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STAYING FOR GOOD
Most Likely Series, Book Two
Montlake Romance, Contemporary
January 24, 2017, First Edition
Paperback & Kindle
In Staying for Good (Most Likely To #2) by Catherine Bybee, after being picked as the person most likely to stay in her hometown after graduation, Zoe Brown was determined to make sure that didn't happen, even if it meant leaving her high school boyfriend, Luke, behind in River Bend so she didn't end up like her mother. Now ten years later, she finds herself at a crossroads. Should she return to River Bend and finally settle down, or continue her traveling adventures as a celebrity chef?
Luke Miller has never gotten over Zoe, and wants her back in his life, especially with the decisions she's trying to make about where to finally settle down to live. Knowing she escaped River Bend to get away from her family, how could he ask her to return to settle in a place that holds a lot of bad memories. Will Luke and Zoe get the second chance at love they both deserve, or will Zoe's past continue to keep her leaving town?
Catherine Bybee is an author who I eagerly await a new release by, and after having been introduced to the three women -- Melanie, Zoe and Jo -- in the the first book of her Most Likely To series, I couldn't wait to dive into this story. From start to finish, this story was highly entertaining, fast-paced and a book I couldn't get enough of, because of the situation the heroine faces with her family and the growing relationship between Luke and Zoe.
As for the dialogue, it was intense due to the main characters back stories, especially that of the heroine. Really, I could sympathise with her reasons for needing to leave town and explore the world doing what she does best -- cook. Zoe, her mother and her siblings have experienced what it's like at the hands of a monster and how can she return to River Bend only to be reminded of painful memories that have no chance of dissolving with the news she receives and the reactions of the rest of her family. The way they accept the person that hurt them back into their lives is unacceptable. No way can she forgive and forget. Luckily, Luke and her best friends are there for her through thick and thin.
Both the main characters had me hooked by their back stories, their growing relationship and the challenges they face on their journey to happy ever after. Would Luke's love for her be enough to overcome Zoe's fears of failing to be everything he deserves? Can Zoe find it in her heart to forgive her family, or will she give up on them all together? However, the main characters weren't the only ones that impressed me since this story wasn't only told from their points-of-view. Getting to know more about Zoe's friend Jo was a real delight and definitely piqued my interest for her book. Moreover, I enjoyed the teasing banter between the main characters and the secondary ones. They want Zoe and Luke to be happy, and if they need a little push towards the other to achieve a second chance together, those that share a tight bond with the main characters are determined to make it happen. Because that's what good friends are for - helping each other find happiness, especially when they've already found their own.
Getting away from River Bend was what Zoe needed all those years ago, and she's accomplished a lot when it comes to her career. Indeed, she's strong, brave and I liked how determined she was to finally face the past and discover whether she can put it behind her to be with Luke. While the hero, I loved how far he was willing to go to be with Zoe. He has some major decisions to make, because he's never lived anywhere but River Bend and I liked that he was willing to make such hard decisions in being away from the people he loved most -- his family -- because Zoe was worth it and deserved to have someone put her first in their lives for a change.
Overall, Ms. Bybee has penned a wonderful novel in this second book of her Most Likely To series where the strong romance spilled over into the pages in nicely detailed sex scenes that illustrated how much these two still loved each other. The way this story ended was perfect, as it helps Zoe to heal from the hurts of her past and bring her closer together with her siblings. However, it was the very end with what Zoe's friend, Jo, is going through that has me wishing I could read her story right now. I would highly recommend Staying for Good by Catherine Bybee, especially if you enjoy second chance romances.
Zoe Brown may have been voted Most Likely to Never Leave River Bend, but the paper-thin walls and suffocating air of her family’s double-wide trailer were not what she wanted for her life. Other than BFFs Melanie and Jo, the only thing that kept Zoe sane during high school was her boyfriend, Luke.
She didn’t just leave, she escaped—turning her back on the shame of her black-sheep siblings and imprisoned dad. Now a celebrity chef in Dallas, she can afford all the things she never could have growing up. But when she returns to rustic, ruggedly beautiful River Bend, Zoe has to face all that she abandoned—including Luke.
While Luke was a refuge for Zoe in the past, he knows they inhabit totally different worlds now. Anchored by his parents and his job as a mechanic in his father’s shop, Luke never felt the urge to leave River Bend—until Zoe’s return.
But when the two rekindle their old flame, Zoe is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: remain in River Bend and confront her past before it destroys her, or say good-bye to everyone she’s ever loved…again, this time for good.
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.