Always My Girl
This is the third in the author’s Shaughnessy Brothers series. I enjoyed the previous entry, Love Walks In, and began looking for the next as soon as I finished reading it. This time we have a friends-to-lovers story, in which seemingly everyone but our hero knows that the heroine has been in love with him for years. It took me a while to warm to him, but despite a few problems, this was an enjoyable read and another in the series I can recommend.
It was clear in Love Walks In that Anna Hannigan was in love with Quinn Shaughnessy, and that Quinn was completely oblivious to her interest. Quinn and Anna met when they were six. Quinn didn’t want to have anything to do with a girl, but tomboy Anna quickly won him over.
Quinn still views Anna as his best friend; they’re both athletic and compete in a variety of sports and activities. But Anna’s been in love with Quinn since they were children. In her mind he’s her soul mate, which makes it unbearable for Anna to watch Quinn go from one woman to another.
Anna wants to be married, and wants to have children; she realizes it’s never going to happen with Quinn, so has recently made a number of major changes in her life to try and meet someone new. She’s quit her job cooking in the local pub, which she loved, and is now selling real estate. She used to wear jeans and tee-shirts on a daily basis, and now sheds her tomboy image and wears skirts and dresses, even though she’s not really comfortable in her new clothes and longs for her old ones.
Quinn is uncomfortable with Anna’s changes. When he sees her in a skimpy bikini by the pool at a wedding weekend, at first he doesn’t even recognize her and thinks she’s someone to hit on (despite having been going swimming with her for years). When he realizes it’s Anna, his buddy, he demands she puts on clothes, and then runs away. It takes Quinn seeing the aftereffects of Anna’s disastrous date with one of his acquaintances before things begin to change in their relationship.
I can’t begin to say how many romances I’ve read in which friends turn to lovers, or a notorious player suddenly falls for a woman. But sometimes, I have lingering questions, wondering how the two former friends – or the player and the “good woman” – adapt. Is their HEA really quite as easy as the romance makes it seem? What I love here is that Ms. Chase takes an interesting twist on these themes. Anna and Quinn get together as lovers well before the half-way point of the story. But the remainder of the book focuses on some of the difficulties they face in their relationship, particularly when everyone – family and friends – indicates that Anna may well deserve better than Quinn. I found the second half of the book particularly interesting, as both Anna and Quinn struggle with their new relationship.
I’ll admit Quinn isn’t the Shaughnessy brother I found most intriguing in the previous book; I can’t wait for the books featuring the geeky scientist and rock star brothers. Quinn came across as bit of a player and a bit oblivious in the previous book, and that’s definitely continued here. I also wasn’t particularly interested to read Anna’s story, as I felt she’d been waiting for Quinn for too long Quinn. What I loved here is getting more insights into Anna’s behaviors, and watching as she actively tries to get the future she wants. Without a doubt both characters show tremendous growth over the course of the book, and thanks to the author’s treatment of their conversion from friends to lovers, I had complete faith in their happily-ever-after.