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Love Realized (Real Love #1) by Melanie Codina

For Jake, it's always been Gillian

It's been her since that day she unknowingly stole a piece of his heart.....when he watched her fall for one of his best friends. Resolved to the fate that she couldn't be his, he locked up the deeper emotions he felt for her and loved her as a friend. As friends, they went through it all together. Marriages, births, divorces and even death. But when a shameful secret Gillan has kept from her friends is revealed, Jake realizes that she needs him more than ever. He knew what it was like to go through heartbreak and he wasn't about to stand back and watch her endure it alone. He also knew she would turn to him for support. What he wasn't prepared for was the return of the emotions he had long ago locked away. Could he control these emotions again and did he even want to? Could he make her realize his love for her was real, or would she slip through his fingers again?

Four Stars

A promise is a promise, and if a man doesn’t stand by his word, he really doesn’t have much to offer. 

So after my last read, which was pretty intense (and a bit disappointing), I was in search of a light, fluffy, steamy read. I don’t know what drew me to this book, but I’m really happy to have read it. Though it wasn’t as fluffy as I would’ve wanted, it still helped me get rid of that dark cloud that my last book left. 

This story is classic Adult Contemporary: Lots of drama (which left me teary eyed and emotional) and just enough steam to wet the appetite. I really couldn’t put it down. 

“Tell me you didn’t forget, Logan. Tell me you didn’t forget that I told you, if you cheated on me again it was over!” With that, his eyes opened wide, and he reached for her. 
Gripping her shoulders, eyes actually tearing, he pulled her close to him, begged her, “Please, Gillian, no, please don’t do this. I’m begging you, don’t do this.” 

On the surface, Gillian seemed to have it all: a loving husband and three wonderful children. Gillian and her husband, Logan, were high school sweethearts, had their first child while in high school, but have defied odds and have been married for the last sixteen years. We first meet her having a birthday party for her eight year old son where everything seemed to be going smoothly until a her co-worker shows up, with his wife, whom she has never met. However, when she first sets eyes on her, she almost loses her composure. There in front of her was the woman that Logan had an affair with. Shit was about to hit the fan. 

“Why wasn’t I enough for him, Jake? Why wasn’t I good enough?” 

For the sake of her children, Gillian has kept her husband’s affair a secret. She forgave him the first time, but when she found out that he was still seeing her, she knew it was over. Logan loves Gillian, but he knew he fucked up (again) and there was no going back. That his second chance was all used up, there will no longer be another; this was the breaking point in their marriage.

“You would be much more than ‘just enough’ for me, Gillian.” ~ Jake 

Jake has loved Gillian since he was seventeen years old; he knew it the moment he first saw her. Unfortunately, his friend Logan beat him to the punch, and has been on the sidelines looking in. No woman ever compared to her, even his ex-wife. No matter, though, they have always remained best friends and will always be a part of her life. However, with this new turn of events, he knows he has a chance at more and this time, he is not going to let her slip through his fingers. 

“Can I have you, Gillian?” he repeated, and she realized she hadn’t actually responded to his request. Her body was screaming hell yes, but she had yet to verbalize it to him. Could she do this? Could she take this step with one of her oldest and best friends? 

This was such a good story, which included a very likeable heroine and a sexy Alpha male Hero (jealous, very protective of what’s his and very possessive….LOVE those types of Alphas). 

The beginning was a bit slow to start, with lots of narration, but things picked up pretty fast. It was heartbreaking to read the dissolution of Gillian and Logan’s marriage. It literally made me cry seeing how heartbroken the two were. These two loved each other, there was never a doubt, but Logan was an asshat to cheat. Men can be such idiots. However, I was happy to see Jake finally have his chance at winning the girl of his dreams. The only problem, of course, was: Were they ready to take their close friendship to the next level? 

Like I said before, I am a sucker for friends-to-lover stories, and this was a prime example of one. Very happy to have picked it up.

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