A new adult novel from Entangled's Embrace imprint... Sometimes it takes letting go of the past to find out who you want to be.
During his semester abroad, Griffin Reed almost gave his heart to a girl who loved someone else. Lesson learned. Now he's home, where following in his father's footsteps may not be what he wants, but it's what his parents expect. It might be taking the easy road, but he doesn't see a way out.
Something that could have killed Maggie Kendall took away the person she used to be instead. Her condition makes her dependent on sticky notes, photos, and medication just to get through each day. The last thing she needs is a distraction—or someone new to disappoint.
What they refuse to see is they are perfect for each other. Maggie makes Griffin want to be a better man, and he makes her believe a future is possible. But these two have to find a way to share the secrets ripping them apart, if they're ever going to have a chance at happiness.
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By A.J. Pine, Nicole Steinhaus, Karen Grove
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 A.J. Pine
All rights reserved.
Where is it?
Shit. Shit. Shit. Where is it?
I always put my phone right back on the nightstand after I wake up. Step one is turning off the wake-up alarm. Step two—turn on bus alarm. But I can't freaking remember if I turned on the bus alarm because I can't find the phone, the one that should be sitting right where I'm looking.
It's not that I don't recognize the irony. Girl sets alarm on phone so as not to be late for bus. Girl can't remember where she put phone from the time she woke up until right this moment.
It's been a harrowing thirty minutes. Miles will feel like shit if he has to dock me a quarter-hour's pay again. Then I'll feel like shit for making him feel like shit. The usual.
I rifle through my drawers and medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Again. No luck. When I see the bus schedule I taped to the mirror, I flip it off for good measure. It doesn't matter now if I know the time because I can't leave without the phone. I am more than naked without it. I'm helpless.
In the kitchen, I half expect to find it in the freezer. Wouldn't be the first time. Instead all I find are my pills sitting on the counter with a sticky note reminder that reads: Morning dose.
I thought I took them already, but I'm going to trust the Post-it. I always trust the Post-it. And a girl and her blood thinners are almost as good of a pair as a girl and her cell phone.
That's when I hear the DEFCON 1-style alarm, the one specifically for my bus reminder, coming from my room. Here I thought the new alarm-tone would work in my favor, but I didn't take into account that it wouldn't matter if I didn't know where my phone was.
The sound is muffled, but I chose that alarm for good reason. Even if the phone was buried six feet under, I'd at least be able to identify the land under which it was laid to rest.
I follow the sound back to my room, to my nightstand, exactly where it's supposed to be. In the top drawer, under a small towel, is my phone, yelling at me that I'm getting close to missing the bus.
"I know!" I shout at it. "But you need to come with me, got it?"
Smooth move on my part. The towel triggers a memory from last night—Miles texting to say good-night as I washed my face before bed. I must have walked in here to return his text, patting my face dry with the towel that just stole most of my morning prep time. Shit. I may not remember my bedtime routine, but I do remember when towels weren't such a threat to my daily routine. I laugh, the bitter sound audible even amid the noise still erupting from the drawer.
I grab the rogue cell, turn off the alarm, and pivot to leave the room.
After two years of putting my life back together, I'm still startled, sometimes, when I see the bulletin board on my wall. It's the tool that keeps me going and also the reminder that in seconds—literal seconds—one angry blood vessel can alter the course of a girl's life.
I run the tips of my fingers over the miniature Polaroids—one of each of my professors, captioned with their names and the courses they teach. Many more are of customers, and for a few seconds the tension eases at the recognition of those who are now regulars—Amber from the movie theater, George and Jeanie—the ones who never roll their eyes when I mess up an order or hesitate before greeting them by name.
I step from my bedroom and yank the door shut behind me.
"Right here, Paige."
I give her a cursory wave as she stands in my open apartment doorway.
"Sorry. I let myself in when I heard the weird alarm. And the shouting. Is everything okay?"
I nod. "Just trying not to miss the bus. I'll be late for work if I do."
She glances behind her, down the stairwell, and when she turns back to face me, she cringes.
"What?" I ask.
She shrugs and tries to force a smile. "Do you mean the bus that just drove away? I could hear it from my room. I wish I had a car, Maggie. I really do."
"Crap!" I grab my coat and bag, making sure not to let go of my phone, and push past Paige and down the stairs. Maybe I can catch it at the corner.
As I risk my life hopping down the stairs two at a time, I hear Paige yell from our hallway.
"Hey, Maggie! You forgot to lock up again! Want me to do it for you?"
"Yes!" I shout, and I'm out the door and running—for a bus that just turned the corner a block away and is now out of sight.
* * *
Don't be late.
No Hi or Hey or anything other than an echo of my mother's words from last night's voicemail.
On the way.
I text back when I hit a stop light, shaking my head that Nat has stooped to Mom's level.
Don't they know? I'm a Reed. Anything less than ten minutes early is certifiably late, according to the family handbook. I've had twenty-three years of practice, going so far as being born a week ahead of my mother's due date. If there's one thing my family can depend on, it's a Reed being on time. In my case, that's about the only thing they depend on, except my sister's text tells me I might not even have that going for me anymore.
I'm already ahead of schedule, having given myself an hour to make a thirty-minute drive. I don't blame my sister. If she hadn't sent the text, Mom would have had Jen or Megan do it. Besides, once they see my face, the time of my arrival won't mean shit. Like I said—they can depend on me to be there, but the state I'm in when I show up is anyone's guess.
I laugh at the thought of my father's first glimpse of the swollen, purple skin beneath my right eye. Ouch. I wince, the laughter aggravating the still-developing bruise. I knew the girl was at the bar with someone, but she was a willing participant, which means she used me as much as I used her. Too drunk to truly feel the crack of her boyfriend's fist against my face, I retaliated only for show, leaving the asshole with a split lip and me with a split knuckle ...and my face the picture-perfect image of the would-be mayor's son. Sometimes it's nice to feel something other than numb, and this morning I'm definitely feeling something.
I laugh again when my eyes fall to the fading ink on my hand. She still gave me her number.
At the next light I grab the water bottle from my drink holder and down the whole thing along with a few ibuprofen tablets. I may not be able to change the way I look, but I can at least get rid of the hangover and increasing pain. Coffee. I have time for coffee. I flip on my turn signal to head a couple miles off-course, step on the gas, and then just as quickly pause when I see her—a girl on the sidewalk, walking backward, thumb in the air.
Her eyes meet mine, and she smiles. It's not like she's the first girl to smile at me, but shit this girl is beautiful. Even with an intersection between us, that much I can tell. Instead of turning, I cross the intersection, flipping on my hazards as I pull over to the curb and open my window.
"Are you ... hitchhiking? For real?"
She looks at me, eyes narrowed. "My thumb in the air didn't give it away?" She takes a step closer. "Is that what the last hitchhiker did to you? If so, I can understand your hesitation. I'm pretty fierce."
I smirk, followed by another wince. Shit. Her sarcasm doesn't faze me. But her auburn hair hanging in two long braids, freckles, and pale pink lips, those do. I'm officially fazed. "But you're in suburban Minneapolis. And it's damn freezing. Who hitches a ride out here?"
Better yet, who stops for a hitchhiker in the 'burbs?
When they look like this girl, I sure as hell do.
She steps off the curb and walks right up to my passenger door. Her bravado falters as she struggles to rest her elbows on the window's frame, my truck taller than she seems to have anticipated. I smile but bite back the gesture as she regains her composure.
"It's thirty-five degrees in November, and I have two miles to go. Are you going to give me a ride or not?"
Her hands, covered in fingerless gloves, tap in anticipation against the door.
"So you're just going to get in the car with a complete stranger?"
She cocks her head to the side and fixes her gaze on me, then smiles.
"I trust your eyes."
I arch a brow. Shit. Gotta remember that hurts.
"Probably the most trust a girl has ever given me." I smirk.
She isn't fazed. "Bruised or not, you can tell a lot about a person from his eyes. Plus ..." She leans in through the window. "It's warm in here, and I'm still standing outside."
I glance at the immaculate interior of my Ford Expedition, at the buttons on the center console indicating the warmers for my leather seats. Then I look back and watch her eyes roll. Disdain? Impatience? Probably both.
"Crap," I say under my breath but not quietly enough.
"Excuse me?" asks this annoyed Pippi Longstocking hitching a two-mile ride. And there's something in that voice, in her I've-got-you-figured-out expression, that should warn me not to mess with her. But I give my judgment the morning off. Hell, I'm pretty sure I gave it extended vacation leave.
"I was just imagining your inner monologue. Can't believe this asshole is making me wait in the cold while he cranks up his heated seats. Something like that?"
"Something like that." But I see it; she's fighting the upturned corners of her mouth.
I unlock the door and reach across to open the passenger side.
"Ahhh, so Pippi knows how to smile."
She doesn't respond at first, her quick wit suddenly lost in her faraway green eyes. When she clicks her seat belt secure, the sound jolts her back from wherever she was, and she turns to me. "Nope. It's the eye," she says. "Must be distorting your vision."
"Ouch. Pretty harsh for the guy who just saved you from the cold."
"I don't need saving." Her words are calm, but her eyes are now focused and sharp. "But thanks. For the ride. I didn't know it was going to be this cold out today."
Then without warning, she extends her left hand toward my face, but I don't flinch when she rests it against my cheek. Her thumb sweeps across the swollen skin under my eye, and I suck in a breath, partly from the tenderness of the bruise and partly from the tenderness of her touch. My eyes fall closed when she doesn't pull away, and I hear her breathe in.
"This is new?" she asks, and I open my eyes and nod, impressed she didn't ask the obvious question: Does it hurt? Her gaze moves from my face to the broken skin on my hand, and she chews on her lip. "Let me guess. I should see the other guy?"
I shrug. "He threw the first punch. I threw the last." I don't mention that, with the combination of Scottish whisky and my eye swelling shut, it was nothing more than luck that I even made contact. And I sure as hell don't tell her it was because of a girl.
Nope. No mention of the asshole's girlfriend who kissed me anyway or that the kiss was merely provocation for him to introduce his fist to my face.
It's been almost two years since I said good-bye to the girl I never intended to fall for, especially when she was falling for someone else. Then the text came last night.
Jordan: How's my favorite Minnesotan who used to live in Aberdeen? We're going to see you at the reunion Thanksgiving weekend, right? Please say you're coming! Miss you!
We. A hard word to miss. Not I, but we. It's not like I don't know that she and Noah are still together, that they're the real deal. But I wasn't. Real, that is. I don't blame her. I never promised her a commitment. In fact, I offered the opposite—fun with no complications. And that's the only way she ever saw me. It's what I do best. I'm all about the fun.
I still haven't responded, at least not to Jordan. No, I saved all my responding for a bottle of Drambuie and some chick on a mission to piss off her boyfriend.
I remove Pippi's hand from my face.
She reaches into her massive brown purse, emerging with a cotton ball and a small travel bottle filled with clear liquid. Flipping up the spout, she pours the stuff on the cotton ball and reaches for my face again. This time I do flinch.
"What the hell?" Before I can finish protesting, the cotton ball touches my skin, the cool liquid immediately soothing the angry-looking bruise.
Pippi smiles and then grabs my hand, gently guiding it toward my face so I can relieve her from cotton-ball duty.
"Witch hazel," she says. "Soothes the skin."
"And you happen to have it with you?"
"I happen to have a lot of things with me. Nothing wrong with being prepared. For whatever might happen. It's helping, isn't it? So don't knock my preparation."
She's got a point. I nod. "Thanks." I don't know what else to say or how else to respond. No one's ever taken care of me like this, let alone someone I barely know.
I'm vaguely aware of the cars honking as they pass us and realize we should get moving before they think we're in trouble.
Again she reaches into that magic bag and retrieves ... a camera? Before I have time to react, she snaps a quick photo of me, and immediately it prints from a small rectangular opening.
"I didn't know they still made those," I say, hoping she's on the verge of telling me where I'm taking her.
Her fingertips grasp the photo, waving it lightly while she watches it develop.
"Wanna see?" she asks.
Our hands extend at the same time, and my fingers brush hers as I grab the photo. My skin against hers jolts something inside me. Again, that distant voice shouting its warning. And again, here's me ignoring it.
"Two things," I say as my eyes shift to the item in my hand. Why the fuck am I smiling in this photo? "What's with the camera?"
When I take a hesitant breath, she grabs the picture back from me and asks, "And the second thing?"
"Right. Uh, where am I taking you?"
I steal a glance at my phone. At this point I should panic at the time. But I don't.
She lifts her bag. "Preparation, remember? And you're taking me to Royal Grounds. The coffee shop. Are you late for something?"
Traffic is light now that I'm out of the city, so I back into the intersection, to the right turn I initially intended to make.
"No. I'm not late." The total lack of sureness in my voice says otherwise, but for some reason I don't care. "And you've gotta be shitting me. I was on my way to Royal Grounds."
She shifts, leaning her back against the door so her whole body faces me.
"I'm almost always late, to the extent that people would probably be disappointed if I was on time." She regards the photo in her hand. "I'm glad I'm not taking you out of your way, but just in case ..." She opens the window and tosses out the evidence of her photo ambush of me. "If you try to kill me in the next two miles, that picture exists, and someone will find it—with both our fingerprints on it."
I throw my head against the back of my seat and laugh, this time ignoring the pain. "Yeah, Saturday morning in the suburbs is prime murder-your-hitchhiker-on-the-way-for-coffee time. I thought you said you trusted my eyes."
She shrugs. "You never can be too safe."
Safe. I let the word hang in the air for a few seconds before responding. "And hitchhiking is safe?"
She sighs. "I like to think of myself as a creative transportation enthusiast."
I roll my eyes. "That's not a thing."
"It's a thing if someone does it," she starts. "I'm doing it, so it's a thing."
"Is it a thing you do on a regular basis?"
Her smirk fades. "No." Her eyes roam around the car. "Please tell me this is a hybrid or some newfangled electric beast."
Nice change of subject, Pippi.
I open my mouth to speak but first pet the dashboard lovingly. "Don't worry, sweetheart. She didn't mean it. You're not a beast." I glance at my passenger who doesn't share my affection for the vehicle that saved her from the early November chill. "No. It's not a hybrid. It's a car that gets me through Minnesota winters. Why?"
She taps her index finger on her pursed lips. "What you must spend on gas, not to mention your carbon footprint—"
Excerpted from What If by A.J. Pine, Nicole Steinhaus, Karen Grove. Copyright © 2014 A.J. Pine. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
Truly loved this read. I'm a huge NA reader and would rank What If up there at the top of my lists! I *might* even be tempting to add Griffin to my favorite book boyfriend list. Ok, I already added him to the list. Can't wait to read more AJ Pine.
I really lovved this book, i just wish there was a epiloge
I loved the first book in the series, but this one spoke loudly to me. Beyond the raw emotions of finding one's path after years of fear, both characters find themselves through hope and trust. This YA novel is closest to the Judy Blume novel I always hoped for. Romance, yes; sex, sure; but getting to accept one's self is where this story shines brightly.
Not my cup of tea
I swear this was one of the most heartfelt stories I've ever read. I couldn't get enough and just want more.
I believe this story was more enjoyable to me than the first one. Griffin was one of the best characters I have read in a while great read
I didn't really like Griffin when I first meet him in Only If and not because of anything he did I was just totally team Noah when it came to Jordan but I was super happy to hear he got his own book. Griffin still has his issues he's running from and just doesn't know how to man up to his family but I love that he grows up and fight for what he wants and what he wants is Maggie. Maggie has her secrets too and just doesn't know how to let go of the hear. Which is understandable but I love that she does for Griffin. I loved getting to see what the old Aberdeen gang is up too and just wish that made we get a novella of a certain Greece trip...maybe please =) All in all I gave it 4 stars just cause at times I was frustrated with this two but I loved how it all worked out in the end.
This is the second volume in the serie "If Only" and is the first I read from this author. I must admit that the first chapters did not captivate me. I did not feel gripped, nor motivated to read about a boy that only things he does is drink, engage girls and walk fightings just because he does not want to feel whatever it is. Also did not attract me the idea to join this boy to a girl that forgets everything, so that she has to have to take pictures of people to be able to remember them. It's a little sad if you get to think about it. But is not the first time it happens to me: Get a book and not be grasped immediately. This was another who managed to captivate me from the time when things starts to become more serious and yet more scathing. To a certain moment the dialogues were confusing and boring, and then more or less from the fifty page things really starts to get much, much better. So, let's move on to the story and its characters. I particularly loved Griffin. I do not know why. Just liked. If at first he seemed a futile and womanizing guy who is able to take the first woman who appears to him home (= bed), from the moment we know why he actually offers this picture about him, things starts to run very well to his side. He is gentle, careful, attentive and generous. And it is also a tormented boy by his father to be someone like himself in life. He has three sisters who are absolutely fantastic and a super cute and smart niece. I loved the relationship he has with the sisters, despite all the bad atmosphere experienced between him and his father whenever he goes to his parents' house. However, Maggie just gave me the wish that, in most cases, I could get into the story and give her some mighty slaps to see if she woke up and saw the great guy she had before her.Although I find Maggie a sweet girl, above all she is too upset and dramatic. It would have been much easier if instead of her ruin all the good times they had the two, she had just trusted him and confessed that she suffers a health problem that did not allow her to be like other girls or even as she had been a few years ago. I did not like the fact that she always make the decisions for him, without even knowing what he would say or act in a situation or other. She always did what she wanted with the excuse that she was doing it because she did not want him to suffer because of her illness. For the Love of God! Not that she was dying or anything. She suffered from temporary amnesia episodes and severe migraines. The only thing she could do was be honest with him, just as he was with her. He let her enter its world of parental conflict, loving traumas and a solitary life despite the kind of life he lived. I feel solidarity with Maggie because I know very well what are strong headaches and I am familiar with all the symptoms and how it leaves us completely finished. Just do not understand her position in not wanting to tell him, the person who has always shown that loved her above all, regardless of whatever tormented her. He accepts her friend, her way of push him away and little by little he will gain her love and trust. This story gives us a great lesson of how we must trust eachother and how we must open our hearts and our minds to the love of others. Love can be around the corner. In case of Maggie and Griffin was only a hitchhiking;) Great Story!
What If is A.J. Pine's second book in the If Only Series, If Only been the first book which I did not read prior to reading this book. Now, What If can be read as a stand-alone, the author does a good job explaining what happened in the first book that I see no need to read it unless you actually want to know more of Griffin's past. After spending some time abroad, Griffin Reed has come back home ready to move on with his life. Having learned a few lessons on love, he knows that he is not ready to give his heart to anyone anytime soon. But that soon changes when an unexpected encounter makes him question whether giving his heart to Maggie might just be what he needs in order to move on. Maggie Kendall has lived her life with a condition that requires her to depend on her closets friends, and on her trusted sticky notes, photos, and medication to get by. It is important to her to take pictures of just about anything in order to remember people and/or events. Now the last thing that she wants is a distraction, and not just any distraction, she can't afford to have a romantic relationship with anyone, afraid of disappointing the other person. Take a turn of events and she meets the one person she can't seem to forget or get enough of. She does everything to establish a safe distance between her and Griffin, but destiny has other plans and he keeps coming back to her. Afraid of not taking a risk, she decides to give him a chance, and that's when their relationship takes off. As the two start to learn more about each other, she learn about Griffin's past love and of his family. When she learns that Griffin might not be strong enough to adjust to her condition, she turns her back on him, but Griffin is determined to win her back no matter what, and to do that he is going to have to make decisions that might just change his future for good. What I enjoyed about the book is how complex the characters are, they both have their own pasts that they want to move away from, and the author does a good job exploring that. It was beautifully written, and realistic enough that it made it enjoyable to read. Now I do wish there was more development towards the end, it felt a bit rushed. The characters have an instant chemistry that was carried throughout the book, that worked really well. Overall, I would definitely recommend anyone to read the book, even though I didn't read the “first” book, it would be fine to read What Ifas a stand-alone novel. *ARC provided by Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review*
4.5 stars LOVED What If! What If ticked all the boxes for me, loved Maggie and Griffin the characters (even the supporting ones) loved the storyline and loved the writing. A.J. Pine has written a heartwarming love story that will make you laugh, swoon and shed a tear or two. I was left with a heart full of so many feels, loved What If and highly recommend it.
I loved this book! This is a unique story about a girl, Maggie, who has a condition where her short term memory is affected. She can remember some things, but needs a lot of visual clues and reminders. Griffin is following the path that is set out for him by his father but is unhappy and acting out. He's a bit of a man-whore and doesn't think he deserves more. He had his heart broken 2 years ago when he fell in love with a girl who is in love with someone else (this happened in book 1, If Only, which I did not read yet.) I love these characters, they are both damaged in different ways. I loved how this story unfolded, the un-date, the supporting characters (Griffins sisters and Miles), there is just so much I loved about this book, it is a definite 5 star read for me. I really hope this author is going to continue with this series, maybe write about Griffins sister Nat or even Miles. I loved this and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique romance! Fantastic!!!!
Fighting fate is fated to fail in this great romance! WOW! A great story about people determined not to date each other because of their past records and possible futures but there are too many forces at work to let them get away with this - love must have a way! Really enjoyed this well written traumatic tale which has great characters with whom the author makes it really easy to relate. It is a heart warming tale that grabs the reader, immersing them into the scenarios and making them feel all the dilemmas, angst and turmoil experienced by the characters as their story unfolds. Maggie Kendall had her life turned upside down and inside out after having a brain trauma two years ago. She easily forgets people, places and events but is starting to get her life back together again by using sticky notes, an instant print camera, the photos she takes and quickly annotates and medication together with some very special, supportive friends. Griffin Reed is reluctantly following the path determined by his parents and constantly wants to rebel. He did have a year out when he almost gave away his heart but now he’s not sure there’s any way he can leave the path set out by his father. When the two meet, they are determined not to date, not to have a relationship with each other and not to share their pasts. What if they stick to this? What if they accidentally fall in love? What if life and all its elements interferes with their plans? Like the UNO cards, what if they turn up and get the full deck? A brilliantly related story which I highly recommend. Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley too for letting me read this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
What if? What if…you were afraid your own body would betray you in a way that’s possibly deadly? What if…you were known as a player and no one saw you as anything but? What if…you were afraid to fall in love, but that’s exactly what happens? These are just some of the things Maggie and Griffin deal with in What If, a fantastic, realistic, unique New Adult book by AJ Pine. I really liked Griffin in If Only, but his part in the story left me with a bittersweet feeling. I was also left feeling curious about this apple-shampoo-scented player, so when I found out he was getting his own story, I was excited. As much as I liked Griffin in If Only, I loved him in What If. There’s so much more to him than meets the eye. Both he and Maggie are incredibly complex characters. They’re both afraid to get involved in something serious because of their past experiences, so when they decide to ‘not date’ each other, they just want something fun and light. They get a lot more than they planned on, though, and I loved watching them progress from friends to something more. Their interactions ranged from sweet to swoony to frustrating to sexy to heart-achingly beautiful. Some of my favourite things about What If (that you totally won’t get unless you read the book, so READ THE BOOK): Gilmore Girls, Wild card, spray paint, Polaroid camera, ground rules, MILES, Chicago, fancy lattes, reunion, sexy shirtless nerd reading in bed. There was so much to love about this book, and these things just barely skim the surface. Pine did a fantastic job with the dual POV. There was never any repeat information, and Maggie and Griffin both had really strong, distinct voices. The secondary characters were fantastic, too. I liked Griffin’s sisters, and I LOVED Maggie’s best friend, Miles. He was incredible. I’m definitely rooting for him to get his own book. *nudges AJ* ;-) It was also amazing to see some familiar faces. I won’t get into spoiler territory, but there was a scene with certain characters from If Only that had me squeeing and happy crying. What If is a beautiful, engaging story about self-discovery and love. I loved the emphasis on family and friends, and the romance had me invested from the very beginning. This story made me laugh, cry, and swoon. I can’t wait to see what AJ Pine writes next.
Amazing read!! So glad to see Griffen (from If Only) get his HEA. Loved the storyline which is different from anything I've ever read. Very enjoyable. Back home after spending a year in Scotland, Griffen Reed is simply floating through life doing what is expected of him. Maggie Kendall is struggling through each day trying to get back to normal. Can these two be the answer that heals both their souls? You definitely want to read this one.
This romance treats us to the story of Griffin and Maggie. Griffin is coasting by, finishing his college degree with no idea of what he'll do in the future except knowing that he doesn't want to follow in his father's business footsteps. Maggie struggles daily to cope with a traumatic brain illness that has affected her memory, focusing on her studies and her job one day at a time. When Griffin picks up a hitchhiking Maggie on her way to her coffee shop job, he can't get her out of his mind and makes a point to come back and see her. The attraction between them startles them both and a no strings attached, 'let's see what happens' affair seems like an easy prospect - only as their feelings for each other deepen they both realize that the only way to have a future together is to be willing to share their secrets with each other. Will opening up be worth the risk? When Griffin was introduced as a main character in the author's first novel in the series, If Only, (standalone but worth the read too!), I was delighted to find out that he would get his own happy ever after and this story definitely held up to the standards and quality of writing I have come to expect from the author. What an intriguing plot, to have a memory challenged heroine! I loved every aspect of the story, in particular the first person point of view of both main characters from which we are able to see Griffin's self doubts and Maggie's as well, for completely different reasons. Griffin is a player, used to non-emotional relationships after having his heart broken and is determined to keep closed off to the possibility of love. He knows his lack of decisions about his future frustrate his family. Maggie challenges him to do better, to decide what he wants for his future and go after it. Maggie's issues, stemming from her illness and subsequent memory problems are perfectly understandable. Yet she too must make the decision to move forward with her life, in this case by having a real relationship with Griffin. The sexual tension between the two of them is well written and leads to some steamy love scenes, made all the more meaningful as they start to fall for each other. Maggie's friend Miles is also a key character in the story, pushing Maggie to leave her comfort zone and take a chance with Griffin, at the same time being loyal to her and their friendship. I'm hoping we'll see more of him in the future. Overall I found this to be an entertaining and delightful read with warm characters, a sweet romance, and a couple who deserve their happy ending. 5 stars!