I’ve made no secret of my love for the books of Joely Sue Burkhart. She’s an author who knows how to believably portray oddly complicated emotional relationships. She also provides a grounding for her characters that shows exactly why they behave as they do without force-feeding backstory to her readers. (I’m also a fan of hers on Twitter, as I am with several hundred other writers I enjoy reading.)
The book that originally got me hooked on Ms. Burkhart’s work was DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS. This book introduced readers to a family of siblings with kinky personalities and the slightly unorthodox ways in which they each found true love. Now that the three grown Connagher children have had their own HEAs, it’s past time for their years-widowed mother to move on from mourning back to a fully lived life.
In NEVER LET YOU DOWN, Virginia Connagher finally allows herself to recapture a love she thought she’d been forced to give up for good. Although NEVER LET YOU DOWN builds beautifully on the previous Connagher books, it’s not necessary to have read any of them in order to enjoy its twist on a universal tale of first love rediscovered after decades (and previous marriages) apart.
Virginia loved her Tyrell, body and soul, and their marriage was the perfect melding of opposite needs met by similar personalities. For though each was just as stubborn and loyal as the other, Ty was as much of a masochist in need as Virginia was a sadist in equal need to give him what he required. Since his death, Virginia has been trying to drown her desires in alcohol, denying herself any other outlet, out of a mistaken sense of fidelity to her dead husband. But when Jeb Stewart, her best friend from childhood, returns to her small Texas town after years away, it will take all he’s got to convince her that a life spent with love and happiness is no insult to the man who Virginia had sworn never to betray.
Much like the unconventional relationships highlighted in each of the previous Connagher books, NEVER LET YOU DOWN also features an unconventional way of telling the multi-layered story of Virginia and Jeb’s romance. We have a view of the present day as Jeb returns to woo the woman he’d never stopped loving. We also view the past, as all the questions about how he is inextricably linked to Virginia and Ty are eventually answered in full. And then, as the past and present wind their way around each other toward the anticipated HEA, a third voice enters the story in the form of a book within the book -- a slightly over the top erotic western romance with a more than passing resemblance to the love story being told in the rest of the book. This manner of storytelling is risky with the danger of confusing the reader, but I was able to easily keep the three portions separate while appreciating how they all fit together as closely as Virginia, Ty, and Jeb did by the end of the book. It’s a beautiful love story in all its combinations, and a wonderful addition to one of my favorite erotic romance series.
A breath of a second chance can bring a slow-burning flame roaring back to life.
Virginia, Matriarch of the Texas Connaghers, has been alone twelve years since the great love of her life passed away. Tyrell loved her sadist’s heavy hand and the hard inner core she’s dared not show anyone since.
She lives in the past, clinging to all those memories except one. The one she’s determinedly blocked out of her heart and mind for nearly forty years. The one time she was almost unfaithful to her then-fiancé with her best friend, Jebadiah Garrett.
That was a long time ago. They both married and moved on. She has three adult children settling down with their own families. Besides, it was just a kiss. One kiss.
One unforgettable kiss that brought Jebadiah to his knees at her feet.
Now he’s back in town and determined to finally, once and for all, tell her how much he’s loved her all these years. Or, even better, show her by going to his knees once more. If she’ll only give him the chance.
Warning: Friends to lovers, older characters with a second chance at love, and a hard-as-nails matriarch who finally succumbs to a forty-year-old unrequited love