All He Ever Desired

All He Ever Desired - Shannon Stacey Lauren Carpenter and Ryan Kowalski have some uncomfortable history. Years ago, he asked her to leave her husband -- Ryan's best friend -- and run away with him; she said no, and they've been avoiding each other since. Now Ryan's temporarily back in town to help out his family and Lauren is divorced. When her teen-aged son vandalizes the Kowalski's property, they're forced to deal with each other -- and realize how much they're still attracted to each other. This is a story for readers who like realistic but easy-going romances, in which people act like adults for the most part (Ryan's brother Josh is a notable exception) and nothing too dramatic happens. There's some laughs and a few hot scenes -- Ryan is kind of a straight arrow, so the contrast of him cutting loose in the bedroom really spiced up his character. But I missed the verve of the previous Kowalski series; the small town setting, secondary characters, and subplots of this one just don't add as much fun as the boisterous family togetherness did, and when the whole family showed up briefly for a wedding, it only made me miss them more. I appreciated the way the story ended, which is realistic and not typical of small-town set romances. Lauren and Nick agree to move to Ryan's home, which is seen as largely a positive change because of the greater opportunities in the city, and Lauren does not back down on not wanting to have any more kids. A magical small-town ending would have been all wrong.(reviewed from e-arc provided by NetGalley. The book is currently available in ebook form; the paperback is scheduled to be published 2/26/13.)