I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Series: Man Enough #3
Published by Swerve on 2018-01-30
Length: 250 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2018 New Release Challenge
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?
Should’ve Been You by Nicole McLaughlin is a sweet, contemporary romance about childhood crushes turning into more. The third book in the Man Enough novella series, each novella focuses on a different couple. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, it’s okay. These can be read as standalone novels. I had not read the previous books and found that I wasn’t lost and it was easy to read. I really enjoyed it!
The story revolves around Jase and Becca. Jase has returned home, starting a cattle ranch after being in the service. I like Jace. He’s dependable, loyal, and a little vulnerable. Becca has attempted to move on from her childhood crush. He chose her sister over her as a friend and she respects it. She’s insecure when it comes to her sister and understandably so. Yet she’s also confident in her job and her boyfriend whom she expects a proposal from. I like Becca too but she makes some choices I don’t like or agree with.
So the premise is that Jase and Becca have grown up together, but a misunderstanding has them each thinking the other doesn’t like them. This is kind of like a second chance for them. Becca’s home for the holidays and Jace is back to living next door. When he walks in on her making breakfast one morning, he decides it’s time to put the past in the past. They are both adults now after all. Usually I like these second chance / childhood sweetheart romances and it’s true of this one, however I did drop it a star.
This story pits Hanna and Becca (twin sisters) against one another over Jase. Hanna is the best friend and also the cause of the misunderstanding. The story explores their insecurities over one another and the resentment it causes. Personally I didn’t care for this aspect of the story. Aren’t twins supposed to have a special bond and why would you do what Hanna does to two people you care about? And then there’s the fact that Becca has a guy in her life already. I loathe cheating y’all!
Overall, Should’ve Been You is as its name suggests. It was an okay read for me. Definitely not a favorite! I liked Becca and Jase, but I hated the circumstances they were in and the drama that followed. I felt that this story would have been served better as a full-length novel instead of a novella. The plot and romance were rushed, not giving enough time to really fall for the two characters. If you enjoy contemporary romance, I’d give it a read. You may think differently than me.