She’s never had a no-strings fling. He’s never had anything else. But maybe this time will be an exception?
After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooper on a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .
Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot in Maybe for You?
“Nicole McLaughlin is a wonderfully fresh voice in contemporary romancesweet, sexy, and immensely satisfying.”Lauren Layne, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Nicole McLaughlin wrote her first full length book (6 pages) about the birth of her baby sister, when she was eight years old. She only finished it because her mother bribed her with a Rick Astley cassette tape. Sad, but true. Now her characters are what keep her writing and her subject matter has gotten a little bit deeper and a lot more romantic. She resides in a small town outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, she’s a wedding and portrait photographer, loves to cook, and watch historical dramas or documentaries. She is the author of the Man Enough novel All I Ask and the Whiskey and Wedding series.
Read an Excerpt
Alex stepped onto the old wood-and-metal freight elevator in the Stag distillery. The party upstairs was already well underway, leaving her alone to try and recall how her brother, Dean, had taught her to use it. She pulled a small lever, tugged at the door to make sure it had latched, and then pushed the big red button. The well-used gears groaned as it began its ascent.
Conversation and soft music filtered down through the wood floor and stone walls. Alex closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She'd told herself on the drive over that she would not think about how she was supposed to have gotten married here just a couple of weeks ago. Hard to do when she could hear the tinkle of glass and the laughter of people milling about. Just like they did at a wedding reception.
The Stag hosted a lot of events and receptions. Although Alex's brother and his two partners, Jake and TJ, had gone into business to make small-batch liquor, fate had its own agenda, and they'd also ended up becoming one of the most successful wedding and event venues in the Kansas City metro. It was the perfect business model that no one had seen coming. They set up their distillery in a gorgeous old building with an amazing second floor where they could hold events and serve their liquor. Nearly every Saturday they earned themselves new customers.
Tonight, however, they were celebrating themselves. After half a decade in business, they were uncasking their signature distilled products. The bourbon and whiskey had been aging in oak barrels for five years, waiting for them to debut it to their customers. Until this point, they'd been selling unaged white whiskey and vodka.
Even Alex, deployed for most of this time, knew they'd been a great success. Tonight was a big deal, and even though her current personal circumstances were nearly crushing her, she was grateful she could be here to celebrate with her brother.
Her left thumb began to roll her engagement ring around on her finger. Someday she was going to have to take it off. But this was not that day. Tomorrow seemed just as unlikely.
Inhaling another deep breath, she blew it out slowly, the sounds of joviality getting louder. Was it stupid to make your first public outing after a personal tragedy a party located in the place that was likely to bring the most pain? Probably, but Alex was nothing if not strong-willed. And after the horrible argument she'd had with her brother this afternoon, she knew it was necessary to apologize and make things right. She also wanted him to see that she was not, as he put it, "too broken to handle life on your own right now."
The elevator ground to a halt and her eyes flew open. She pulled the door open and stepped into the expansive second floor of the Stag. Thank goodness there were so many people for their sake, but the sight of the crowd made her hesitate. Instantly she felt the need to search out her brother, panic settling into her chest.
Taking another step, she decided to focus on the room. It was so beautiful, the imposing antler chandelier sparkling in the center and the massive stone fireplace taking up the west wall. Her heart rate began to rise as her eyes flittered around the room, seeing the centerpieces that Charlotte and Dean had brought this afternoon for the tables. Why had she agreed to let them use things that had been made to decorate her own wedding reception? It had seemed logical at the time, but seeing them now, she realized how silly it had been. Now she had to see them looking exactly how they would have looked on her special day. The temptation to turn around and get back on the elevator was so strong her legs began to shake.
"Alex," a voice called out from the crowd.
She glanced forward to see Jake, one of the co-owners of the Stag, heading in her direction. His grin was only for her, and her entire body sighed with relief at the sight of him. This was what she needed — someone she knew — and she felt a smile form on her lips.
"How are you?" she asked as she pulled him into a hug. The connection felt like being tossed a raft after treading in a deep and lonely ocean. She realized she was incredibly dramatic these days, but she felt justified.
"I'm good," he said as he pulled back and looked down at her. "I wasn't sure if you were coming tonight."
She sighed. "I almost didn't. Honestly, this is the first time I've put makeup on in weeks. I nearly forgot how to do it." Her attempt at lighthearted humor fell flat when his brow furrowed.
"I'm so sorry about what happened, Alex. I can't even imagine what you've been going through."
"Thank you. I'm a bit of a wreck." Would she ever learn how to respond to those sentiments eloquently? When your fiancé was tragically killed, no one showed up and handed you an owner's manual on how to go on. A quick lesson in knowing how to handle the kindness and sympathy of friends without losing your shit would have been helpful.
Sensing her discomfort, Jake nodded toward the huge bar that anchored the north end of the room. "Would you like a drink?"
"More than anything," she said.
He took her hand and led her to the bar. She was glad to see Jen, the bartender, laughing with a man seated at the bar. Although Alex didn't know Jen well, they'd met a few times and she was a familiar face that greeted her with a warm smile.
"Alex, it's so good to see you. And you look beautiful this evening," Jen said.
Alex forced a smile. "Thank you."
Jen made a quick introduction to Jordan, the man she'd been chatting with. He apparently owned a bar across the street. "Can I make you something special?" Jen finally asked.
"Sure. Surprise me," Alex said.
She was grateful that Jake stood with her, quietly telling her who many of the guests were and how the evening had gone so far. Eventually TJ, the third owner, and his date came over to say hi, and now that Alex had her drink, she sipped quietly, drifting in and out of the conversation. Jordan was inviting all of them to his bar the following weekend to hear a band play, and the only thing that Alex could think about was that she wouldn't be in town and wouldn't have been interested even if she was. Coming to this event tonight was hard enough, a bar was out of the question.
Her thoughts drifted to Monday morning, when she would get up early, head to the airport, and embark on her final yearlong deployment. This time to Vicenza, Italy. A beautiful country she should have been looking forward to exploring as a married woman.
Alex was in the Army, Nate had been in the Air Force. The military had brought them together. It was their life until this point. After so many years in the Middle East they'd been so excited about spending a year at Camp Ederle — a final adventure before they came home and settled down into family life.
After Nate's accident, she'd been informed that she could choose to extend her leave or change her orders and stay in the States. Specifically Fort Bragg, where she'd been years ago. At the time the idea had appealed to her, because she hadn't been able to fathom going to Italy without him. Job or no. But the more she thought about it over the past week, the more she realized it was exactly what she needed to do. Nate would have wanted her to see all the places they'd discussed visiting. And to be honest, she had no other plan and staring at the same walls was not doing anything to help her feel better.
Informing her brother of her intentions earlier in the day hadn't gone over well. She knew he was just worried about her, and she couldn't blame him, considering she'd spent the past few weeks in a state of crisis. But could he blame her? She'd just lost the love of her life. Multiple weeks of greasy hair and puffy eyes felt absolutely appropriate. But she knew if she stayed here living in her brother's apartment, that's exactly what she would continue to do, and that was unacceptable.
Getting dressed tonight, putting on makeup, doing her hair — all of that had been difficult. Several times she'd had to talk herself out of just crawling back into bed. But now that she was here, looking somewhat decent, interacting with humans — sort of — she knew she'd made the right decision. Moving on, healing, required putting one foot in front of the other. Even when it felt impossible. And she'd probably need to keep repeating that over and over again.
A gasp from the bar pulled Alex from her thoughts. She looked up just in time to see Jen darting toward the end of the bar gripping her hand. TJ was calling Jen's name, chasing after her as she headed for the restroom.
"What happened?" Alex asked, leaning toward Jake.
"I think she cut herself."
"Oh no. I hope it wasn't too bad."
"Me too," he said, looking around. After a second, he touched her arm. "I'm sorry to leave you for a minute, Alex, but I'm going to step behind the bar and fill in."
"Oh, of course. I'll be fine."
He made his way around the bar, leaving her standing there with the woman TJ had abandoned without a word. Alex glanced at her — Brooke, if she recalled — and tried to think of something to say. The look of irritation on her face didn't inspire a conversation, so Alex was relieved when she heard a familiar voice call her name. She turned to find her brother.
"I was afraid you wouldn't come," he said.
She smiled. "I couldn't miss this. It's not every day your brother celebrates opening five-year-old bourbon he made with his own hands."
"And it's not every day said brother needs to beg your forgiveness for acting like an insensitive jackass."
Alex's shoulders slumped, and her lips began to tremble the slightest bit. "Dammit, Bean." She reached out and wrapped her arms around him. "I was trying not to cry here."
"Aw, Buzz. I'm sorry," he said, rubbing her back gently. Using their lifelong nicknames was a sure sign that things would be okay. She'd known that they would be, but fights with anyone she loved made her feel panicky. What if something happened and words of anger were the last thing that had passed between them? "Please don't cry. Just tell me you forgive me."
"Of course I do. I forgave you the minute the conversation was over." She could feel the tension leave his body and she pulled back to look up at him, wiping at her eyes just in case.
"You sure? Because I was really out of line."
"Yes, you were. But in your defense," she said, smirking at his look of surprise, "I know I surprised you with my change in plans."
"Very much so." He nodded. "I was looking forward to finally having you around."
She pushed the tears back once more. "It's only a year, Dean. I know you only want what's best for me."
"But you've got to let me figure that out. Even if it ends up being the wrong decision. Or I get hurt."
"I know that, Alex. And everything you tried to tell me earlier makes perfect sense now that I've thought about it. It is best for you to stay busy, to keep doing what you're good at. And what better place to heal a broken heart than a beautiful country like Italy? You're a strong and intelligent woman, and I was being selfish wanting to keep you close so I could make sure you're okay."
Her lips quirked. "How many times did Charlotte have to repeat all that until it sank in?"
"About twenty," he said, looking unsurprised that she'd called him out. "And she'll probably have to keep saying it for the first couple of weeks you're gone."
Alex shook her head. "You're hopeless. But I love you for caring so much about me."
Before he could reply, they were interrupted by TJ. "Jen cut herself. I need to take her to the Emergency Room."
Dean's brow furrowed as Charlotte walked up beside him. "How bad is it?" Dean asked.
"She's okay," TJ clarified. "But she needs stitches."
"Where is she?" Charlotte asked.
TJ nodded toward where he'd just come from. "Men's restroom."
Charlotte's eyebrows went up, but she took off without questioning it further.
"I don't know how long this will take," TJ said to Dean.
"Don't worry about it, man. We can handle this."
"I'll stay and help also," Alex added.
TJ nodded and then stepped forward and gave Alex an awkward one-armed hug. "Thanks, Alex. And it was so good to see you." He pulled back and smiled at her. "Good luck in Italy. We'll all be thinking about you."
"Thank you, TJ. Let us know how Jen is."
He nodded and was gone. For the rest of the evening, Alex felt a lot more at ease. Tension between Dean and her always sucked, although considering he'd practically raised her after her dad and their mother passed away when she was thirteen, they'd had their fair share of it over the years. It wasn't an easy position he was in, wanting to be the cool big brother, but also feeling the need to step up and be the only parent she had.
The tone of the event hadn't been one that encouraged people to get wasted and hang around, so by nine thirty or so, most everyone had left. Alex saw that Dean's father, Joel, was getting up out of the chair he'd been in most of the evening, so she walked over and gave him a big hug.
"I'm sure glad I got to spend some time with you this evening," he said as he patted her back. "Make sure you send me some emails when you get a chance."
She smiled. "You know I will, but I told you, you need to get a social media account so you can see everything I'm doing. Being stationed in Italy I think I'll have more time and ability to keep up with that sort of thing."
"Oh, Alex, I'm an old man. I don't have any use for that sort of thing."
She pointed at herself. "Your use is right here. Keeping up with me."
"I'll think about it," he said with a wink. As Dean's father, Joel Troyer had become like a grandfather to Alex over the years. He'd always taken her to breakfast on her birthday, gave her ten bucks for every A on her report card, and even taught her how to drive a car. She adored him.
Watching Dean and Charlotte say goodbye to Joel and discuss going over to his place for lunch the following weekend, it suddenly hit her that she would be leaving in less than forty-eight hours. Alone.
A weight came over her then, her legs suddenly feeling as if they might give out. Turning, her eyes flickered around, looking for somewhere she could retreat to and find a moment of privacy. Her eyes burned, her vision beginning to blur, as she finally saw the door to the left of the bar. She took off, her heels clacking along the wood floor so loudly in her ears.
Sucking in a deep breath she opened the door, relieved to realize it was the small retiring room that vendors used to hold their gear and eat dinner, and nursing mothers used to evade the crowd. Two sofas faced each other, and Alex collapsed onto one of them, her face instantly falling into her hands.
Her chest heaved in and out with gasping breaths as she tried to get her emotions and her thoughts under control. This was the second time this week this had happened. She assumed it was a panic attack, and each time it had come out of nowhere. She pinched her eyes shut.
The sound of the door opening made her want to groan. Why right now?
"Alex?" a deep voice said.
She turned her head, still keeping it rested against her hands. "Hey."
Taking her word as an invitation, Jake stepped in and closed the door behind him. "You okay? I got worried when I saw you rush in here. I'm sorry I've been behind the bar for so long."
She gave him a weak smile and sat up straight, grateful the interruption had seemed to force her lungs to get control. Had he been watching her? "I'm fine, Jake. It wasn't your job to babysit me tonight."
"I didn't mean it like that," he said. She knew that and regretted saying it. The last thing she wanted was to hurt his feelings after he'd been so sweet tonight.
"I'm sorry. I just ..." Blowing out a deep breath, she tried to hold in her tears as he sat down on the sofa across from her and leaned his elbow on his knees.
His brow furrowed as he looked at her intently.
"I can be doing really well. Feel happy and normal, but then the sadness just hits me out of nowhere. Like ... for a moment I'd forgotten that Nate is dead, and then I remember. I remember everything. The pain. The fact that I'll never see him again." Her voice broke on the last few words, and he got up and moved to sit beside her.
Instantly he wrapped his arms around her. Without hesitating she turned into his chest and let her arms snake around his waist. That was all it took for the tears to flow. The strength of his body made her feel safe enough to break down, her shoulders shaking with her tears. And still he held her. She'd almost forgotten what a strong man — who wasn't her brother or her dead fiancé — felt like, and just for a moment she let her eyes close and pretend that she was holding Nathan.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Maybe for You"
Copyright © 2018 Nicole McLaughlin.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is full of angst. It's centered around someone's grieving process. It's also about support, friendship and love. Jake is a confirmed batchlor and part owner of the Stag distillery. He is very sentive to the fact that he is the odd one out. Something that stems from his childhood. Alex is in military and just before she gets married, tragedy strikes. This has really left a mark on her and it shows. Jake and Alex have been in correspondence with each other and he knows more about what she is going through than anyone else. They soon become best friends and when Jake is doing one of his promotional tours, Alex accompanies him. They soon become best friends and that friendship turns into friends with benefits. Jake has never been in a relationship and Alex is scared of getting close to anyone. She feels that getting involved seriously with someone is a form of betrayal. Besides, she has suffered so many losses that she is afraid of letting anyone get too close. Will Jake change his womanising ways and take a chance on what's developing between them? Jake is the portrayal of a good and supportive friend. He is a good listener and always knows what to say. Alex is so stuck into her failed plans that she would rather wallow in her grief. When something unexpected occurs, she is forced to have a more positive outlook on her future. This story is quite intense and full of angst, but eventually gets to the desired outcome. It's well worth reading. I was kindly issued with an eARC from Netgalley and the views expressed are my personal opinion.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The third in a romance series and if you are new to the romance world, most books in a series are mostly self contained and each book focuses on different characters in the same town or setting. This series has focused on a distillery and the men that work there and the women that come into their lives. As I say in most reviews of romance books, it is obvious the ending of most romance books but the joy is in the journey! This story centers on Jake Cooper who is the last bachelor to work for Stag Distillery and Alexis who is the little sister of one of the other owners of the distillery. Alexis has made a few appearances in the previous books, but this book takes a deep dive into her life and what has happened.
Nicole McLaughlin is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors! Maybe For You, number three of the Whiskey and Weddings series, is a prime example of why. Her stories always have an emotional pull whether it's overwhelming happiness or heartbreaking circumstances. Alexis and Jake's story is like that. There are so many layers to their relationship that kept me on the edge of my seat. There's so much going against them and for them. If you love emotional drama then this is the story for you! I would recommend Maybe For You for fans of Catherine Bybee or Jamie Beck. *ARC provided in consideration for review*
Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin, book three in her Whisky and Weddings series is a sweet, romantic and sexy story about friendship, family, heartbreak, love and moving on. It is a story of two people, not looking for love, who find it in the most unexpected place. When life doesn't turn out how you planned, it might be time to head in a new direction. Maybe For You is a tale of heartbreaking loss, surprising new beginnings and witty dialogue. McLaughlin presents the ultimate road trip for a brokenhearted almost bride and playboy on the mend. Alexis is learning how to live again after a tragic loss. Her second chance comes in the form of a dashing coworker with a reputation for playing the field. Jake and Alexis take a business trip that changes the course of their lives when their hearts become fair game for love. Maybe For You is a sentimental tale that brings out the laughter and perhaps a few tears. Ms. McLaughlin London wrote a wonderful and emotional story; filled with sexual chemistry, fun dialogue, and endearing characters. I highly recommend this outstanding book to other readers.
we met jake and alexis early on in the whiskey and weddings series. jake is one of the co-owners of the stag distillery and alexis is dean's little sister. i wouldn't recommend reading maybe for you without reading the previous books in the series, because there is a lot of context and backstory that you'd miss otherwise. in some ways, this is a friends-to-lovers story, but it's also about getting a second-chance-at-love, albeit with someone other than the original person you fell in love with. alexis spends a large chunk of the novel grieving her former partner, nathan, who died in a helicopter crash weeks before their wedding. jake helps her through that grief. he does so not because he's been pining for her. or because they were longstanding friends. he helps her through it because he's a good guy. and he enjoys being a good friend to alexis. that first year of mourning, jake's friendship becomes something alexis depends on. and when she comes back into town she's slightly horrified to realize that she's aware of him in a more-than-friends kind of way. i loved the angst, the drama, the sheer romance of this story. jake and alexis are both flawed human beings who happen to bring out the best in each other. and who have each other's backs. that their friendship becomes love seems inevitable. and i absolutely loved it. **maybe for you will publish august 28, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
Two people, not looking for love, find it in the most unexpected place. Whether you are emotionally scarred or don't even realize what you looking for to fill that whole in your life, Maybe for You gives us a marvelous story about grabbing what might be right in front of you. The quintessential slow building relationship. The characters, mostly Alexis, are a bit over the top with drama and their emotional vacillations but overall it is a strong romantic read. In the end, Maybe for You rings the bell with a great story of finding that the second chance at love was what you really needed when let go of the the past. I received this ARC copy of Maybe for You from t. Martin's Press. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Jake was the carefree bachelor of the trio of founders of the Stag Distillery and never had a reason to change. Alexis lost her fiancé mere weeks before their wedding. For a year they had corresponded, for a year Jake had been Alex’s rock, confidant and long distance best friend. Now Alex is home, still nursing her broken heart, lost in the past, the pain and the regrets of all she lost. When Jake’s footloose approach to women threatens the distillery’s success and reputation, Alex becomes his babysitter as well as his shield against the onslaught of women who want a night with the handsome flirt, but is there more to Jake than meets the eye? Will he be the man who gives Alex a reason to look to the future once again and to let go of her past? MAYBE FOR YOU by Nicole McLaughlin begins as a solid tale of romance budding when it is least expected and most needed by two people who have gaping holes in their lives. Alex knew what hers was, but Jake never realized he wanted more than the life he was living or maybe never let others know. Yes, he was a player, but isn’t that what people expected from him? Only with Alex was he the caring and warm person he kept hidden. Their romance blooms slowly and by itself is warm, with Jake truly the hero. While Alex’s pain was so raw and understandable, it became a bit much, particularly as she seemed to use it to avoid living her own life or making a fresh start. A sometimes overly dramatic love story, it still proves that with love, one can move on for a second chance at happiness with the right person, who just might be the last one others would expect!
This is a great heart warming story by a relatively new author to me, I liked the storyline, and found the characters Jake and Alex were likeable and I thought they had really good chemistry. I'm not one to give away the plot as I think you can garner the gist of it from the author's perceptive. I received a copy from Netgalley and I am voluntarily leaving my own honest opinion
This is a great heart warming story by a relatively new author to me, I liked the storyline, and found the characters Jake and Alex were likeable and I thought they had really good chemistry. I'm not one to give away the plot as I think you can garner the gist of it from the author's perceptive. I received a copy from Netgalley and I am voluntarily leaving my own honest opinion
Whiskey and Weddings is full of strong characters and great plot lines and book 3 is no exception. Jake is the playboy who doubts his worth due to not having a college education. Alex is a grieving woman who lost her fiancé weeks before their big day. Through that tragedy a friendship blossomed between Alex and Jake. Totally platonic, the friendship grew over the course of the year she was deployed in Italy, but now she is home and retired from the military. Jake has come to mean so much to her because he never judges and he always tells her it is ok to feel the way she feels. When he has to take a two week road trip to promote their whiskey, she doesn’t hesitate to go along to help him and to get away from how happy and in love her brother and his fiancé are. During the trip, sparks do fly and she decides that Jake is the perfect person to have some fun with because she knows he doesn’t want anything long term either. When they return home they try to go back to just being friends, but when a health scare with Alex leads to her discovering that their safe sex wasn’t actually safe, she is at a loss as to what to do, but she doesn’t want a baby or a family or a life in the town she grew up in. Jake is shocked to find out that he is going to be a dad, and he is pissed that Alex is wanting to deny him the chance to be in his baby’s life. He sets out to prove to her that this isn’t a set back but a gift and a new path for both of them. I enjoyed their story a lot. They were entertaining characters and their story was passionate, emotional, and just plain good. It is a great series, easy to get into and very entertaining.
Maybe For You, the third book in Nicole McLaughlin’s Whiskey and Weddings Series, is about grief and letting go so you can move forward, but knowing that the past helped shape where you are now. I loved Alex and Jake’s story, but at times it was a hard read. There are more tears than laughter, but at the end I walked away satisfied. There were a few instances where I wanted Jake to let go and talk to Alex; he was totally supportive of her, but never quite let his guard down to let her be supportive of him. New readers of the series won’t miss the earlier books, though they are wonderful. Series readers will love the resolution of the main characters. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
The Stag Distillery is often used as a venue for various functions. This evening, Alex has arrived to join in celebrating the success of the distillery. Alex is still reeling from the death of her fiancé, Nate, who was killed in a helicopter accident. Alex is in the Army and soon to be deployed to Italy for a year. Her friend, Jake, is very solicitous of her and wishes her a safe journey, wanting to stay in touch with her while she’s gone. Now, Alex is back from her year in Italy and Jake is picking her up. She is hoping to get a job at the CIA in Arlington. Back staying with her brother and his fiancé, being surrounded by their happiness as they plan their own wedding, only seems to increase Alex’s depression as she continues to mourn Nate. At loose ends and waiting to hear on her job, Alex agrees to accompany Jake when he goes on tour in an RV promoting the distillery. Her brother, Dean, Jake, and another man own the distillery. It has come back to Dean that Jake tends to hook up with women on these tours. This type of behavior does not bode well for the company’s reputation as the distillery is also a wedding venue and must keep a good, clean reputation. Being in close quarters with lots of togetherness results in an attraction and resulting intimacy. Back home, Alex and Jake try to keep their relationship secret until something happens to blow it out of the water. This is a fairly clean, sweet romance that I’m sure will be a favorite with contemporary romance readers. I enjoyed reading the first book in the series as well. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
An emotional story about love lost. Alex is brokenhearted about her fiancés death right before their wedding and signs up for another assignment oversees. A friendship develops with Jake during her assignment. Will it continue when Alex returns home? Will that friendship become more. This book brings to the forefront the sacrifices that our service men/women, and their families endure to provide security for our country. I enjoyed Alex and Jake's story. You will cry, laugh, and cry some more until your heart fills with love. I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGallery for an honest review.
She just needs to heal and she finds friendship in the least likely place. Can she find the peace she's looking for and can he show her he can be her friend without something more? This is powerful for sure, You will laugh and cry and laugh some more. This book is about finding healing in loss and finding hope when all else seems loss. While Alex is trying to find hope and continue living after the loss of her fiancé she also feels like its best to not get to close to anyone. This book is a quit read and I had a hard time putting it down from page one to the end. This book was such a sweet love story with not just Alex and Jake but it also follows up with TJ, Jenn, Charlotte and Dean, which was so nice to find out whats been going on with them. This book does have adult language and adult situations but this book was so worth the read and I hope there is more to come from Stag Bar. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I was under no obligation to post a review and have given my honest opinion
This is a great story from beginning to end. I have read most of Nichole McLaughlin's books and this rates up there as one of the best I have ever read. Can't wait to read more from her.
Any kind of loss can be devastating but when it's not the first time and both of the losses are close to you it can have far reaching tendrils that suddenly become a fear deep and dark. It's not bad enough that you lost your parents and now lost your fiance just weeks before you marry but now you're so afraid of loosing someone else that you protect your heart. That's where Alex is. That's where she thinks she's happy. Jake is a playboy who is getting tired of the life but no woman has given him the reason to until he consoles Alex. The message was harmless until it became everything. These two have no idea where this will lead. They will have some troubles but their biggest trouble will be fear. Fear can be crippling. This isn't my first read by this author and once again she doesn't disappoint. Yeah there's some steamy goodness but the story of these two and the strength of Alex is such an emotional journey. I love how the story evolves and the healing and support from friends and family. It's a great read.
Alexis Parker has never been lucky in love, her parents were killed in a car accident, she was brought up by her older brother Dean and his wife Amy as if she were their daughter, until the two of them separated over Dean's infertility, and then her fiancee Nate is killed only weeks before their wedding. After Nate's death she spends the final 12 months of her military career in Italy trying to make sense of her life. Alex's brother Dean owns a whisky distillery with his two best friends TJ and Jake Cooper. Dean and TJ have recently found love but Jake is still a carefree bachelor. He is responsible for business development, promotions and marketing which usually takes the form of touring festivals and shows with an RV of promotional gifts and free whiskey. Unfortunately the distillery's instagram account and twitter feed are starting to appear more frat party than serious business. Despite his playboy reputation when Jake comes across a crying Alex on the eve of her departure for Italy he can't help but comfort her. Over her 12 months abroad their friendship flourishes through sporadic texts - Alex feels safe telling Jake how she really feels about Nate's death and moving on. After returning home Alex feels crushed by everyone's need to look after her and constantly check how she's doing. What better way to get away from the smothering than a two week road trip with Jake? But as their friendship segues into a friends with benefits arrangement are they really going to be able to walk away after two weeks? I enjoyed this, I thought that there was sufficient angst and obstacles without being a ten handkerchief sob fest. Alex and Jake were both relatable and infuriating by turns - I understood the reasons why they came together, and why they pushed each other away, I even understood the reasons why each of them became angry on occasion. Overall, despite the tragedy in Alex's past this was a life-affirming novel about second chances and the human capacity for love. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
ARC for honest review with no compensation given by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press. This is book 3 of the Whiskey and Wedding series while a standalone I understood the flow from the prior books even though I have not read them.. I will most definitely be checking them out! Jake is a partner in the Stag Distillery with his two best friends. He is the "Promo Guy" and playboy extraordinaire. A complaint has been lodged against him so it's decided that on the next promo tour he take Alexis along to keep him out of trouble. Little does he know that this may not be the way to make that happen... Alexis has finally returned home from the military, while also spending the past year mourning the loss of her fiancé who just weeks before their wedding was killed. She now needs to pick up the pieces and find her direction in life. Her brother and part owner of Stag Distillery offers her a job and she agrees to do the ride along with Jake as they have been pen pals during the past year and there's more to Jake than meets the eye. What starts out as friends turns quickly as the heat rises, friends become lovers and when you least expect it love shows us what has been missing all along!
This was a great read. There is a sweet romance that develops after starting out as a fling. It's been a year since Alexis lost her fiance Nate and while she wants to move on and start over it's been hard. Now she's back from Italy and has a new job lined up that will start in a couple of months. To pass the time she's working at Stag Distillery. Hitting the road with Stag's resident playboy Jake Cooper wasn't how she expected to spend her time but being with Jake and experiencing life again may be exactly what she needs. This is a wonderfully done story and I loved watching how both Jake and Alexis change through their journey. I highly recommend this one.
Nicole McLaughlin has written one of the most emotional romantic stories I've read in a very long time. Alex is a very strong woman, but she's been hit with more grief and loss than most people could handle: loss of her parents at 13, and most recently the love of her life, her fiancée, Nate, just weeks before their wedding.. She's determined to get through this, so she proceeds with their plans, stay in the military and go to Italy for a year. Jake, her older brother's best friend and business partner, giver her a shoulder to cry on and then messages with her while she's in Italy. She bares her soul and grief to him. He always listens and lets her be wherever she needs to be emotionally. By the time she comes home and leaves the military, he is a trusted confidant and friend. When they start communicating in person, things gradually change between them... The grieving process Alex goes through is so real and palpable and heartbreaking. The steadfast support and understanding that Jake provides is amazing. I had tears in my eyes while trying to read so many times. A wonderful poignant love story that will stay with me for a long time.
Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin is a small town romance that started off well, slowed down a bit through the middle, and then little by little recaptured my heart and attention. The two main characters are genuine and honest, so their insecurities, as well as their thoughtfulness is easy to identify with. This is the third book from Ms. McLaughin’s Whiskey and Weddings series, and it can be read as a standalone. After completing her last deployment in Italy, Alexis Parker is finally home. Since losing her fiance a year ago, she is still having trouble moving on. Luckily, her brother Dean offers her a job at his distillery, which he co-owns with his two best friends. Jake Cooper is in charge of business development, and Alexis joins him on the company's cross country promotional tour. Jake is a playboy, and has no desire to settle down. Spending two-weeks together in a RV brings evolves their meaningful friendship into much more. This is an engaging and nicely written novel. Alexis and Jake share an amazing bond, and Ms. McLaughlin does a good job of creating sexual tension, longing, and desire. The genuineness and strength of the secondary characters adds an extra believable quality to the story. Overall, this is a solid read. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
I gave Maybe for You a 4-star rating. The characters were relatable and the plotline was engaging. I did think that the sex scenes, after the first one, lacked some of the heat of the first one. I also didn’t like Alexis pushing Jake away many times. But other than that, it was a good read.
Nicole McLaughlin's Whiskey and Weddings series is my favorite series of the ones she writes. It seems each story is even better than the one before it. First I met Dean and Charlotte and shared their Happily Ever After in Maybe I Do. This first book in the series is where most of the characters in later books are introduced and this is where we find out the sad news Alex receives about her fiance Nate. This is where we find three close friends, Dean, TJ and Nate who open a boutique distillery and wedding venue. Next I joined along with TJ and Jen's journey to their Happily Ever After in Maybe This Time. Now it's Jake and Alex's turn. I love this story! At first Jake and Alex seem to be a very unlikely couple but Alex finds a special friend in Jake during her final deployment to Italy for a year. Following her return home things heat up when Alex joins Jake on his two week promotional tour for the distillery. And then..... Well lots of fun and surprises to look forward to. Author Nicole McLaughlin does an excellent job telling a story while expressing some serious emotions. Both Alex and Jake have some major hangups. The author depicts their problems very realistically. The storyline flows so well that I found myself surprised when I got to the end of the book. I was there with both Jake and Alex through all the good times and the bad and I didn't want the book to end. I always enjoy friends to lovers stories and this is one of the best I have ever read. Bravo Nicole McLaughlin! You did a fantastic job!
This was a fantastically written story, that was heartbreaking, heartwarming, and filled with emotional real life issues. This had my heart melting, and me crying and rooting for these main characters. This is my first story by Nicole McLaughlin and it definitely, will not be my last. Alex Parker has suffered great loss in her life, with the latest being her fiancé, Nate, two weeks before they were to be married. When she comes to celebrate her brother and his partners’ company’s fifth year in the Bourbon and Whiskey distillery business, at the same venue where she was to get married, her grief is not only noticed, but also felt by Jake Cooper, one of her brother’s partners. Coming to her aide on this difficult night, Jake and Alex soon find themselves becoming close friends, as over the course of a year, as she is deployed in Italy, their keep in close contact with each other. Jake Cooper has always felt he didn’t belong, not with his intelligent siblings, in his school and he is now feeling like his current partners don’t take his marketing of their business seriously, even though his traveling and Playboy ways, has gotten them a lot of new accounts, as well as made their social media accounts interesting and popular. So, when Alex returns home after she leaves the service for good, living with her brother and his girlfriend and constantly witnessing them being happy is just too much for her. When Jake is to go out on tour, Alex takes that opportunity to go with him. But soon these two decide that a fling between them, while on the tour and until she moves across the country to her new job is something they both want. But is it? You will have to read to find out. I loved this story of healing and opening your heart and letting love in. I couldn’t put it down. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
With her latest novel, Maybe for You (Whiskey and Weddings #3), author Nicole McLaughlin has done it again. I have read many of her books, although none of her series necessarily in order, but they are all great standalones with smooth, believable storylines and plots, and well-developed characters that you can’t help but love. Alexis Parker has just lost her fiancé and is now trying to find meaning in life, a life that will be nothing like the one she had planned. She spends a little time at her brother’s distillery and connects as a friend with one of his partners, Jake Cooperon. Then the story moves forward a year. This is a perfect plot device. A year seems like a long time except for this story we don’t care about all the details of Alex’s final military assignment, we just know that a year is long enough after losing her finance Nathan to maybe move on. Nathan’s memory will always be precious and treasured but it’s okay to keep those memories while making new ones. And now we wonder if some of those new memories might be with Jake. Jake was Alex’s best friend while she was gone the past year. They kept in touch via email and social media and she poured out her heart to him. It felt safe because they were “just friends.” Now she’s back and she wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that friendship, even though she does feel a strong attraction to Jake that she hadn’t realized was there. Jake also values their friendship and would never hurt Alex, but he’s starting to feel little vibes as well. They partner on a Stag Distillery cross-country promotional tour and the fun begins. Jake has a reputation as a playboy that he is trying to shake. Alex has never been one for one-night stands. But can they resist? And what exactly would that mean? Are they ready for more than a fling? This is a sweet, sweet story that I did not want to end. Alex is afraid of losing more people in her life that she loves and resists becoming close. Jake has always felt that he disappointed those he cared about, didn’t measure up, and has held back. But their tender feelings for one another are so obvious you want to just push them together and say “There!” The plot moves along smoothly with some fun and exciting twists and turns and a very pleasant surprise at the end. I was provided a copy of Maybe for You from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it and all of Nicole McLaughlin’s books.