After the Rain: A Novel

After the Rain: A Novel

by Renee Carlino

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Overview

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

When eighteen-year-old Avelina Belo meets a charismatic cowboy the summer before her senior year of high school, she doesn’t know that accepting his invitation to dinner will lead to a whirlwind marriage three months later and an exciting new life on a Montana ranch. She also doesn’t know that, in a few short years, fate will send everything crashing down around her.

A thousand miles away and fresh out of medical school, Nate Meyers is poised to become UCLA’s next superstar heart surgeon. His laser focus is the key to his success, but it’s also his greatest liability. When a routine surgery ends in disaster, derailing his career, he’s confronted with the hard truth: there’s no one waiting for him at home, no one to help him pick up the pieces.

Regrouping on his uncle’s Montana ranch, Nate meets Avelina, a beautiful but mysterious young woman who keeps to herself and barely speaks a word. As he discovers the details of her devastating past, Avelina teaches him more about matters of the heart than he ever knew before. But can they trust each other enough to put everything on the line?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476763996
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 11/11/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 434,026
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and the bestselling author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, Before We Were Strangers, Swear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here. She grew up in Southern California and lives in the San Diego area with her husband and two sons. To learn more, visit ReneeCarlino.com.

Read an Excerpt

After the Rain


CHAPTER 2

Regimented Exercise

Nathanial

SPRING 2005

Flying up and down the rows of a crowded parking lot while my mother screamed in the backseat was not how I pictured the day I would officially become a doctor. My dad, in his token Hawaiian-print dress shirt, sat in the passenger seat, calm as ever, while I anxiously sped up and slowed down, periodically glancing at the clock on the dash. I had ten minutes to be in my seat before the ceremony started. There were no open parking spaces—the lot was littered with graduates hurrying along in their green and black gowns while my dad sat there humming “Yesterday” by the Beatles.

“I’m gonna be late. Shit! I’m gonna be late.”

“Christ, Nathanial, you’re going to kill somebody. Calm down!” my mother shouted.

“Mom, please, you’re not helping. And Dad, quit with the fucking humming.”

“Nathanial, are you really going to call yourself a doctor and use that kind of language?” I looked into the rearview mirror to see my peeved mother with her arms crossed, smirking at me.

“Oh that doesn’t matter, Elaine.” My dad finally awoke from his nostalgic daze. “Our boy here needs to choose his battles. First he needs to find a parking space in this godforsaken hellhole they call a university.”

I zipped through a group of pedestrians and spotted an open space on the other side. When I hit the gas, I could hear my mother whining under her breath.

“Dad, how can you say that about your alma mater and the very hospital you practice in?”

“Times have changed, Nate. That’s all I’m saying.” He stared out the window and went back to humming “Yesterday.”

Graduation day is a turning point for so many, but for me it was just the next box to check off as I followed obediently in my father’s footsteps. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is a challenge for most, even if your dad is the head of cardiothoracic surgery, but for me medical school was a breeze. It was a party. Half of my courses consisted of a professor spewing information that had been planted in me and nurtured from the time I was able to speak. Courses in anatomy were like reciting the alphabet. The brachiocephalic veins are connected to the superior vena cava. The superior vena cava is connected to the right atrium. The right atrium is separated from the left ventricle by the atrioventricular septum. I knew these things not because my dad was a doctor but because my dad was the most passionate and revered cardiothoracic surgeon in all of Los Angeles. Even with his offbeat and sometimes risky methods, my dad was considered, within the large community of surgeons throughout the country, as the very best in his field.

The three of us jumped out of my beat-up Nissan Altima and started booking it toward the sound of the MC already beginning his speech. I scurried along, carrying my cap in one hand and car keys and cell phone in the other.

“Wait!” my mother yelled. I turned to find her standing at the edge of the parking lot with her hand on the hip of her black pantsuit.

“What is it, Mom?”

“Come on, Elaine,” my father barked.

“Wait, just wait, goddammit!” My mother never cursed. “Come here, Nathanial.” She was a petite woman with childlike features, a black pixie hairdo, and the tiniest elfin nose. Most of the time her timorous posture and gentle smile made her seem soft. I had towered over her five-foot-three frame since I was twelve years old but all she had to do was jerk her head up at me and her glare alone was as powerful as any weapon. My mother was a fearless force to be reckoned with. You know how they say behind every great man there’s a great woman? My mother would say, No, the woman is three steps ahead.

Even though she stood behind my father and me that day, she was three steps ahead of us, and by all accounts, in charge of the situation. I looked down at my feet and back to her face and saw her expression change from anger to pride.

I walked toward her. She stood up on her tippy-toes and cupped my face.

“You’re my only child. This is the only time I will get to have this moment. Before you walk up on that stage and officially become an MD, I want you to know that I’m proud of you. Even if you take all of this away—the white coat, the degrees—even if you take it all away, that doesn’t matter because I’m proud of who you are in here.” She poked me solidly in the chest, over my heart, and then she grabbed my cell phone from my hand. “And no cell phones today. I’ve already confiscated your father’s.”

I grinned at her and she winked. “Thanks, Mom. I love you.” I leaned down and kissed her cheek.

“I love you, too, and you know if this doctor thing doesn’t pan out I still think you’d make a great model.”

“I think that ship has sailed, Elaine,” my father chimed in.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that my father had pushed me to become a doctor because he didn’t—at least not overtly. I had wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps from the very beginning. But ever since I was a child, he had very carefully nudged me in the specific direction of heart surgery by basically discounting every other profession in the world. He would say, “Son, what’s more important than keeping people’s hearts beating?”

I thought I was so clever that once I had said, “What good is a beating heart without a functioning brain?”

He had, of course, very quickly replied, “It’s as good as any beating heart. The important thing to note is that you can keep even a nonfunctioning brain alive as long as you have a beating heart. Doesn’t work the other way around, does it?”

There had been about five minutes in my junior year of undergrad, when I had come home after reading about the use of power tools in orthopedic surgery, during which I had said to my father, “I think orthopedics is going to be my thing, Dad.” The next day he had brought home a trunk full of items from Home Depot and one extra-large cow femur bone. He then ran the cow bone over with his car in the driveway until it splintered, cracked, and broke in several places, and then he gave me a bag of tiny screws and bolts and a cordless drill.

“Have at it, kid.”

I had spent sixteen hours straight in the garage without so much as a drink of water. By the time I had finished, I was exhausted and thoroughly spent but proud of the fully assembled cow bone, which I paraded through the house. My mother was mortified and told my father he had created a monster. He just laughed from the couch, hollering back to me, “Looks pretty, but will it support sixteen hundred pounds?”

As I studied the bone in my hands, I became frighteningly aware that I knew nothing about orthopedics. I had spent the better part of an entire day meticulously planning and assembling an insanely complicated puzzle only to learn that the purpose of the surgery had nothing to do with how the bone looked but how the bone would function. Moments after that realization, I had another one, almost instantaneously: I didn’t care at all about how bones worked. Orthopedics was not my passion. Sure, I understood the importance of learning the basics in biology, anatomy and physiology, and general medicine, but I had been dreaming about doing heart surgery. In my dreams I would travel inside the heart. I lived in it and inspected every detail in each chamber like the parts were individual rooms. I had become obsessed with the heart and its physical functions. Even now, the only broken hearts I was interested in were ones that required surgery.

Darting between aisles and chairs, I found my seat next to Olivia Green, my lab partner through most of medical school. She had a fiery personality to go with a shock of red hair she often wound into a thick braid over her shoulder. To many of our classmates, Olivia seemed socially awkward because of her literal interpretation of just about everything. She had a certain candor about her, which I liked because occasionally we used each other for other things and she never gave me any emotional bullshit.

“You’re late. You missed the walk up.”

“I noticed. I was trapped in the parking lot.”

“Trapped by who?” she whispered in a concerned voice.

My best friend, Frankie, was sitting on the other side of Olivia. He leaned in, shot me a look, and laughed. “Nate meant the parking lot was busy, Olivia.”

“Oh,” Olivia said. Frankie shook his head and then whispered across to me, “And she’s going to be performing heart surgery? That’s a scary thought.”

“Shut up, Frankie,” she said, elbowing him in the side. Frankie and Olivia just barely got along, and I think it was for my sake. Olivia was going to make a better doctor than both of us combined, and I think that got under Frankie’s skin.

The MC, Rod Lohan, who was also a friend and colleague of my father’s, began his speech. He announced the new physicians of the class of 2005, and before I knew it I was being called up to the stage.

“Nathanial Ethan Meyers.”

I thought that would be the last time I would hear my full name without the word “doctor” in front of it, like the rest of my life would be defined completely by my profession.

As I approached Dr. Lohan, whom I’d respected most of my life, I saw a glimmer in his eye. He was proud. I turned and searched for my mother and father in the crowd and found them looking up at me the same way. The long years of hard work paid off in that moment, but just as Dr. Lohan placed the graduation hood on my shoulders, I realized that my work had only just begun.

After the ceremony, I had dinner with my parents and then met Olivia, Frankie, and a few other rowdy med school grads for drinks. We went to McNally’s, a local Irish pub. A man played the guitar and sang traditional pub songs from a tiny stage in the back. Between verses he would shout, “Chug it back, lads!”

I shook my head and wondered how I had been talked into going to a place like this. Olivia sat there bored, nursing a tiny cocktail, while Frankie, the social butterfly, made his rounds through the crowd.

“I’ll just have a water,” I said to the bartender.

“What’s the matter with you, bro? You’re not gonna have a celebratory drink?” Frankie shouted from halfway down the bar.

Olivia looked up at me, shaking her head. “Doesn’t he know you don’t drink?”

I shrugged. “Whatever, he’s just having fun.”

“He’s an imbecile.” She had no expression on her face.

I tugged on her braid. “Now, now, doc. Don’t get all hot.”

By then Frankie had walked up. “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Boring. Don’t you two have some medical journals to be studying?” Olivia rolled her eyes.

“Actually, I do need to split, Frankie.” I gave him an apologetic look.

“I’m outta here,” Olivia mumbled.

“How about lunch tomorrow?” he asked me as I helped Olivia down from the stool.

“You got it.” Frankie was a good and loyal friend but he could be obnoxious, so I understood Olivia’s lack of patience with him.

I held the door open as Olivia and I headed out onto the street.

“I’ll walk you home,” I said to her. Her apartment was about four blocks from where we were and mine was six blocks in the other direction, but I knew she’d invite me in.

“Why are you staying in L.A. for your residency? I don’t get it,” she said as we walked briskly, shoulder to shoulder, down the sidewalk.

“Not everyone gets the privilege of doing their residency at Stanford.” I bumped my shoulder against hers in a teasing gesture.

“You would have been accepted but you didn’t even try.”

“What’s your point, Olivia?”

“I don’t know. It seems like you’re sticking around here because of your father.”

I could feel the heat spreading across my face. I clenched my jaw, stopped in my tracks, grabbed her shoulders, and turned her so she was facing me. Her large, dark eyes and freckles made her look younger but her lips were always pursed in an act of scrutiny, which sometimes made her look older. “My father has nothing to do with it. And I haven’t been given special treatment, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

She shrugged and one skinny eyebrow darted up. “Okay, whatever you say.”

“You know how hard I’ve worked. It has nothing to do with him. I’m not going to live in his shadow. I can be a better surgeon. It’s what I was born to do and I want to do it here. I like L.A. I’ve been here my whole life. I don’t need to be distracted in a new place.”

She turned and walked away, calling back, “I get it, Nate. You don’t have to walk me the rest of the way. I’m fine. Good night.”

I watched her walk down the block to the front of her building before I started jogging toward her. “Wait up, ­Olivia.”

She held the door to the lobby open. “What’s up?”

I hesitated. “Can . . . can I come in?” I smiled just enough to let her know I wasn’t mad at her.

She laughed once and then motioned with her hand for me to walk through the door. Once we were alone inside the elevator, I pinned her against the wall and kissed her. Her hair always smelled like tea tree oil. It was kind of a turnoff and I think she knew that. Like me, she wasn’t looking for someone to distract her. I tried not to breathe through my nose. She kissed me back, hard and demanding, and then began tugging at my belt. There was nothing warm or romantic about her.

“Hold on,” I whispered. “Not in here.”

When the elevator doors opened she grabbed my hand and pulled me down the hallway. “Hurry,” she said. “I want to be in bed by nine.”

“I’m getting you into bed right now.”

Unlocking the door to her apartment, she turned and looked at me. Her nose was scrunched up in revulsion. “I don’t want to do it in my bed, Nate.”

We had never had sex lying down. I think, in Olivia’s mind, that was too intimate. It was a miracle I could even get excited enough to be with her. She was gorgeous, but sex with Olivia was like a regimented exercise that was exactly the same every time. She told me where to put my hands and how to move and I would basically follow her directions, close my eyes, and pretend for a few moments that we weren’t just using each other night after night. It wasn’t that I wanted to find love, though. I didn’t have time for a relationship, so my arrangement with Olivia was perfect. It was just hard to overlook her cold nature sometimes.

“Over here.” She moved toward the small dining table in her kitchen. With her back to me, she pulled her tights and panties down to her ankles, lifted her skirt, and looked over her shoulder. “Come on.” She smiled playfully.

I fucked Olivia like that all the time, against a table with most of my clothes on. When I bent her over farther, I ran my hand up her back, inside of her shirt, and moved my other hand to her front. We were about ten minutes in before she came loudly, screaming, “Oh fuck!”

I finished twelve seconds later and five minutes after that I was back in the elevator heading home.

Olivia was leaving the following week to go to Stanford. I didn’t know if I would ever see her again, but sadly the thought didn’t bother me. It truly felt like the beginning of my life, and all I could think about was becoming the best heart surgeon in the country.

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After the Rain 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
MCOABW More than 1 year ago
To be completely honest with you all, I was a blubbering mess less than 20% into reading this book. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but one thing I am certain of is that Renée Carlino has solidified her place on my list of favorite authors. I absolutely loved this book. I devoured it in a matter of hours. I laughed, I cried, I swooned and I repeat. After the Rain is a tragic and beautiful story about love, loss and redemption. It will take you on an emotional, often insightful journey. Renée Carlino writes beautifully. There is a depth to her characters that will leave you spellbound and utterly hopeful. She captures the voices of two shattered people who have lost their way and are trying to navigate the waters of life. Her delivery is absolutely flawless. Avelina Belo has met unthinkable tragedies in her life. For someone so young her demons are heavy and have utterly dragged her into an abyss. She’s grown up quickly and the load she carries is heavy. She often punishes herself for actions that are beyond her control. Avelina’s life has become nothing, but a series of repeated tasks. She closes herself off to everyone, creating a lonely existence. It isn’t until Nate’s world collides with her own that she begins to see a life beyond the pain. Nathaniel Meyer’s has had an easy and happy life for the most part. He’s followed in his father’s footsteps. After graduating medical school, he throws himself into his work focusing on becoming a great heart surgeon not realizing his confidence might be his greatest weakness. Nate’s desire to climb the ranks has left him lacking in areas that matter, like life experience, human contact and stopping to appreciate the world around him. After a disastrous day at work, Nate takes a much-needed break finding himself on the same ranch in Montana as Avelina. He’s curious about her and attempts to befriend her. Nate feels her turmoil almost instantaneously and aches to ease her pain, but how can he? She’s closed herself off to the world barely allowing anyone a glimpse into her life or her heart. Nate’s dealing with his own battles, but Avelina interests him and he doesn’t give up trying to break her from her shell. These two can’t begin to imagine the impact they will have on one another. Hearts get involved; things get complicated, but is there any way each can mend their heart and find happiness in a world full of pain? After the Rain< is an achingly beautiful story that is as unpredictable as it is gratifying. It will leave you guessing until the very last page. Avelina and Nate’s dual perspective gives this book a life of its own, one that you will step into, consume and cherish until the last page. I highly recommend this to all Contemporary Romance readers that like a deeply moving story with a dash of angst.
AlwaysYAatHeart1 More than 1 year ago
Tragic, heartbreaking, beautiful......In After the Rain, Renee Carlino takes you on a journey of love, loss, tragedy, heartbreaking, and finding joy once again.  Avelina Belo's life has been anything but easy.  She finds love, only to lose it and her own identity in the process.  Her story will make you weep, smile, and root for her to find joy once again.  Nate Myers has made work his focus in life, seeking his fulfillment in it and in living up to his father's image.  When a tragic event occurs he finds himself questioning everything and reevaluating his life, his goals, and his future.  Then he finds Avelina, and he finds love.  Love isn't always as easy as it seems, which is something they both discover, but finding out if their love will stand the test of time is the hardest thing both of them have to face.  My heart broke for Avenlina's character.  The things she had to face were so hard and I so wanted her to find joy in life once again.  Nate was great with Avenlina, but he had his own issues to overcome.  He was really good with Avelina for the most part, but he is still human and makes mistakes.  Their story is one that will grip you and keep you turning  the pages from beginning to end, well worth all the emotions experienced in between.  After the Rain is a great story fans of contemporary romance will love.
slarson0625 More than 1 year ago
After the Rain is the first book I have ever read by Renee Carlino and it will definitely not be my last. This is a very emotional story about love, loss and learning to let go and new beginnings. This book had me hooked from the very beginning and I loved how well the characters and story line were written Avelina, our heroine, meets a handsome cowboy named Jake and after only a few short months together they get married. They move to a ranch in Montana and start their new life together. A few years later a horrible tragedy occurs and Avelina is left to pick up the pieces. She doesn't deal well with the tragedy of losing her husband and she starts to shut everyone out of her life. Will she ever be able to move on from the tragic death of her husband and learn to let love back into her life? “Why do you want to be around me?”¿ “Because I like you.” Nate Myers is living the life he has always dreamed of. He has finally graduated college and is becoming a heart surgeon just like his father. He gets so wrapped up in his work he forgets to live. He eats, sleeps and breathes work. When a routine surgery goes wrong and he is faced with a possible malpractice suit he decides to go to his uncle's ranch in Montana to reevaluate his life. Will he realize that there is more to life than just work? When Nate arrives at his uncle's ranch he sees the most beautiful girl in the world, Avelina. She keeps to herself but he is very intriguing by her. She slowly starts to open up to Nate but tries she is afraid to love again after the tragedy with her husband. Nate is warned by everyone to stay away from her but there is something about her that keeps pulling him in. Will these two be able to get past all of their struggles and help each other heal? "No matter how devastating the storm may be, after the rain you’ll always find new life sprouting in the aftermath." I loved the connection between Avelina and Nate. They definitely had chemistry but they didn't instantly fall in love. They had many ups and downs throughout the story. This story was a very emotional journey to find love. Avelina was frustrating at times with her stubbornness and always pushing everyone away. I did feel bad for her though and understood some of the things she did.Nate was a very strong character and I loved that about him. He was very patient, strong and so understanding of the things Avelina needed. I absolutely loved the letters that he wrote to her. You will have to read this amazing story to figure out what I am talking about. This was a very well written novel and I highly recommend reading it!! Renee Carlino did an amazing job on this one!!
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
Wow. Talk about an emotional read! I was absolutely shattered for Avelina and heartbroken over everything she's gone through in her young life. She has endured tragedy no person should ever know and felt emotional pain and loss on a devastating scale. My heart ached for her loss of spirit and the life she had once adored. She has shut out the world and lives in her own type of isolation, not letting herself connect with anyone. "She existed in a grief-filled world that was off limits to the living." I have only read one other novel by Carlino and I have to say this has been my favorite thus far. The writing is beautiful and the emotions she evokes are both raw and moving at the same time. By delving into the past first, we get a much more powerful, intense story, thus having witnessed Ava and Nate's lives prior to meeting. While Ava's storyline is much more upsetting, Nate isn't really living life either. He has been dedicated to following in his father's footsteps and becoming the best heart surgeon there is. He doesn't have time for love. I love that Nate is a heart surgeon- day in and day out, he deals with literal matters of the heart, yet can't seem to get his own to truly beat and use it for anything else than purely staying alive. After a misdiagnosis and tragic accident, Nate's father suggests he take some time away from work, and sends him to a cattle ranch in Montana to help out his uncle. It is here he meets Ava, and she is like one of those wild, unbroken horses that runs free. However, Ava hasn't felt free in years. She has been weighed down by guilt- guilt she should NEVER have to feel, as what happened was not her fault. She is incredibly stubborn and Nate knows it will be no easy to task to bring her back to life. "Well, I suppose she needs to learn that there are as many ways to love as there are to die." Nate and Ava's relationship definitely has its ups and downs. Ava is extremely reluctant to trust or let herself feel again. Letting Nate assuage the guilt she carries is not something Ava does easily. It takes time and patience on his behalf. She needs him to not give up on her, but she really needs to face the down of demons of her past in order to move forward. Nate's grand gesture towards the end was such an awesome addition to the story. It was a bit bittersweet, but it showed his devotion to her and to their future together. Finally, the heart surgeon understands what it means to give your entire heart to someone and use it for love. If you're looking for a sexy, steamy read this isn't it. It's sexy and steamy at times, but emotion overcomes that, which I really liked. Watching Nate and Ava fall in love and realize just how much they needed one another in their lives was really beautiful and I would highly recommend this one if you're in the mood for a good, emotional love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such great book! Heartfelt and loving! You don't wanna miss out! Read it! This author never dissapoints!
UndercoverBookReviews More than 1 year ago
~Received For An Honest Review~ Get ready to go on an emotional journey of so much with this book! Make sure you have a box of tissue sitting right beside you. The feelings of the characters are so real feeling. You will feel as if you have escaped reality into their lives. What they have dealt with in the past and are trying to over come, what they are feeling now and hope for the future. An absolute amazing book!
LisaR0 More than 1 year ago
I have to rant and rave a bunch about After the Rain, like a bunch! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! This book had me eating the pages up. I tried pacing myself, but I just had to know what would be on the next page. But I did soak up the most important parts of this story, and I also relished in the feels. Like HOLY COW, the FEELS! They took my breath away, had my body covered in chills, and at times had me bawling like a little baby. Who would have thought, Author Renee Carlino could devastate yet mesmerize me?  Ladies and Gentlemen, Avelina is about to flip your world upside down! She is going to ambush your heart. She is going to tear you to shreds. She is going to melt you into little tiny pieces. And she is going to make you fall hard in love with her! Avelina rocks, my friends. I won't deny my passion and love for Mia (from Sweet Thing, if you're not sure whom I'm speaking of <3 ), but Avelina truly outshines her in spite, depth, and even her abrasiveness. To most this might seem like they're her weaknesses, but to me they are her strengths. She is very layered. She has many a reason to be layered, too. And by golly, I just love her so freaking much!  So now that you know that I am head over heels in love with Avelina, let me shed some light on her story. Avelina came from a happy home. She worked with her father and family members on her families cattle ranch. She was an avid rider of horses, to which she started barrel racing at rodeos. This was her passion and her joy. When she talks about this, you can feel the glee all the way to your bones. It is something truly meaningful and memorable to her. It is also, from what I believe, a release for her, after dire matters take place. While Avelina is due to perform at one of these rodeo races, she meets Jake and her whole world changes; in a matter of seconds.           Jake is truly a game changer for Avelina, and for me too. I fell for his smooth talking ways. But not only that, he has this charisma and charm about him; it just rolls off of him like waves in a bouncy sea. Jake is also apart of the rodeo circuit and this is also his passion. These two are seriously, two peas in a pod. Their relationship is full of love and desire. I truly loved their life together. They share a mutual completeness with the rodeo circuit. It is their life. And not just that, it fulfilled and made Avelina content in life. That was until tragedy struck....         This is when I truly felt like I was going to lose it. I did, actually, lose it. I was a mess; heaving, snot rolling down my face, big giant tears dropping faster than I could even imagine, and I was covered in chills. Words cannot describe the sadness that I was carrying on my heart. I was a wreck for many chapters after this devastation took place. This quote will make you understand what I felt. It's quotes like this that made the tragedy hurt so much more than I thought possible.          "Maybe our hearts could be broken by shattered love or tragedy."                Enter a man who will turn you into putty. Nate. This man, unlike Jake, completed me. They are night and day, but also are very passionate about their respective jobs. Nate is a Cardiac Surgeon. (Enter swoon here!) He is a complex character. All the more reason to love him, I say. Like I mentioned about me loving Avelina just as much as I loved Mia, Nate truly competes with Will Ryan's spot as my #1 BBF! Seriously guys. Seriously! This guy will make your insides shiver. Crazy, I know. But Nate made me weak in the knees. Ok enough about my obsession, I mean love for Nate.                         Nate and Avelina cross paths, after he takes a leave from work. ***SIGH!!*** My heart was a pounding mess. I didn't know if I should root for these two, or if I should just hope that they would eventually become friends. I was nervous. I didn't know if Avelina would even talk to Nate. I sensed a great deal of uncertainty on her part. Could she trust another man? Would she be able to be friends with Nate? Is there a chance these two could become a couple?                       Avelina and Nate surprised me. Truly, surprised me. They both are battling their own demons. And damnit if those demons aren't slowly killing each one of them; Avelina more than Nate, I felt. I so desperately wanted happiness. A completeness for Avelina and Nate. If anyone deserved to be happy, Avelina was it. Her life had been struck down by tragedy too many times to count, and every time anything went awry I wanted to jump into the story and save her. Nate too, if I am being honest.                     These two share something special. They have a bond. A solid bond. You will see this as you read from Chapter Four through the Epilogue. You will feel their pain, desperation, heart-aches, and even their love. There's a saying that says it takes a village to raise a family, but in this case, it took a village to help build Avelina into her own, once again. And even Nate. Yes, I keep including Nate. But I have to. He has to be taught to live, just like Avelina does. Here is another quote that will cement these two, and what I said about a village. Gahh....I love it too too much!               "I know you're not trying to fix me, but you're the one who makes me better."   Or this one:   "When your heart's against my chest, I feel like I'm alive."                  There are two chapters that will forever hold a special in my heart. Chapters Twenty-Three and Twenty-Five. They're life changing. Honestly, life changing. I read these two chapters while sobbing and barely able to catch my breath. There are letters that come into play at some point that rip me up. Words that I will long to read again and again, "It reminded me of you, but then again everything reminds me of you. Nate."                         One more quote that literally took my breath away, it is beautifully poignant.      "I've learned that life delivers many storms for us to weather. Some will be slow, brooding, quiet beasts, and others will be thunderous and frightening."                   This had my heart soaring in the sky. It released my sadness, and made me want to scream from mountaintops that After the Rain is a beautiful story of second chances at life and second chances at love.                   Author Renee Carlino has delivered another truly beautiful and touching story. The depth and range that was portrayed in Avelina's story was unbelievable. I think this is her most soul-crushing story to date. Unlike her two other novels and one novella, the pace and feel to After the Rain was powerful and hopeful. Life is tumultuous and scary. But with After the Rain you can see that it is so much more! This is one book that will forever sit in my heart. I have found that Author Renee Carlino's stories not only get better, but they grow in depth and emotion. After the Rain is my FAVORITE BOOK of 2014. Hands down. I have had many, but this took the cake. Read, love, and share the love with your friends. Don't pass on a book that will literally take your breath away. <3
OldVictorianQuill More than 1 year ago
My original review consisted of ‘Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful!’ as I was so overwhelmed by how beautiful, heart-wrenching and special this book was that I didn’t feel that any review I wrote would do it justice. I still think the same so I start this review begging everybody to just go and read this amazing book, as it is definitely not one to be missed. ‘After the Rain’ is a book that just has to be experienced yourself for you to understand its power. I started this book in my lunch hour at work, and I was so engrossed in the heartbreaking storyline, and the beautifully developed characters that I really struggled putting it down to go back on my shift. From the start, Avelina became a character that I not only sympathised with, but who I connected with on such a deep level that my heart broke along with hers as she has to face the future without the man that she loves. Renee Carlino did such a stunning job at introducing us to these characters, and it was this that made them feel so real to me. Jake’s descent into depression and eventual emotional blackmail to Avelina was all the more heartbreaking for me having witnessed Jake before his accident. Similarly seeing Avelina’s slow recovery and her slow developing trust in Nate was made all the more real after having seen the loving relationship that she and Jake had once had. Seeing that Jake was onve as loving as you could imagine is what made Avelina’s heartbreak more believable. Renee Carlino developed Nate and Avelina’s relationship with absolute perfection. The way that Avelina begins to return to life after Nate pushes for a friendship was just so wonderful to read, and I had tears in my eyes more than once. I loved seeing the development that their relationship had not just on Avelina, but also on Nate, helping him see that there are other ways to live your life than being devoted to your work, and that there is no shame in not reaching perfection. Avelina and Nate’s story is a emotional one, but it is one that has stayed with me on so many levels since I turned the last page. You will laugh and cry in earnest, but ‘After the Rain’ will leave you looking at the world anew.
Shellbelle1 More than 1 year ago
Renee Carlino has another success with After The Rain. After The Rain is an emotional book that not only gives the main characters the love of  a lifetime, it is a story about second chances in life.  It's a story of emotional growth and acceptance. Two unlikely people come together and find more than love. Avelina Jesus de los Santos Belo has suffered a great loss at a very young age.  After the death of her father her family is torn apart.  When she meets the charming young cowboy at a rodeo, she drops out of high school and marries at the very young age of eighteen.  Her young love is her world until tragedy strikes and destroys her life.  Rather than grieving and moving on in life, Avelina is stalled.  She feels guilt for living, she feels responsible for the loss of her husband's life, and she's lost the only love she has ever known.  When Nate Meyers arrives on the ranch, she begins to change.  She realizes that no matter what, she is still the one who is living and that it might be time to let go and move on. Nate Meyers has always wanted to be cardiothoracic surgeon.  He has focused his entire life on that goal.  He reached this goal at an early age after sacrificing much of his youth.  Now he has the career he has always wanted.  When a surgery goes wrong and Nate loses a patient, it is more than a professional loss he is feeling.  He suddenly is questioning his life choices and sacrifices.  He is questioning his career and purpose as a doctor.  A visit to the ranch and introduction to Avelina will change everything. Nate and Avelina will find a new life that is waiting for them.  It doesn't necessarily mean that this new life is with them together as a couple.  They will have an emotional journey that will forever change how they are as individuals.  It is a journey of emotional growth and learning what matters most in life. Renee Carlino wrote a touching story that was mature, insightful, and beautiful.  I highly recommend After The Rain.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely recommend, it was a beautiful story. Characters had depth and it was about more than the underlying romance. Secondary characters were also interesting, and added well to the development and growth of hero and heroine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet read. Thank goodness no box of tissues needed. Life is a struggle, you learned it from Ava and Nate. LOVETOREAD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sugarpine721 More than 1 year ago
"Forever is only now." I love Renee Carlino's writing. She has a way that just draws you into her stories and you become invested in her characters. This book was a life journey for both Ava and Nate. You cheer for them throughout the book. I totally fell in love with Nate when he wrote his letters to Ava. What an amazing feel good book! "Forward ever, backward never."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a heart wrenching story at times, but loved it and hoped for the best for Nate and Ava. I was't dissappointed except that the story ended when it did. I wish there could be more.What a truly great love story. I have read all of Renee Carlino's books and just love them all. GREAT WRITING!
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
After the Rain is my first Renée Carlino book, but it certainly won't be my last. I definitely picked a good one to start with. And hey, maybe all of her books are this great. I'll know as soon as I have the chance to conquer her backlist. To say I was hopelessly sucked into Ava's story would be an understatement. My heart broke right along with hers after the accident that injured her husband and all the things that came as a result of it. She was far too young to deal with the things she faced. She wasn't always the easiest person to like, but only because of how she beat herself up over a situation that was truly out of her control. Her guilt was eating away at her and stealing her life. It was quite sad, actually. It wasn't until Nate arrived in Montana that she really began to come out of her shell and embrace all that's beautiful about life again. Even though I admit it took some time for Nate to grow on me, I adored him by about halfway through the book. In the beginning he was arrogant and difficult to connect with. It didn't take him that long on the ranch to start to change and become far more swoony in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, he still had flaws, but I loved him if for no reason other than how he helped Ava move on and realize all was not lost. After the Rain was a beautiful story of love, loss, second chances and, ultimately, hope. It was an emotional story that was full of feelings. Not all of them were good, but I was so invested in the story that I felt every single one of them. It was real, raw and gripping. In the end, I loved the message it portrayed about growing up and finding yourself. I also loved that I never really knew how it was all going to end. I don't mind when books are predictable, romances – whether TV, movies or books – lend themselves to that. But, sometimes I love nothing more than just wondering how things are going to turn out – and realizing I would be happy regardless of how it all ended.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
NestledInABookBlog More than 1 year ago
After the Rain reminded me why I love reading. Renée Carlino created a beautiful work of art with this book. She drew me in, made me fall in love, shattered my heart, and pieced it back together. You have to understand something about me. I read books to escape. My life in itself is beautiful. I have a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, and a job that I love. I wouldn’t change a single solitary thing about it. But the world is an ugly place and I’m reminded of it with every mean-spirited person I encounter, every tragic story I hear on the news, every bad thing that happens to good people. Reading is my vice and my way to pretend that a different world is the reality, if only for a while. So when I pick up a book, it’s usually one that’s carefully selected to be one that’s not going to rip my heart to shreds. But then there are books that are so beautiful, so raw, so real, and so honest that they completely gut you. This book made me cry because it broke my heart and because it was so breathtakingly beautiful. Even now, just thinking of the book makes my heart ache with longing and my eyes tear up. That feeling of longing that I remember feeling for my husband when we first started dating, I am feeling for a book! I also limit the heavier reads because they tend to affect me pretty deeply. Rarely do I cry, but they can really affect my mood and can keep me down for a whole day if I let them. There are some that have made me teary, and some that even caused a few tears to fall. Keep that in mind when I tell you this. [I was learning that being alive means knowing the threat of dying is there but facing your mortality and moving through it anyway.] Avelina’s story pierced me straight through the heart. The pain that I felt for her was fierce and gripped my heart like a fist. It stole my breath. At one point I cried so hard and so suddenly that I clapped my hand over my mouth to muffle my sob and burrowed my face in my pillow to keep from waking my daughter from her nap while I wailed like a baby. I ugly cried, my face leaking every possible fluid while I felt the pain like it happened to me. I have never experienced body-wracking sobs like that from a book or from any fictional character.  Are you getting my point? [Apparently there’s something in the Montana water that instantly transforms an agnostic, Starbucks-loving, vegetarian pacifist into a God-and-country-loving protector of all women and cattle.] Nathaniel is unlike any other hero, love interest, book boyfriend, insert-your-title-of-choice-here. He’s one of a kind. He’s innocent in a way, and all but innocent in other delicious ones. I could not get enough of him. His heart and soul are so pure, good and beautiful that I was helpless to fall in love with him. [The four-week roller coaster of my life was clicking back up the tracks. I was at that point when you reach the peak before falling and you think maybe you want off, that maybe they can stop it. But I don’t think you can stop once you start falling. At least I couldn’t, and I didn’t want to. It’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying to fall in love.] I have never read a book that compelled me to write to the author. I could not stop myself from writing Renée after only 16%. Here is a portion of what I wrote to her: “I’m not a creative person mostly because I’m horrible at envisioning things. Normally when I read, the world sort of exists in a blurry dream-like state, everything is soft and details don’t exist. But with this one, it’s like I’m seeing everything for myself. Everything is so crisp and real. You are the only author to ever evoke emotion out of me like that.” Renée is a truly talented and gifted author. She is something very special. I believe that books are pieces of people and I can’t help but think that the beauty that I saw in this book is beauty that exists in her heart and in her soul. I’m in awe of her as a writer and as a person. She’s one of those people I feel like I need to know, like my life would be better just by having someone with that kind of inner beauty in it. Unfortunately, I will have to settle with feeling like I know her through social media and experiencing pieces of her through her books. Luckily, her books don’t feel like settling.