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Monday, June 7, 2010

No Longer Mine by Shiloh Walker

No Longer Mine by Shiloh Walker
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (167 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Fern

One woman, one man, and a love that won’t let either of them go.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks and dealt a fair share of hardship, Nikki Kline never gives up a fight. Even when her reason to keep going is ripped from her, Nikki tries desperately to hang on. But when the man who broke Nikki’s heart comes back into her life she doesn’t know how much she can take. Especially since that man seems determined to win back her damaged heart.

Wade Lightfoot is a man who knows he’s made more mistakes than most. As much as he would like to repair the damage he’s done to those he loves, Wade also knows there is no going back. But when he sets out to put things right the last thing he’s prepared to find out is that he had a son. A son he’ll never get the chance to meet.

When the truth is out and all the old wounds are bared, it seems impossible that Nikki and Wade will find their way back to each other. But true love is an undeniable force that even past hurts can’t destroy.
The title lured me in -- No Longer Mine. As someone who enjoys a Shiloh Walker story, I expected to be swept away. In some ways, I was. In others, I was left in a weird emotional funk. This isn’t your average romance with a bit of conflict and a heartwarming HEA, although in ways it does come close.

The premise, though simple, is also surprisingly complex. Once upon a time, Nikki and Wade shared a tumultuous and all consuming love. They adored each other, lusted for each other, and yearned for each other in a way that anyone that’s been in love can understand. As their impending marriage loomed, neither could imagine life without the other -- until a fight resulted in Wade getting drunk and sleeping with the wrong girl. When Wade reveals the consequent pregnancy that has occurred, Nikki is devastated. Although they share one final tryst, she wakes in the morning and leaves him behind. Little does she know that Wade has given her a parting gift -- a son -- that will allow her to move forward despite the pain. It’s not until an accident claims the life of her son that Nikki learns the true meaning of loss, but by then, she’s too far gone to care. It’s not until Wade returns -- now a widower -- with his young daughter in tow that the pain resurfaces and she’s forced to not only deal with the misery of grief but face the man she’s never stopped loving.

While I did enjoy No Longer Mine, I will confess that it was extremely difficult to like the Wade and Nikki at times -- and my strong reaction to them made it evident that the characters were very real to me. Yes, Wade did something stupid. Yes, he knows it. However, his treatment of the one woman he’s always loved is often arrogant and appalling. He fully expects her to confess her undying love now that he’s free to return to her arms and his attitude when she does not paints him in a less than glowing light. Of course, Nikki’s angst and heartache, while understandable, carries on for so long I wanted to give her a firm shake and tell her to get over it. I’m not undermining the loss of a child, but rather, grew tired of the constant “I want him, but I hate him” jive. By the time I was finished, I felt emotionally drained, and not entirely in a good way.

There are positive things to be said, however. The writing is quite good, the pace is fast, and the story does keep your attention. I wondered how the HEA would apply as this is not your average romance and, although it’s a tad contrived, it does manage to wrap things up with a bow and ensure those who need closure receive it. Although a reader should be prepared to read material that isn’t light or fluffy but dark and raw, I would recommend No Longer Mine to anyone searching for a story that creates strong emotion and reactions. Nikki and Wade, though flawed, are very real characters. Ultimately, that is what makes a story memorable, which No Longer Mine certainly is.