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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One Good Reason by Sarah Mayberry

One Good Reason by Sarah Mayberry
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (281 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranathemum

It's time to move on

Any day now Jon Adamson will pack his bags and hit the road. After all, his intention was never to hang around Melbourne once he'd settled his late father's affairs. Yet he hasn't moved on. And it might have something to do with Gabby Wade. The not-so-big office manager with the really big attitude is making Jon's days…interesting…engaging…fun. It's impossible for him to resist her.

But he knows himself—long-term commitments and cozy family dinners aren't his style. If that's what the future holds, why is he still here? And why is he spending all his days—and nights—with Gabby? Because maybe she's the one reason strong enough to make him stay.

This book left me amazed and astounded as to the emotional scope explored between a man damaged by an abusive childhood and a woman strong enough to stand by his side.

At first the story starts off cheeky and I thought it was a shallow battle of the sexes, fun but light. Instead it takes a hard look at the internal scars and the ramifications it has on an adult as he tries to survive the acute trauma from growing up in a household of fear. It’s about the special woman who sees beyond the stoic exterior and attempts to heal him with the power of love. That’s the simple beauty of this absolutely wonderful story called One Good Reason.

Ms. Mayberry has crafted a masterpiece. There is not one scene that didn’t fit, not one sense that wasn’t explored, and the topic was treated with respect, understanding, compassion and hope. At first, like the initial blush of romance, there was the honeymoon stage. But Gabby and Jon are not your typical lovers. They fight like cats and dogs and it’s pretty darned funny. But the author feeds little snippets here and there letting a reader know that it’s not all fluff and light. There is a darkness, a haunting that is pummeling the hero into an emotional pâté and, typical for a guy, he won’t talk about it. Gabby, on the other hand, needs him to face it, shine a light on it and talk it out. But Jon won’t let her in. And there’s the hook. He’s in pain and his pain is her pain but is the heroine strong enough to see it through? To do what it takes to heal him or make him want that healing?

Readers are in for an intense drama filled with all the things that make a relationship worth fighting for. Just like life, there are highs, lows, laughter and tears. There’s fear, anger and hope and delight. And what would a romance be without a healthy dose of lust? Jon and Gabby are dynamite. Literally.
Ms. Mayberry wrote one of the sexiest and volatile scenes I’ve read in a while. Everything that led up to it was a tease, a seduction and when push came to shove, it was a no holds barred, anything goes moment filled with such intense passion, it knocked my socks off. It was only the first of many scenes during the course of the book that were simply genius. It was because of how they affected me, made me think and made me react that makes this story stand out.

Another thing I found amazing were the secondary characters, specifically Jon’s brother Tyler and his wife Ally. They were a credit to the story and to the hero and heroine. Their inclusion didn’t undermine or soften the importance of Jon and Gabby, but strengthened them, made them more real and more personable. It was like visiting a bona fide family – with problems. I can tell the author connected to her characters because she took such care to craft them to be as perfect as they could be. I loved the dialogue, the interactions between them and the moment of catharsis towards the end. It was beautiful, poignant, heart wrenching and influential because Jon and Gabby weren’t an island, they were part of a family. It was that team effort that made this story so powerful and it worked for me.

It’s not all drama and serious intensity however. Gabby is a riot. I loved her sense of humor and her saucy wit. I laughed out loud many times throughout and the best part is when she dragged real laughs from Jon too. They really were fun together and it’s those laughter filled frolicking times that kept me connected and committed to the characters.

The happily ever after is sigh-worthy. I mean it. I had to re-read it a couple of times like I would rewind a movie, to experience that perfect moment again and again when it all comes together and the hero and heroine kiss and make up and declare their undying love. True to the story and to her characters, Ms. Mayberry ended the book in a way that matched what came before. No fake frills but real emotion.

One Good Reason is a book that should be made into a movie. It has all the elements that would win it an Oscar. I adored getting to know Jon and Gabby. I wanted to hug Jon because he tried to be so strong and carry so much pain on his shoulders. I was thrilled with Gabby because she truly never gave up, even when she felt she should. The love was there but so much poison had to be excised first for it to grow and reach its full potential. I was moved by this tale and I thank Ms. Mayberry for a truly remarkable reading experience. Readers who look for a book that talks to the heart and the pure romantic inside can’t go wrong by reading One Good Reason. Just make sure a tissue box is handy nearby.