Series: Ribbon Ridge #6
Published by Avon Impulse
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ B&N ♥ Kobo
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
USA Today bestseller Darcy Burke concludes her Archer family saga with a second chance at first love…
Everyone thought college sweethearts Bex Holmgren and Hayden Archer were headed for the altar… until a tragic accident sent young Bex running from a future she wasn’t ready to claim. But when she’s offered her dream job at Archer Brewing, Bex can’t pass up the chance to reconnect with the big, crazy family that once welcomed her with open arms—and the one man she’s never stopped loving.
When he returns home after a year in France, Hayden is less than thrilled to find his ex-girlfriend working for his family’s company. He’s finally moved on, and being around her rekindles long-buried feelings he’d rather ignore. But Bex isn’t the same girl he knew—she’s more mature, more beautiful, more tempting than ever—and he can’t resist the pull of the intense passion he’s only ever shared with her.
I have been looking forward to Hayden and Bex’s story since they were first mentioned and it’s so much more than I expected. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride, as Bex and Hayden finally face their past losses, deal with old hurts and fears, and fight for their second chance.
Hayden and Bex were college sweethearts and all but married, when circumstances conspired to break them up. It’s been five years since they went their separate ways and they are back in Ribbon Ridge at the same time again, with Bex working for and temporarily living with Hayden’s family.
Hayden always felt like the outsider in his family and was stuck in Ribbon Ridge holding down the fort when everyone else left to find themselves. He got his chance to leave too after his brother’s death, but once again feels like the outsider after being away for a couple of years. The family that needed him to hold it together before does not seem to need him anymore, he’s at a crossroads career-wise and Bex’s re-appearance in his life awakens all the feelings he thought he had dealt with after their break up.
Bex knew that she had lost her chance with Hayden when she broke his heart five years ago, but she thought that enough time had passed that she could return to Ribbon Ridge. Hayden’s unexpected return forces her to deal with unresolved feelings from the past and a realization that she never got over him. Will she be bold enough to fight for a second chance with him or will she walk away again?
This story was poignant in so many ways. Hayden had to deal with so many feelings coming at him from all directions at the same time: his guilt and hurt over his brother’s death and his inability to do anything to stop it, his feelings of inadequacy within his family, his pain from the break up with Bex and everything that happened between them; but at the heart of it was the fact that he cared a lot, maybe too much.
Hayden and Bex clearly were perfect for each other, but they had to decide if they were willing to fight for each other and having to deal with this in the midst of Hayden’s overwhelming and well-meaning but intrusive family was very daunting.
The bond among the Archer family is one of the best things about this story, but I liked that Hayden was able to find a dream that was all his with his new venture.
I love this series and I think that YOU’RE STILL THE ONE is a fitting end to the series.
“So when do we get to taste your beer?”
She almost wanted to steer the conversation back to him, but she was the last person to press someone to reveal emotions. “The first batches should be ready Monday. One’s a loganberry ale.”
“Sounds great. What’re you calling it?”
“I asked Evan for suggestions. He came up with Legolas. Because he’s an archer, and it sounds kind of like loganberry.”
Hayden laughed. “And it’s from his favorite book and movie series of all time.”
She grinned. “True, but I still like it.”
“I like it, too.”
“The other’s an IPA, but it doesn’t have a name yet.” She’d thought of a few, but nothing had stuck. “I designed it with hints of pine and spice. We’ll see how it turns out.”
“How about calling it Hot Prick?”
This time her stumble was much bigger, and he had to reach out and grab her. She laughed hard. “Are you serious?”
His eyes glinted with mirth. “Hey, we get away with calling our stout Shaft.”
“True, but Hot Prick is maybe a little over the top. How about Spice Whirl?”
He laughed. “As in the Spice Girls movie? That’s lame.”
He was right, but she pretended to be offended anyway and failed miserably as she laughed with him. “Hey, I loved that movie when it came out.”
“So did my sisters. But I doubt that’s your audience. I’m still voting for Hot Prick. Or how about Zestactular?”
She narrowed her eyes, still laughing. “That’s ridiculous.”
“It’s better than Spice Whirl.”
“I think you’re right. Hot Prick is better. Why don’t I just go with a dirty theme? Instead of Legolas, I’ll call that one Twig and Berries.”
It was his turn to burst out laughing. “Brilliant. You need a honey beer that you can call Sweet Lick.”
She dabbed at her eye as her laughter continued. “You’re terrible. What about one I can call Goldenrod? It’ll be a wheat beer.”
He laughed with her, bending at the waist. “Pink Lips. Something with cherries. Better yet, Pop My Cherry.”
She gulped air. “Hey, when I was in Eugene I got away with naming one Beaver Beater.”
He stopped, his hand catching hers so she stopped, too. He laughed harder. “You didn’t. No, of course you did. Those Duck-loving assholes.”
She loved that he was touching her. “They especially loved it since I was a Beaver. They thought it was a funny joke, and that I was just being a good sport. I laughed the entire time.”
“Come on, they got the double entendre, right?”
“Of course they did, but since it was a Beaver slam, they didn’t care.”
He took a deep breath as he wiped his eye, unfortunately letting go of her hand in the process. “This is kind of turning me on.”