This is a sweet second-chance romance between two old friends with a unique connection. Harmony and Brendon were friends growing up. He was best friends with her beloved husband, who was killed in a tragic accident, leaving Harmony widowed at the age of twenty five. Brendon witnessed his friend’s death and lives daily with the acute loss. Harmony was devastated and seeing one another hurt so they fell out of touch intentionally despite their longtime friendship.
The recent death of another close friend reunited their group of childhood friends as adults so the two have reconnected. Not a day goes by that Harmony doesn’t grieve Moyer, but she has to keep living so she forces herself to begin dating again. Each date is worse than the last but she soon realizes Brendon is the friend she rehashes these horror-stories with, not her girlfriends. They truly have a special bond but she can’t even consider being more than friends with him because it seems so wrong.
Brendon already had a lot of scars from his nightmare childhood and watching his friend die was a trauma that’s magnified in the face of his PTSD and OCD. He lives with a heavy burden and Harmony is the best thing in his life but even the thought of being closer to her fills him with self-loathing. This is his best friend’s wife, after all. The best friend he might have saved if he’d been paying attention. Brendon’s guilt is so strong that it nearly paralyzes him.
This is a slow-burn romance with a HEA thankfully, because it’s a sad story. There’s less action and more internal dialogue from the main characters than most but it works. The author really brings them to life and lets us feel their emotions in many ways. I was pleasantly surprised since I worried at first this book was a real downer but I enjoyed it very much. This was my first book from Carrie Ann Ryan but I’ll definitely check out more of her catalogue.
Shouldn’t Have You on Amazon
Shouldn’t Have You
by Carrie Ann Ryan
Fractured Connections book 2
Harmony Wynham has been many things in her life: daughter, friend, student, lover, wife . . . and now, widow. Getting past those labels and finding who she could be without them was the hardest thing she’s ever done.
Then she became friends with Brendon.
Every time she looks at him, she sees a past, she sees a present, and she’s afraid if she looks too hard, she’ll see a future.
Brendon Connolly has known Harmony since before she got married. Before she lost everything. He didn’t know that one day she wouldn’t be just his friend but the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
Only he don’t think that can happen.
Not when every time she looks at him, she sees what she lost, and he can only see what he can’t overcome.
He loves her, even though he shouldn’t. Somehow, they need to find a balance.
Because if they don’t, walking away will be the hardest thing she’s ever done—even if it’s the only thing he should do.