the Kansas City metro area. To promote their business one of the partners, Jake, travels on the road to find new clients. Realizing that Alex would be a good addition for making sells, it is decided that she will travel with him. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker, Jake. Soon the casual relationship becomes intense where both realize they have strong feelings for each other.
“I wrote how their relationship was grounded in respect and friendship. Both needed someone that they cared for. They were able to tease and joke with each other, feeling very comfortable, because they started out as friends. They appear as opposites since Alexis is a survivor, strong, broken, vulnerable, determined, desperate for a family, and is very guarded. Jake is a player, a playboy, who always feels second best. As Alexis opens up to him about her feelings he listens, doesn’t pry or lecture about what she should be feeling. Slowly he transitions from a playboy to a partner.”
This is a very emotional story that will tug at the heart. There are many touching scenes with very likeable characters.
About the Author
Nicole McLaughlin wrote her first full length book (6 pages) about the birth of her baby sister, when she was eight years old. She only finished it because her mother bribed her with a Rick Astley cassette tape. Sad, but true. Now her characters are what keep her writing and her subject matter has gotten a little bit deeper and a lot more romantic. She resides in a small town outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, she’s a wedding and portrait photographer, loves to cook, and watch historical dramas or documentaries. Nicole is the author of two series with St. Martin’s Press, the Man Enough series (All I Ask) and Whiskey and Weddings (Maybe I Do).
About the Book
Maybe for You
After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooperon a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .
Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?