Author: Melanie Dawn
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
Date of Publication: February 26, 2014
Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Stars
Chris King never saw it coming…
In some ways, closing the book on my first love was the worst day of life. I was gutted, and yet I was completely at peace with my decision. I walked away knowing that I did what was best for her, unsure if I could ever recover.
Little did I know that one concert would change the entire course of my life.
There I stood, signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans when a familiar face in the crowd catapulted my mind back in time—Salem Honeycutt, once a balm to my pain and a calm in my storm. Yet again, her smiling face gave me hope.
Only one question remained: did she still see me as a wayward teenage boy who was completely off limits, or could she see the man I’d become…focused and driven, yearning for another chance at love?
For Salem Honeycutt, postpartum bliss seemed like a lie…
No one told me that I’d hate my baby when I brought her home from the hospital. No one told me that I’d want to put a pillow over my husband’s head and smother him in his sleep. No one told me that I’d want to slap every person who gave me the ever-so-cliché advice to ‘cherish every moment.’ No one told me that I’d despise my life the minute I became a mother, but I did.
Then I met Chris King, the kid who made me want to pull myself up from the dark recesses of my mind and face each day. This kid, whose passion for life and talent for music, touched my soul deeper than I could ever touch his. Chris gave me a reason to live.
I was once affectionately known as Mrs. H., Chris’s juvenile detention counselor.
This is our story.
I have to say up front…..in this second book of her So Much It Hurts series, author Melanie Dawn has created one of the sweetest male fictional characters I’ve ever met! Chris King is introduced in the first book of the series, So Much It Hurts, when fate reunites him with Kaitlyn, the girl who remembers him as her salvation from a devastating high school experience. In Then There Was You, Chris is reunited with another woman from his past, Salem, his counselor from Juvenile Detention whom he remembers as being his salvation.
I would never forget this woman who picked up the pieces of my shattered heart and helped me mend them back together one piece at a time. She encouraged me to go after my dreams, sat by me in my darkest moments, and was there for me when I needed someone the most. I loved her for everything she was to me…”I believe in you, Chris,” she whispered against my chest.
The beginning of the book is a flashback to the period when Salem, a counselor at Fairbanks Juvenile Detention Center has her first encounter with Chris….a 17 year old bad boy and repeat offender. This time around he’s being detained for assaulting a classmate who attacked his girlfriend Kaitlyn. As a 24 year old fresh-out-of-college counselor and new mom, Salem’s plate is very full. She loves her work and feels very strongly that she is making a difference in the lives of the young men she counsels, but at home she is dealing with a colicky baby and a non-supportive husband while she silently shoulders the cumbersome weight of postpartum depression. Fourteen years later Chris and Salem meet again. Chris is living his dream as a rock star and Salem has moved forward from her bad marriage to life as a single mom. When Salem treats Alexis, her teenage daughter, and two friends to concert tickets, the girls are overawed to find Salem has a connection to their favorite rocker, especially when he singles the group out for personal attention .
I observed Chris from a distance as he interacted with all of his adoring fans, young and old. . . He took time to take pictures and talk to everyone, never making anyone feel rushed. He was sweet, funny, and at times, a little goofy. My heart smiled at the thought of the man he had grown into — the man he had always aspired to be.
As a new and very adult relationship grows between Chris and Salem, they find there are obstacles to be overcome. Chris is a chick magnet who spends a lot of time on the road and has no privacy, while Salem is an older woman who must deal with the inevitable questions that arise from her ex-husband and the public about the appropriateness of their relationship when she was Chris’s counselor.
He’s amazing, but he’s not mine. He belongs to everyone else…the greedy, clamoring, screaming fans who have no idea that behind that guitar and that spectacular voice, there is more than just a sexy man. There is an honorable man with a heart of gold who would give the shirt off his back for anyone. A strong man who has overcome obstacles in his life that nearly broke his spirit, but who walks tall with a beautiful, perfectly flawed soul — the one soul that very likely holds the key to my heart.
In addition to writing a compelling love story, author Melanie Dawn has dealt with the subject of postpartum depression, a condition that frequently strikes vulnerable new mothers at a time in their lives when they feel they should be the happiest. Having spent my career as an OB nurse, I commend Melanie for her sensitive and accurate portrayal of this condition which is so often misunderstood by friends and family. Then There Was You can definitely be read as a standalone book although I think most readers will certainly want to read the first book with Chris’s and Kaitlyn’s story after reading this one. I know I do! For steam lovers, there is plenty of steam. For romantics, there is so much sweetness. And for those who demand a HEA, you will only be disappointed because the story is complete!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book directly from the author. I was not paid to read or review this book. All opinions are y own, and I was never influenced by anything or anyone.
About the Author
Melanie Dawn is a thinker, a dreamer, and a hopeless romantic. When her head isn’t in the clouds, she spends her time as a jack of all trades to her family. Melanie resides in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, her three children, and her cat. She enjoys lazy summer afternoons cruising around the lake on the pontoon boat with her family.
Melanie graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and earned her MA in School Counseling from Appalachian State University. She spent the first six years after graduate school as a middle school counselor. Those were years she deems as some of the best years of her life. That is, until she had children of her own. The last seven years have been spent as a stay-at-home mom. She has learned some tough life lessons, like what the inner absorbent pellets of a diaper look like scattered in the washing machine. She has also learned the strength of the willpower of a two year old lacking a nap. Through it all, Melanie has learned how to roll with the punches and appreciate the time she has been able to spend at home with her children.
Now that her last child has started Kindergarten, Melanie is ready to add a new chapter in her life.