Title: Can’t Forget You by Rachel Lacey
Risking It All Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 353 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST LOVE
Jessica Flynn can’t wait to buy up that patch of unspoiled North Carolina woodland next door and expand her spa. What could be more sensuous than a hot-tub soak under the stars? Jessica would love to bask in the romantic view herself-but first she needs to find the right man to join her in this fantasy. Back in high school, she thought that was the dark and brooding Mark Dalton. But then he left to join the Special Forces, and when he returned to town, it felt like their teenage love affair had never even happened.
Mark Dalton has his eye on the same property for his own business. Yet there’s something he wants to have even more. Because Jessica is sweeter than he remembered, and he’s finding it hard to resist his attraction to the competition. When they finally find themselves alone, deep in the forest, nature can’t help but run a little wild. But if she ever finds out what he’s been hiding all these years, she may never forgive him…
Can’t Forget You by Rachel Lacey is a wonderful second chance at love romance between former high school sweethearts. This third installment in the Risking it All series features Mark Dalton (le sigh) and Jessica Flynn and can be read as a standalone.
Mark and Jessica have avoided each other as much as possible ever since he returned to Haven to go into business with his best friends, Ethan Hunter and Ryan Blake. Of the three men, Mark is the most damaged by his childhood and he is the epitome of the strong, silent type. Intensely private, Mark does not reveal much about his childhood, the years he has been away or his Army career. Although he has no regrets about moving back to Haven or going into business with his friends, Mark still struggles with feeling like he does not belong. After he continues to cross paths with Jessica, Mark realizes his feelings for her have not changed over the years but will he be able to overcome his fears that he is not relationship material?
Jessica is still pretty hurt and angry over Mark’s decision to leave her behind when he joined the Army. Despite sharing friends in common, she has been fairly successful in avoiding him but when their business interests end up overlapping, she has no choice but to spend time with him. When he continues to show his caring and compassionate side while she is going through a difficult time, Jessica tentatively agrees to explore their simmering attraction. Eventually deciding to take their relationship public, will they finally find their happily ever after?
Despite his emotional baggage, Mark is a very kind-hearted and affectionate man. He finds it difficult to discuss his problems and when he is stressed or worried, he needs time alone to process his emotions. Due to how their romance ended years earlier, Jessica wants full transparency from him which is a reasonable request when it comes to issues that pertain directly to their relationship. When it comes to other aspects of Mark’s life, this is a bit of an unrealistic and unfair expectation since everyone is entitled to their privacy. He should also have the choice to decide what he wants to share and he should also be able to decide when to share this info. This becomes a problem when Jessica stumbles across information that has NOTHING to do with her or their relationship but in her opinion, she feels like he should have divulged this to her. She then blindsides Mark with her discovery and proceeds to issue an unfair ultimatum that will either make or break their relationship. This is the “big misunderstanding” that becomes the pivotal moment for their future and although it was wrapped up fairly quickly, this entire situation felt entirely unfair to Mark since it is tantamount to emotional blackmail by Jessica.
There was one other part of the story that did not make a good impression. Mark is an intensely private person so it felt like a bit of betrayal when Jessica discussed extremely intimate details about him with her friends. If they were having a casual fling, it would be slightly more acceptable to disclose this information but since Jessica is hoping for a long term relationship with him, these revelations were very inappropriate.
Despite a few flaws, Can’t Forget You is a sweet yet very sensual romance. Mark has been a bit of an enigma throughout the Risking It All series so getting to know him on a more personal level is an absolute joy but also a bit heartbreaking once the truth about his past is revealed . Jessica has many good points but she treated Mark very unfairly when she discovered unexpected information about his past. Mark and Jessica have an explosive chemistry and their sex scenes are blazing hot. Readers of contemporary romances will enjoy this newest release from Rachel Lacey.