Should've Been You: A Man Enough Romance

Should've Been You: A Man Enough Romance

by Nicole McLaughlin
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Overview

Should've Been You: A Man Enough Romance by Nicole McLaughlin

Childhood neighbors get a chance at love in Should’ve Been You, an achingly romantic novella in Nicole McLaughlin’s Man Enough series!

National Guardsman Jase Beckford wants to live a quiet life raising cattle and taking care of his mother. His childhood friend and neighbor Hannah is still his best friend, but when he walks into the Walters house one morning and sees her twin sister Becca for the first time in five years, he wonders if he missed out on something special.

Becca Walters has nursed a secret crush on Jase since childhood, but he always preferred Hannah, so she buried her feelings assuming her sister and Jase would one day turn their flirtation into a real relationship. And this Christmas, she is anticipating a proposal of her own, so Jase’s reappearance in her life doesn’t mean anything. Much. Okay, maybe more than Becca would like to admit.

However, when Becca’s sister gets engaged to someone who’s not Jase, Becca and Jase find themselves spending more together. And when secrets are revealed, suddenly those dormant feelings come back to life; but is the possibility of something between them worth risking the happiness of everyone they love?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250120090
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: Man Enough
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 237,207
File size: 1 MB

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 novels All I Ask, and Along Came Us, and the Whiskey and Wedding series.
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

CHAPTER 1

Bulls had the best life, hands down. Not the Spanish kind of bull that chased crazy thrill seekers through narrow streets, or the ones that charged red blankets. Nor the kind that bucked cowboys off their backs. No, the kind of bull Jase Beckford was thinking of was the good ol' herd breeding variety. Those bulls had it made.

They had one job. One hell of a job.

"You can't hardly wait, can ya?" Jase said to his new bull, Pitch, who was lazily chewing on the crunchy hay that Jase had just tossed over the pen fence. He stepped onto the bottom slat of the gate and rested his arms along the top so he could see his massive new creature without obstruction. Damn, he was beautiful. All seventeen hundred pounds of him.

"It'll be a heck of a new year for you, boy. Fourteen females out in that field. You think you can handle that?" He chuckled, his breath a wispy puff in the frigid air. "I know you can."

In a month or so, Jase would turn him out to pasture with the females he'd purchased several months back. Five cows and nine heifers, and he planned on Pitch working his magic on every single one of them.

Pitch appeared uninterested in small talk as he took another sloppy bite of hay off the snow-packed earth, his mouth chomping loudly. He sniffed hard, steam rising from his nostrils.

"I hope you're a lot more charming when you meet the ladies," Jase said with a headshake. "You'll have to wine and dine them if you want things to go smoothly."

Just then Pitch slowly raised his head, stopped chewing, and turned his head to stare at his owner. Jase grinned. "Okay, okay. Sorry I questioned your skills."

Jase dug his phone from his pocket to check the time. Nearly eight a.m. and he was exhausted. He'd already moved his herd to another pasture, checked on his one pregnant cow — that had sure been a surprise when he'd brought them home — and made sure the ice on the pond was sufficiently cracked open. But although the work was taxing, he loved it. Felt grateful, because slowly, but surely, his plans were all falling into place.

Most people would probably assume that this had been his lifelong dream, or even a family enterprise, considering he'd grown up in the rural town of Pierson, about forty-five minutes north of Manhattan, Kansas, on the west side of Tuttle Creek. But neither were true. Growing up, he'd wanted nothing more than to get away from the small town that didn't even have a real grocery store of its own. Even more, he'd wanted away from his home life.

The fastest — and most affordable — way out was to join the army, and it had taken him being stationed half a world away in Germany to realize that while he loved seeing the world, there was still something to appreciate about growing up in the rural Midwest. He'd gotten to know a German farmer who lived right off the base, mainly because it reminded him of home. Despite the elderly man's broken English, they'd bonded. They'd talked a lot about the process of raising cattle, how he chose his animals, mated them, and what it was like during calving season. And several times Jase had given him a hand on his farm. That was when he'd realized that maybe the land he'd grown up on would be good for something similar. He'd never considered moving back to Pierson until then, but when his final deployment in the Middle East was up, he'd done just that. The choice made easier by the fact that his father was dead and gone by that point.

Now it was just him and his mother. They talked occasionally, when she chose to have a conversation with him, or he with her. Eventually he'd maybe build a house of his own, but in the meantime he didn't mind staying with her. Besides, until this all paid off — literally — he hadn't many options. A huge chunk of his savings had gone into starting this business. He'd joined the Army National Guard not long after coming home but that and a fledgling cattle operation wasn't going to make him a fortune, so he was counting on Pitch here to be the promiscuous male he was paid to be.

Jase stepped off the gate of the bullpen and headed up the snow-covered dirt path that led to the back porch of the Walters farmhouse. The big white house with black shutters and a classic L-shaped porch never failed to make Jase feel welcome ... and safe. He and his mother lived down the road, and as soon as he'd informed his longtime neighbor Tim Walters of his idea to raise cattle, the other man had offered to lease his own land to the cause. Jase, having been close to the Walters family for years, hadn't hesitated, and ever since he and Tim had established a morning coffee ritual that was quickly becoming one of Jase's favorite times of the day.

Tim Walters was the kind of role model every young man needed in his life. Stern and serious when the occasion called for it, but quick with a laugh and a joke to lighten the mood. Jase had only heard him yell a handful of times in the twenty years he'd known him, and even then his understanding nature had always been apparent. Especially considering he'd probably been yelling at one of his twin daughters. More than likely, Hannah.

Hannah. The woman in Jase's life. Sort of. They'd never officially dated. Never had sex. And yet ... they were definitely each other's "other." He'd say except for when she wasn't playing at seeing someone else, but even then he was usually still the one she called. For everything, be it a wedding date, or because she'd locked herself out of her apartment and needed his extra key to her apartment in Manhattan. She'd never said, but he was pretty sure that their odd relationship was the reason many of her real ones didn't work out.

But he wasn't sorry for it. Hannah was his girl, and if she was going to turn to another man to be her fixer, Jase needed it to be someone special. Once upon a time he'd hoped it might someday be him, but not so much anymore.

He wished he knew why, because he adored Hannah. Loved her, even. He wasn't sure why he hadn't pushed for things to move to the next level, but he never had, and each year that passed by — and every time he turned to another woman for a physical release — it became more likely he never would.

When he pulled open the back door to the kitchen of the Walters home, Jase was met with the delicious smell of coffee brewing and meat frying. The sight he was met with, however, was far from familiar, but definitely just as delicious as anything he'd ever set his eyes on. A woman stood inside the refrigerator door, and his eyes zeroed right in on her perfect ass, which was covered by pink cotton panties.

"Dad! Turn around. I'm not dressed," her voice screeched, the beautiful body trying to hide behind the fridge door.

Instantly Jase jerked his body around to face the other direction. Now that he'd heard her voice, he knew exactly whose cute ass that was, and lust he hadn't felt in a long time hit him hard.

Becca Walters.

He should have known, but damn, she hadn't been back home in ages. Not long enough for him to see her anyway.

"I thought you were gone, Dad. Didn't you get my text? I told you to call on your way," she said. Jase heard the refrigerator door shut, followed by a loud gasp. "Jase! Oh my God. What the —"

He chuckled as he heard a chair scrape and then her footsteps shuffling across the wood floor, down the hallway. He peeked over his shoulder just in time to see her long legs fly up the stairs. She'd had on a T-shirt, so none of the outfit had been inappropriate — no more than a bathing suit would be — but still he felt as if he'd just been caught pulling a Peeping Tom.

He grinned anyway and made his way over to the coffeepot and poured himself a mug. Over his head the floor creaked as she shuffled around her room making herself presentable, no doubt. A shame; he would have had no problem catching up with her half dressed. She, on the other hand, now had another reason to be irritated by him. Ah well. Same old, same old.

Hannah had always been the outgoing, funny, flirty twin. Becca — while gorgeous — had always made it clear that she believed herself to be above everyone else. At least that's how she always treated Jase. Truth was, he'd never gotten over that long-ago Christmas Eve night he'd become a part of the Walters family by proxy. Tim Walters had shown up at Jase's house and rescued him from a brutal beating at the hands of his own dad, and then carried him across the field that ran between their homes, in the snow, and tucked him into Becca's bed. He could still remember her sitting there with him, holding a cloth on his bleeding head while Mrs. Walters had rushed around caring for his injuries. Bringing him water, soup, and telling him everything would be all right.

Taking a sip of his coffee, he recalled the words Becca had whispered to him that night as she sat on the edge of her bed beside him, holding his hand. "It's okay if you want to cry. I won't tell anyone. Your daddy is a mean son of a bitch and I'd like to kill him for you."

Harsh words for a young girl. But she'd said them with conviction, and he'd instantly loved her for it. Despite having just been beaten, he'd slept so soundly in that soft bed that smelled of Becca Walters's candy cane lotion. He remembered seeing it on her nightstand on Christmas morning.

But then later that day they'd relocated him to the sofa.

At the time, he hadn't let it hurt his feelings. It was probably not right for him to stay in a girl's room. He was fourteen and fully experiencing puberty. But later that week, Hannah had told him the truth. Becca had thrown a holy fit over having to give up her room to him. Begged her parents to get him out of her bed, told them he smelled bad, and that it wasn't fair that she'd been the one to have to give up her room.

He'd never looked at her with that loving feeling again. Clearly, she'd felt sorry for him that night when she'd held his hand, but not enough to look past the fact that he was an abused redneck boy from down the road. It had been humiliating to realize she'd been disgusted by him being in her perfect frilly pink bed.

Jase wasn't sure why the thought still irritated him, but it did. She'd only been twelve. How could he hold the feelings of a child against her now that she was a grown woman? And wow, was she a woman. It was a little tough to conjure up that same old resentment after he'd just witnessed her perfect round ass hanging out.

* * *

Becca Walters had known better than to hang out in the kitchen half dressed for so long. Tugging on a pair of jeans, she conjured up the sight she'd just witnessed in her father's kitchen. Jase was much larger than the last time she'd seen him, but the shape of him was imprinted on her brain, so she'd known it was him immediately.

How much had he seen of her? She nearly groaned thinking about it. Several times while making breakfast she'd considered that she should run upstairs and get dressed, but in her defense, she'd only been expecting her father, and she'd told him to call her when he was on his way home. And if he'd forgotten, well then, she knew that she'd hear his tires on the gravel drive as an advance warning.

Where had Jase even come from? Did he walk from his mother's house? And how in the hell did he still manage to make her heart pound with one look at him? It had been years since she'd seen him, but she would bet that age had done nothing to diminish his handsomeness. His backside had been perfect, but did his blue eyes still look like deep ocean water? Were his dark brows still the most expressive part of his face? He'd had a hat on, but she'd still noticed that his light-brown hair was a little too long: exactly the way she'd always liked it best, when the ends began to curl the slightest bit.

This morning had been a critical failure on her part. She was not at her own home, not even in the same town, where getting up and making coffee in her underwear was no big deal. She was used to being alone or with Brian, her boyfriend.

But today — oh God. Never had it crossed her mind that anyone but her father would be around, and of all the people to show up, she couldn't believe she'd just had her ass on display for Jase Beckford to ogle.

It was because of him that she'd spent the past decade trying to find the anti-Jase to marry. Someone who had eyes for only her. Made her feel beautiful and wanted, and certainly didn't compare her with Hannah. Becca was certain that Jase had always seen her as the much less desirable twin, and damn her sensitive heart, but it had never gotten the message. No matter how much of an ass he could be, she'd been madly in love with him since the age of ten when he'd moved in down the road.

Rushing into the bathroom, she used a cloth to swipe the crumbling mascara from her eyes and then reapplied a fresh coat, two quick strokes of blush, and some lip gloss. She wanted to look better, but not like she was trying too hard. Because she wasn't trying for Jase. Nope. Never.

Still unsatisfied, she dabbed some concealer under her eyes. Damn it. She couldn't not try. This was Jase. It had been five years, and she'd always planned that the next time they met she'd be sporting a put-together, doing-well-for-herself look. Maybe toting along a husband and a child.

Instead she looked like a nearly thirty-year-old, unmarried hot mess of a woman who had just slept in her childhood bed alone. Which, sadly, was exactly what she was, although in her defense she expected to be engaged by the end of the week. For Christmas.

She took a deep breath at the top of the staircase, then headed back down to the kitchen. "Sorry about that," she said from the doorway.

Casually leaning against the far counter with his legs crossed at the ankle, Jase glanced up from his phone and coffee, let his eyes roam up and down her body, and then smirked.

Her knees nearly gave out.

There they were, those deep ocean water eyes. And yep, one quirked brow expressed his amusement. The small laugh lines at the corners were new, but only served to make him look more weathered and manly. The best part, he still had that slight dimple in his right cheek. She'd always been a sucker for it.

"No need to apologize," he said, forcing her attention to his full lips. "But if you were hoping to make me forget what you looked like naked, those jeans were not the right choice."

She sucked in a gasp. Yes, they were fitted jeans, but they were still jeans for goodness' sake. And was he flirting with her? She walked over to the skillet she'd left on the stove, hoping nothing had burned.

"I wasn't naked," she snapped.

"Not entirely. No. But I have a good imagination."

"I was hoping you'd handle what just happened like a gentleman, but I won't let my disappointment last for too long."

"Oh, come on, Becca, don't be that way. I enjoyed seeing you in your panties. I know it's not appropriate to say so, but I'm just being honest."

Thank goodness she was tending to breakfast so he couldn't see the shock on her face.

"Sorry I scared you, though. Didn't know you'd be here. Where's Tim?" he asked.

"I don't know, actually. I figured he ran to Ben's." Ben was her father's best friend; he lived down the road in the opposite direction of Jase's family. Sometimes they helped each other out for various things. It wasn't unusual for her dad to be up and at 'em at the crack of dawn, but it had struck her as odd that he hadn't made coffee. "I made him breakfast. I figured he'd be here by now."

"He's not outside. But his truck is here. He must have taken the Buick into town," Jase said, his voice contemplative.

"Yeah, maybe." That worried Becca. He would have taken the truck to Ben's. Surely if he'd had an appointment he would have told her last night. Then again, she had gotten in close to eleven and they hadn't spoken too much before going to bed.

"You hungry?" she asked Jase. "I'd hate all this food to go to waste in case he doesn't come right back."

Jase eyed her quickly, probably trying to decide if she was just being polite or if her offer was genuine.

She grabbed a plate to clue him in. "Please say yes. I can't eat all this, and to be honest, I'm kind of worried about him now."

Jase pushed off the counter and walked over and stood close to her. Too close. She could smell his aftershave, feel his warmth. He'd removed his coat and hat when she'd gone upstairs, and she loved how he'd pushed his flannel sleeves up to reveal his arms — still lightly tanned from the summer. "You don't have to feed me. But it's not really my style to turn down a home-cooked meal. Especially not one out of this kitchen."

She looked over and gave him a little smile. He'd had plenty of great meals here with them when her mother was alive. "Here you go," she said, handing him a plate loaded with bacon and scrambled eggs. "Hope you don't mind turkey bacon."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Should've Been You"
by .
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.

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Should've Been You: A Man Enough Romance 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
nelriv 3 months ago
This was the third book in the A Man Enough Romance, and I suggest you read the previous two to get more familiarized with the story. This was Jase's book and if you read the previous 2 you think that this is his book about finally getting together with Hannah. I really was not crazy of Hannah I found her to be selfish. I am also not a fan of hero or heroine getting together with a sibling of the person you either love or have loved that just isn't for me, so even though Jase didn't have sex with Hannah they were too involved in their lives for me to be happy of his new found relationship with Becca, she deserved more than what she got and how she got there with Jase, I think what saved it for me was reading about previous couples and my favorite is and will continue to be so is Emily and Reeves I hope we read about their wedding.
Pinky1979 Reviews More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I am not a huge fan of siblings sharing a love interest and this is what I thought this book was about at first. A cross between that and a childhood crush harboured by the heroine, but it is so much more than that and let me tell you why... Rebecca "Becca" Walters always had a huge crush on their next door neighbor, Jase Beckford. Ever since she was ten years old and a twelve year old Jase had moved next door with his family. And even though her twin Hannah, Jase and Becca all hung out together, it always seemed that Jase liked Hannah better. And no wonder, Hannah was always the flirty twin, the twin that knew how to get boys and do everything that she wanted and seemed to have Jase wrapped around her little finger. Unable to stand it any longer Becca moved to the big city, leaving her childhood memories and disappointments behind. It's been 18 years since those days and 5 since she last saw the rugged National Guardsman and she is back to celebrate Christmas with her father with hopes of a proposal from her boyfriend of two years, Brian. But it seems that even though a lot has changed since those childhood days of fantasising, some things still remain the same. After years in the army, Jase is now in the National Guard and living back in his hometown, in the house where he grew up. The Walters have been more of a family to him then his own and he loves them all. And even though it may look like there is something going on between him and Hannah, Jase has always seen her as more of like the sister he never had. As for her twin Becca? Well, she has always kept her distance from Jase and he always believed that he wasn't good enough for her. It seems that old misunderstandings and crushes are about to be revealed this Christmas and it is about to get very very hot ;) The dynamic between Jase, Hannah and Becca may seem a little confusing and even off putting at first. But trust me, like all misunderstandings and miscommunications, the truth brings everything to light and we, along with the hero and heroine see the light and soon after that feel the chemistry and heat ;) can't wait to read more of this amazing series!! Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Monnie777 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this. I have not read the first two book in there series and you don't need to, to enjoy this book. I find it funny how something said at the age of 12 can change how two people view each other. It is amazing as kids how we do that to ourselves. I enjoyed getting to know Bella and Jase. This was a quick read, I read it in less then 2 hours but it is a satisfying read. The scene with Jase and Bella in his room is HOT!! Also this book has hot Military men turned rancher so what's not to love! I would read more in this series. *Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this for my honest opinion*
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
What ifs may keep life interesting, but what about the meant to bes. Should've Been You navigates the nostalgia of first love to present day heartache and possible new beginnings. There are times when it's nice to walk down memory lane, Ms. McLaughlin walks readers through the secrets of the past and presents the treasures of the future. From child abuse to domestic violence and hidden agendas, Becca and Jase have endured it all. Will love be the most risky endeavor of them all? Second chances are anything but easy, but an enduring love is worth fighting for.
JuliaAD More than 1 year ago
It has always been Hannah. Jase has always been attracted to Becca, Hannah's twin, but she didn't like him. He hasn't seen Becca for 5 years and now there she stands in a t-shirt and underwear. When they finally start talking, they find out that things aren't always what they seem. Hannah is now engaged and Becca and Jase are looking at each other with new eyes. Good story.
RomanticReadsandSuch More than 1 year ago
I know that there are quite a few people that didn’t feel this book because of the triangle between Jase, Becca, and Hannah. But it really felt pretty true to life to me. It’s so easy to understand why Jase and Hannah kept moving along in a kind of limbo, especially when everyone seems to expect them to be a couple at some point. Plus those old habits and feelings are pretty hard to turn off. It does seem like Hannah takes advantage of him but part of that are her issues just as much his. With his abusive background it’s easy to imagine why he would be drawn to someone that he can take care of and protect. Poor Becca never had a chance while the two of them are dancing around the what-could-be’s of their relationship. Especially once we find out some of the tricks Hannah used to keep him as hers. There’s a lot of hurts and history and hang-ups at play but it is satisfying when they finally get things figured out. Unfortunately the timing is pretty darn bad. Or good depending on how you look at it :) I’m curious to see Hannah’s story because she definitely didn’t play well here, but we also get glimpses of some issues that explain things some. Not that it excuses her actions but it at least shows a reason for the things she does. There’s a decent amount of drama with all of the misunderstandings and miscommunication, but it helps to deliver an enjoyable secret crush/friends (kinda) to lovers romance. I was so pleased when Jase and Becca finally figure things out and some decades old feelings finally get their chance to shine. *** I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s. ***
RachaelBrown More than 1 year ago
Becca and Jase are both likable characters and I enjoyed their sweet story. This novella was my first introduction to Nicole McLaughlin's writing and I look forward to reading more of her books. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the path life takes us on is far from the path we thought we were in control of. SHOULD’VE BEEN YOU by Nicole McLaughlin is the story of finding who and what you need, even when it has always been there, just not on your radar. Jae discovers that his best friend’s twin may look like her sister, but she holds all that Jace never knew he needed. Becca has always had a secret crush on Jace, but now that she has come home again, that crush is not only re-kindled, it burns like a raging inferno. She has always assumed Jace wanted her twin, Hannah, but perhaps that couldn’t be further from the truth. Will the right twin get the right man? In a tale of mixed messages and a semi-love triangle and that complete failure to communicate, Cupid certainly had his work cut out for him. A quick read that was a little jumbled up in emotional confusion, who is getting engaged to whom, who shouldn’t be getting engaged to whom and Holiday celebrations all bring this tale to life with characters that aren’t as strong as I would have liked, but, the heart knows what the heart wants, it is getting the head to listen that can be tough. Tension and confusion for the characters, only luke warm fuzzies for me. I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.
Hfowler More than 1 year ago
Sweet, small town romance centering around two people who have known each other all of their lives but have thought the other didn’t like them. Jase has always loved Becca but he has also always thought he knew that she didn’t like him at all. He is best friends with her twin sister and when he gets a glimpse of Becca after several years his attraction is as strong as ever. Becca has had a secret crush on Jase since they were kids but he has always been partial to her twin sister so she has kept her distance. Now Christmas brings them all back together and when her sister gets engaged Becca tries to make sure Jase is ok and they start telling truths to each other. But the problem is that Becca is  in a long term relationship and is hoping for her own engagement soon, so when they share a kiss, she feels totally guilty and rushes home. There is drama, strife, passion, secrets and lies all rolled up into a sweet romance about two people finally getting together and finding their true happily ever after. I enjoyed it. It was strong, tense at times, had highs and lows and a good steady pace in development.
Terri_C More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I really didn't want to stop reading it. If I could have drugged my dogs so that I could have read more, I would have! This was a second chance at love trope--kind of. Becca has had a crush on Jase since they were young. She is under the assumption that he hates her, and Jase thinks that she feels that he's way below her. The whole big mess started with something that Becca's sister and Jase's best friend, Hannah, said to both of them years ago. Something that impacted them profoundly. Jess and Jase have a strange symbiotic relationship that complicates everything. It has to end if Jase is ever going to be able to be with Becca. Something else also has to end--Becca's relationship with another man. It's a pretty complicated mess. I felt such a connection with these characters! I absolutely loved Jase! He can be my next door neighbor any day (please!). He and his actions were super sexy! Becca was as wonderful as her sister was not, although Hannah started redeeming herself in the end by pulling for her sister and her best friend. The one thing that shines through is the undeniable attraction between Becca and Jase once they are honest with each other. Is it possible for them to fight their way out of the mess and give their all to each other? Should've Been You is a delightful, sexy romp! I received this book via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Brigittehf More than 1 year ago
Should've Been You is about three childhood friends and how the manipulation of a ten year old impacts on the their lives for years to come. Jase is from an abusive household and joined the army as an escape. Now that he is back, all he wants is a quiet life raising cattles. Becca is the twin sister to Hannah. They don't have much in common with the exceptions of family and Jase. Growing up, Jase and Hannah spent most of their time together whilst Becca was on the outside. They are now in their thirties and this remains the case. Becca has given up on her crush on Jase and is moving forward. Out of the blue, one evening Hannah has an announcement which throws both Jase and Becca. This gets them talking to each other, and they discover that they have been living with a misunderstanding that originated from a childhood lie. The reason for their behaviour towards one another is a revelation that neither of them expects. Well, it's all in the past and they can look to the future. There is one problem though, Becca has commitments of her own. There is no denying the sparks between them, but can they change the current situation? I like the storyline, but the relationship between Jase and Hannah is somewhat convoluted. Her possessiveness and selfishness have caused some damage and she appears to be oblivious as long as she is the centre of attention. She partly redeems herself with her reasons for her insecurities. Becca lives a lie just because that's what one does at that age! She is responsible in her professional life, but acts as teenager in her personal life. Jase is the sensible and down to earth one, out of these three characters. The way everything falls into place at the end is a welcome conclusion. I was kindly issued with an eARC and the views expressed are my personal opinion.
ljtljtljt More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars! Should've Been You by Nicole McLaughlin is a well-written novella. I had a hard time putting it down, because the characters were so engaging and genuine. This is love story between middle school teacher Becca Walters and Jase Beckford, a National Guardsman and rancher. Jase and Becca's twin sister Hannah, have been best friends since grade school. Due to Jase's violent home-life, he spent a lot of time with the Walters family during his childhood. In fact, Becca's dad rescued him after an especially brutal beating at the hands of his father. Becca has always crushed on Jase, but kept it a secret because she thought that he and Hannah would eventually get married some day. With Becca back in town, Jase sees her in a new light, which evolves into much more. I truly liked this novella. The primary characters are tangible and the secondary characters have personality and wit. I found myself cheering for Becca and Jase to work through their misgivings and find their happily ever after with each other. This is the third book from the author's Man Enough series, and it can enjoyed as a standalone. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
Should've Been You is my first book by Nicole McLaughlin. Ms. McLaughlin has delivered a well-written, smooth read. Jase grew up in a home filled with violence. Becca has loved Jase forever but thanks to her sister's shenanigans, they were never able to get close. Their story will warm your heart. Jase and Becca's story is loaded with drama, spice and humor. I enjoyed reading Should've Been You and look forward to reading more from Nicole McLaughlin. Should've Been You is book 3 of the Man Enough Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
carol223CS More than 1 year ago
There was definitely chemistry between Jase and Becca but Becca’s twin put a wedge between them when they were very young. Will they be able to put the past behind them to move forward? The main characters were well fleshed, realistic and relatable main characters. The supporting characters were well written adding flavor to the story. This is intricately woven story that will delight and entertain the reader. A magical, heartwarming story!!! I volunteered to read Should’ve Been You. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press via Net Gallery for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
Should've Been You by Nicole McLaughlin Book starts out with Jase and he's tending his herd as he reminisces as to how he got to this point in his life. Becca is back for a day or two and her father isn't home yet. Her father had rescued Jase from the beating his father had given him one Christmas eve. Since then her family had taken care of him and the others in his family. Twins: Becca and Hannah-both so different but he's been close to Hannah but she's now engaged to be married. Becca hopes to be engaged to Brian soon. Jase left for the army then realized what he wanted in life so headed back to start the cattle farm. She was a mid school history teacher in town. Love how the story follows them each and their separate and together moments over the years. Steamy sex scenes. Misunderstandings and moving forward. Love the holiday celebrations and how they are carried on. I received this review book from St. Martin's Press via Net Galley and this is my honest opinion #Should'veBeenYou #NetGalley
tiggeruoSO More than 1 year ago
Jase is finally happy to be back in his home town and to hopefully have a successful ranch one day. When he comes face to face with his best friends sister the one person he's always wanted but she always thought better that anyone he wonders if this is going to work if she sticks around. Becca is home for the holidays and when she runs into her crush she wants to do anything and everything to try and avoid him but it seems he is more in her life then she planned. Can they be around each other and not let there feelings come to the surface or will what they want ruin relationships with others? I liked how the author didn’t just make the chemistry happen it was a gradual build up and the boom like a bomb going off. This book was super sweet love story. I was a bit disappointed to see it end because I really enjoyed all the characters. I hope to find out more about Aiden and Hannah. This book does have strong language and adult scenes but it was a super fun read. I have not read any of the other books in the series and I had not problem following the story at all. I do want to go back and read the other stories if they are anything like this I am sure they will be just as amazing.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: Turkey Bacon… I have an open mind about many things, I’ll have you know. But the sanctity of pork fat is not one of them. I was just thinking that if you’d been my middle-school teacher, I would not have been able to focus… All men— no matter their age—can appreciate a beautiful woman. Even teachers are fair game for the spank bank. Aiden was a big guy. Goatee, shaved head, enough muscles for three men. Sometimes I miss having a man around. I mean . . . obviously they have their uses. My Review: I enjoyed this quick and entertaining tale of a recent veteran who had returned to his small rural Kansas community while continuing to serve with the National Guard while establishing his new venture into cattle. His human relationships proved to be a bit trickier and considerably more complicated. I had not read the previous books in the series and apparently did not need to as was never confused, although I was feeling the prickling of curiosity as his fellow guardsmen sounded interesting and quirky. The premise was interesting and relevant, the storylines were easy to follow and engaging, and characters were likable and endearing. I was satisfied with the happy for now ending to the blossoming romance and would be interested in continuing the series with all the previous and future installments.
sbart84 More than 1 year ago
Childhood neighbors, now grown have returned home. Jace has moved back to herd cattle and Becca is home for Christmas. Her twin sister Hannah, has always been closer to Jace but Becca has always had a hidden crush on him. Jace has always been close to their family, as he grew up in a troubled family. Loved how their relationship developed. Great characters that were very likeable. Love reading stories from the state that I live in, Kansas!! This was my first book from Nicole McLaughlin and will not be my last.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Should’ve Been You by Nicole McLaughlin Man Enough #3 Fraternal twins Hannah and Becca Walters have been friends with Jase Beckford for nearly two decades. Hannah and Jase have always been there for one another and Hannah has done her best to keep Jase for herself even though her sister had the original interest in him. When Hannah accepts the proposal of a man she has been dating Jase finally feels free and begins to see Becca in a new light. Hannah is jealous of course and Becca’s squeeze of two years puts another creates another issue to deal with but in the end true love conquers all and Becca’s childhood crush becomes her HFN with a definite HEA in the works. I have liked every book in this series but perhaps still like book one the best. This is a simple story of friends finding out they care for one another more than they realized and also realizing that the friendship that could have been more all along was hampered by something said by another when both were much younger. A feel good story with almost spontaneous combustion one the gloves came off…might not have worked if the two had not known one another so long and if Becca had not been crushing on Jase for almost two decades. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press-Swerve for the ARC - This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars
EileenAW More than 1 year ago
Should’ve Been You by Nicole McLaughlin, book three in her A Man Enough Romance series is a girl next door story. I really enjoyed this story about a guy, Jase, finally opening his eyes and seeing the girl next door, Becca, and wondering what he missed by spending time only with her twin sister. It didn’t hurt that Becca had crushed on Jase since they were kids. It isn’t until secrets and old lies are revealed as well as an unhealthy relationship is ended before these two have the opportunity for their own happy ever after. I loved reading this story. Ms. McLaughlin is an excellent storyteller, keeping me interested in this story so that I had trouble putting it down. I highly recommend this outstanding book to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
grammyx3 More than 1 year ago
Nicole McLaughlin has come up with some pretty interesting characters in Should've Been You which is the third book in her A Man Enough series. I enjoyed meeting Jase Beckford in the previous stories. He is a really good guy. His relationship with Hannah is a bit confusing since she seems to use him, but things are different with Becca Walters. Becca is Hannah's twin sister. I enjoyed how they managed to come together after trying to avoid each other for years. The storyline here flowed well and the pace was decent. Nicole Flocton has a good sense of writing realistic but interesting characters. I liked reading this story and seeing Jase and Becca have a happy ending.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Becca Walters has been harboring a serious crush on her twin sisters best friend Jase for years, but in all that time he has seemed oblivious to her existence, and it hurts more than she cares to admit. She has constantly wondered what it is about her sister that he loves so much, they have always had this bond that seems to overshadow everything else around them, including her, and just once she would like for him to see her, like really "see" her. But then fate hands her a little gift... her sister finds her "one," and it's not Jase, so suddenly that bond seems to have become fractured, which means she may finally have her chance with him. Little by little they begin to find themselves spending more time with one another, and soon her secret wish of him finally seeing her starts to happen... as well as some unexpected sparks being igniting too! But can she really step in and take her sister's place in his life... Former National Guardsman Jase Beckford has moved home and is taking over the family ranch, it has been a dream of his for the last few years, and he is more than ready to make it a reality. He has the makings of a perfect new life, his dream job, a nice place to live and settle down, now all he is missing is love... not that he is quite ready for it, but it's definitely on his list of maybe's. When he runs into an old friend he begins to see her in a whole new light and starts to think that all the years they spent growing up together, he wasted an opportunity of really getting to know her... probably because he was always spending time with her sister instead. But now things are a little different, and he wants to see where this thing brewing between them can go, but she has her reservations about wandering into someone else's territory. Should've Been You is a delightful little tale that is brimming with passion, desire, hope and drama! The story line captivated my attention right away and had me flipping the pages just as quick as I could read through them, it's one of those stories that will tug on the heartstrings and have you blushing a time or two!! I really enjoy reading second chance love stories and I have to say this one hit the mark, it was well crafted and the characters had amazing palpable chemistry that could be felt throughout! I highly recommend you add this one to your reading list, it's sure to warm your heart and leave you with a smile on your face!
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. This was a beautiful story of finding love in a place and with someone you've known all along but now you're looking at differently. Jace and Becca have known each other their whole lives. After all he is her sister's best friend. So what if Becca has had a crush on Jace for as long as she can remember. She'd never do anything to come between her sister and Jace and she's certain they will eventually end up together. Coming home for Christmas this year has Becca reevaluating her life and relationships and hoping for things she knows she can never have. Or can she? A recommended read.
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
Three and a half stars. Hannah and Becca Walters have lived practically next door to Jase Beckford their entire lives. His father was abusive and ever since their father brought him beaten to their house when he was 14 years old he has been a part of the family. Hannah and Becca are fraternal twins. Due to a misunderstanding about that night Becca and Jase have always felt that the other disliked them whilst being half in love with each other (not sure even I understood that sentence!) whilst Hannah and Jase have been best friends, but never lovers, in a slightly dysfunctional way. When Jase walks into the Walters' kitchen one morning and sees Becca, half-dressed, leaning into the fridge all his old lustful thoughts come to the fore, but Becca is in a long-term relationship and is expecting an engagement ring for Christmas. Instead, it is Hannah who gets engaged to her musician on-again, off-again boyfriend. Can Jase and Becca uncover the misunderstandings from the past? Is their chemistry the start of a relationship or are they destined to be a one-night stand? What about Becca's boyfriend? I enjoyed this. Although it can definitely be read as a stand-alone (as I did) I did feel that I was missing some backstory. It was short, only 144 pages, and I felt it could have done with being longer to fully develop the story. I am also intrigued to read Hannah's story - gonna look out for it next. I received a free copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
onemused More than 1 year ago
I have some mixed feelings about this book. While the description of "Should've Been You" goes all-in on a long-term crush and love between next door neighbors, it ends up being somewhere between rebounding and crush-turning-more. Jase has lived next door to the Walters family and the twin daughters, Hannah and Becca, for years. Their family became his family after the father rescued him from beatings by his father. Based on a misunderstanding (lie told by Hannah) when he was rescued as a teenager, Becca and Jase have always been a world apart (despite that Becca has had a crush on him for forever). He thought she was stand-offish and rude, and she knew he didn't care for her but not why. Since then, Hannah and Jase have had a "thing." He is always (for 10+ years) Hannah's back-up until someone else comes along, and she is his number one. Hannah gets engaged to her current boyfriend, and Jase's world is thrown into a tailspin (I don't consider this a spoiler because it's in the synopsis). He should finally be getting over her. Right after the engagement (which he and Becca witness), he kisses Becca for the first time. Does he actually have feelings for Becca or is Hannah's twin sister a good replacement for Hannah? Although the book wants us to think the former, most of the evidence points to the latter. Even the sections from his perspective feel like he's pining for Hannah. I think there is a lot trying to convince us that he has moved on, but it almost seems to point to the fact that he has not (he constantly defends Hannah and thinks of her feelings first, seems to fall into her possessiveness even after the engagement, etc.). I was hoping for a sweet romance between long-time neighbors and crushes- what I feel like I got was something different with rebounds and sibling rivalries to be had all around. I would have preferred if Jase and Hannah had a teenage romance that ended or something clearly in the past where he was over her well before this book happened. This is not to say that the writing isn't good, because it is! I think if you are in an angsty mood (which sometimes we all are), this book is perfect- there's a wealth of misunderstandings, crushes and broken relationships, etc. However, it wasn't what I expected. I liked Becca, but couldn't really get into Jase/Hannah, and it made it a tough read for me at times. Overall, I think it's not quite what I expected, although it is well written. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.