The Christmas He Loved Her
(Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #2)
by Juliana Stone
Kindle edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks
ARC Courtesy of NetGalley
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All he wants this Christmas is her.
In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it’s also time to come home and face his past. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother’s widow, Raine.
Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can’t imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother’s sudden death. Now he’s back and she doesn’t know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.
Crystal L's Thoughts:
The Christmas He Loved Her picks up a year and a half after The Summer He Came Home (if you click on the title you can see the review of the first book). In the year and a half since Jake Edwards left the small town of Crystal Lake, and his deceased brother's widow Raine behind, life has gone on. His parents have continued their emotional journey of learning to live life without their son. His friends of kept themselves busy. Raine, however, fell behind. Of course, Jake has no idea that Raine is in such bad shape because he hasn't spoken to her since their fight before he left. After their secretive one night stand he said some harsh things about Raine's wish to have Jesse's child.
Raine has fallen into a deep depression. She's now barely functioning in her life. There was a time when she didn't think anything could hurt more than losing her husband Jesse, but in the year and a half since Jake left Crystal Lake, she's discovered she was wrong. After enduring an incredible loss that she lets no one know about, she struggles to do the basic things in life. Such as eat. Or care about anything else other than lying in her bed.
When Jake comes home she's torn between being happy that he's finally back and wanting to let loose her rage and pain on him. Their relationship is in a precarious state and she's not sure it can ever be fixed, even if she does want him in her life. Both Raine and Jake struggle with their feelings for each other. Does the fact that they both want the other diminish what Jesse meant to them? Jake thinks it would be a slap in the face to his brother's memory.
Jake faces more than his internal struggles over his feelings and the loss of his twin. He lives with a healthy dose of PTSD. The battle that his brother died in haunts his dreams and often finds himself burning the midnight oil in the gym to offset his inability to sleep. Jake's warring emotions are ripping him apart from the inside out. Between that, and his guilt over leaving Raine behind for her to fall into this precarious state, he thinks that not much else could go wrong.
His Mother wades into his personal life and throws it for a loop. When Jake brings home a friend, who happens to be a woman, his Mother thinks it's time for match making. And who better to enlist to help her than Raine? This book was such a wonderful combination between inner turmoil for both characters, a heartbreaking secret, and meddlesome friends and family members. I adored this story and think it was a wonderful addition to this already fantastic series. Definitely an emotional roller coaster. 5 Wine Glasses!