Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stay by Kelly Mooney

**4 out of 5 Stars**


Maggie Collins is running away from everything she knows and loves. The only thing she ever wanted was to go to college, open up her own bakery, and marry the man of her dreams. Years later she still struggles to face a secret shes hidden from everyone since she was little. With her brother, Jeremy, and her boyfriend, Luke having the time of their lives at Northwestern, she makes the hardest decision of her life--to let them go. Unfortunately, that means giving up her own heart to protect theirs. What she hadnt planned on doing was working at a strip club to pay bills or to meet someone new that may be able to make her feel whole again.

Luke Matthews has more than he could ask for. Hes attending his favorite University, has the girl of his dreams, and lives with his best friends. The one morning when he wakes to find her scribbled note telling him shes leaving flips his world upside down. Unable to cope, he turns to booze and pills to numb his pain. It isn't until almost two years later and losing all hope when he stumbles upon Maggie. And of all places, working in a strip club.

Convincing her to come home with them is the easy part, but finding out the real reason for her leaving could destroy them both.

This was a good little book.  I needed a break after my last read, something that wasn't as dark with a HEA.  I got this with this book.  It took a long time to get there but they finally made it.  The writing style was great, I had no trouble following it.  I liked the characters for the most part.  The heroine got on my nerves through most of it simply because she couldn't make a decision and it was so obvious to me where she should be.  There is a lot of angst and drama with this one.  I was so mad at her most of the book.  I wanted to pull my hair out and just scream!

Maggie is strong, a survivor.  She’s been through a lot in her life.  She’s working in a strip club in New York and trying to move on with a life she never imagined.  She’s beautiful.  I like her to a point.  I admire her for doing what she did but at the same time I hated her!  She can’t make a decision about anything.  She reminds me of Kiera form Thoughtless with her decision making.

Luke is tall, built and tattooed.  He’s been through a lot of tragedy.  He lost the girl of his dreams and his family all within a year.  He’s lost and trying to find himself at the bottom of a bottle and with Xanax.  He’s been in love with the same girl since he was a kid and he can’t let her go.  He’s gonna do what he has to, to make sure he keeps her once he’s found her again. 

Maggie got into the school of her dreams but can’t go because her brother also got into the school of his dreams.  Her parents can’t afford to pay for both schools.  Luke is there to comfort her but they are only friends at the time.  Friends that obviously have feelings for each other.

19 months later…

They somehow end up with each other when she’s a sophomore in college.  It’s obvious he’s crazy about her and wants to be with her forever.  But like it always does, something happens to her and she’s afraid it will make him give up all his dreams (I’m pretty sure he would) and she leaves a note on his night stand and walks out of his life. 

15 months after leaving Luke…

She’s working in a club and dating a guy named Max.  He’s a bartender at the club she works at.  He’s sweet and covered in tattoos. 

After she and Max are fooling around she tells him why she left without anyone knowing.  Her dad molested her and he touched her friend.  She got the nerves to tell her mom and she didn't believe her.  Her dad is a monster but everyone in town loves him.  She told Luke in the letter what had happened and why she was leaving and begged him to keep her secret. 

Since Maggie left Luke his life has gone to shambles.  He lost her and then lost his family.  He’s taking Xanax and trying to keep his head above water.  His best friends are taking him on a road trip to try and help him.  He’s lost and he needs help. He’s losing himself in a bottle.  He never recovered from loosing Maggie and then his family was killed in a car accident only leaving him.  He’s lost everything that’s important to him. 

While in New York, they happen into the club where Maggie works.  She saw them and took off.  4 days later they go back taking her brother with them.  When her brother spots her he takes off through the club and wraps himself around her.  She’s crying, he’s crying, and Luke is crying.  It’s something to behold.  The bouncer eventually rips them off her and they end up on the floor with future black eyes.  They go to her apartment where Max shows up all mad.  Luke isn't handling the fact she’s with someone else very well.  She goes back to their hotel with them and he stays up all night trying to figure out how to get her home and to get back to the life with her he’s always wanted.

I like Max but he’s getting on my nerves.  I understand there are feelings there but Luke has suffered and he’s still so in love with her it hurts to read about it.  She hasn't slept with anyone since Luke, her and Max have gotten close but it’s never happened.  On her last night in New York, with Luke in a hotel waiting for her, she tells Max to take her to bed.  I want to throw something right now.  She sleeps with him knowing Luke is waiting for her.  Who does that?!  The next morning she leaves with Luke and her brother headed home.  Max promises to visit in 2 weeks. 

Two weeks later Max is on his way and Luke has been giving her space.  She actually tells him he’s making her uncomfortable.  It’s like she has no thought of his feelings, like she left him and he should be over it.  She ends up having to tell her brother what their dad did to her.  Luke can’t take the crying so he goes to some hole in the wall bar and gets drunk.  He couldn't stand seeing her with Max either.  Dean comes in and tells him she’s gone with Max for the rest of the weekend.  At this point I wish he could get over her and she’d just go back to where ever she was hiding and stay away.  Maybe then the boy wouldn't hurt so much.  If she wanted to see Max she should have gone to him.  At work the next night Luke wants to go home with some barfly.  Can’t really say I blame him. He can’t make himself do it though.  The boy has it bad.  After a botched lunch the next day where she rudely took Max’s call while they were together he makes up for lost time and goes home with the girl from the bar.  I don’t blame him at all.

They just keep tip toeing around each other and I can’t honestly tell if she even feels anything.  They end up spending the night alone in the apartment together, eating and talking.  She’s getting drunk and he’s got a pretty good buzz going.  They end up dancing to their song when it comes on the radio.  Things start to get out of hand.  I don’t know if it’s the alcohol talking or if they both just needed a little liquid courage but they end up in her bedroom with the door locked.  They sleep together and she regrets it the next morning and runs out on him…again.  She’s got him all tied up in knots. 

“No. I don’t regret being with her, I regret letting her get to me again. I don’t think there’s enough Xanax for me to get through this shit again.”

3 days after they sleep together she informs him that she’s going to New York to see Max.  I understand she confused but really?!  He takes off mad and ends up in jail.  Her brother bails him out and then lets Maggie have it.  He just lays into her and screams at her.  She deserves every word.

“You don’t get to know that, Maggie. He doesn't want you to know. So you need to figure your shit out pronto, because I’m sorry for what happened to you, but I will not let my friend go back down that road. I swear he was on a death mission once you left, and then he lost his family. No f***ing way. Not again, Maggie. Do you hear me?” he screamed.

Once in New York they start to have sex but she feels guilty (sanity returning?)But she’s still not picking one of them.  Her brother calls her and tells her Luke went Ballistic that she actually left.  He took an entire bottle of Xanax and they found him unconscious in his bed.  Her brother is begging her to come home.  Is she willing to get back on a plane for him?  Apparently not since she asks him what he’d like her to do since her plane doesn't leave for a few more days.  Decision made I guess.  Gah I’m so freakin mad!!

She does end up getting the next flight home…sorry for the rant above.  Naturally Max realizes something isn't right so he asks her point blank if there is something he needs to know.  Does she fess up and tell him, solving all problems?  I mean jeez Luke almost killed himself because she left.  No of course she doesn’t tell him.  When she gets home she goes straight to him and curls up on the couch with him.

He’s decided that if she really wants Max then he’s going to let her go.  Nothing good ever comes from a decision like that…

It’s been 2 weeks since New York and her fight with Max.  She hasn't heard from him.  This is a book though so we know he’s not out of the picture.  As time has gone on without him she’s begun to realize that he just filled a role in her life.  She never actually loved him. 

Weeks pass and they get into a somewhat weird routine.  Luke ends up having to sleep with her one night.  He’s tired of fighting, he just wants what’s already his so he pulls her to him and kisses her.  They end up having sex and it’s sweet and gentle.  Waking up the next morning was different than the last time.  She didn't try to run and when he asked her if she was his she told him she loved him and it had always been him.  She’s finally happy and now he’s finally happy.  It’s about stinkin time!!

The first two weeks were perfect.  But like all things, there’s got to be an issue.  Late one night while Luke is at work, Max shows up on her doorstep.  This guy just won’t leave!  Seriously, move on dude!  Luke hasn't been able to spend a lot of time with her because he’s been working a lot so he just happens to get off early that night so he can spend time with her and catches them in the house.  They aren't doing anything and she actually just finished telling Max that she is in love with Luke and they are back together.  I’m not sure why but they are in her bedroom talking and that’s where he finds them and now he’s upset.  Max wants to know why she didn't stay with him, and Luke wants to know why she left to begin with.

She was pregnant with Luke’s baby.  She didn't want to hold him back from his dreams so she took off.  Stupid girl!  Luke goes crazy but then calms down when she explains.  He hugs her and kisses her and then leaves.  He packs his stuff and takes off.  She begs him to stay but he doesn't and when he walks out he doesn't bother to look back.

He drives and ends up in New York talking to Max.  That’s the last place I would have thought he would end up.  Max gives it to him straight though.  He tells him he loved her but she never loved him back.  He tells Luke to go home, back to Maggie and back to his future.  When he gets home 8 days later, she’s gone.  Their bedroom has turned back into his bedroom.  All that’s left is a picture of them when they were together the first time.  He has been home awhile and still hasn't faced her.  He knows he needs to but can’t bring himself to do it.  She knows he’s back but she hasn't come around either. 

The next time he sees her he’s with a friend and a girl from the bar who wants more from him.  She starts to walk up to him but stops when she realizes he’s with someone.  He’s forgiven her for the lies but he’s ready to move on…without her.  After he gets home he sits on his bed looking at the picture of them and finally just let’s go.  He’s tired of fighting it, he loves her, he’s never going to get over her, and he wants her.  He texts her and says he misses her, when she replies back that she misses him too he tells her to come home to him. 

“I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” 
  “Then come home to me. I want to put my arms around you. I want to feel your body next to mine. I want to pretend like neither one of us f***ed it all up. I need to know if you’re still mine.” 
“Who was that girl today?” 
“Nobody you ever need to worry about again. I need you, Blue!”
 “I’ll be there in 15.”

She comes to his apartment and they make up.  It’s time for a clean slate.  They are moving in together without the other roommates and starting their forever. 

Epilogue…1 year later

They are officially in their own apartment and she has her degree.  He has a great job at a brokerage firm.  It’s a special night and they are going to dinner to celebrate her degree, but both have a surprise for each other.  Once they get there she tells him she’s pregnant.  Then he tells her that he has a surprise to and asks her to marry him.  He also tells her he’s giving her her dream and she will get the bakery she’s always wanted.

I liked this one.  It wasn't the best I've ever read but it wasn't the worst either.  It’s just a light read with a little angst thrown in.  I’m giving it 4 stars because she drove me crazy not being able to make a decision.  If you’re looking for a 2nd chance at love story than this book is for you!

My Luke/Maggie


Favorite Quotes…

“…I can’t live without you. You’re the air that I breathe. You’re the beat to my heart. You’re the smile on my lips. You are everything to me. You always have been.”