by Melanie Harlow
book #2 in the One and Only trilogy
Goodreads Rating: 4.15 Stars
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Sometimes your first love deserves a second chance.
He was my first crush, my first kiss, my first everything.
But I’m not a lovesick teenager anymore, and I’d never let that cocky troublemaker break my heart again.
So when he shows up out of the blue asking me to have dinner with him “for old time’s sake,” I say I will. After all, it’s been twelve years, and I’m stronger and smarter than I was back then.
Except…he still does something to me. He’s got those eyes that make me weak, those hands that drive me wild, and a body I can’t resist—especially once I see the tattoos. It doesn’t take long for our trip down memory lane to go from sweet to sizzling.
We’re just as good together as we were back then—better, even—and I’m willing to give the only man I’ve ever loved another chance.
But he’s got to tell me the truth.
* * *
All I wanted was to see her again. Tell her I’m sorry. Make her smile.
Okay, that’s a lie. I wanted to do more than that—a lot more. But I know she’s better off without me, and I promised myself I’d behave.
Except I’ve never been much good at keeping promises…or my hands to myself when I’m around her.
I can make her laugh, I can make her cry, I can make her body surrender to mine in ways that neither of us could have imagined back then. I can—and I do—love her more than she’ll ever know.
But I can’t tell her the real reason why I’m here.
And I can’t stay.
Per usual, I read this trilogy completely out of order but if you were considering reading it, just putting this into the universe: that is totally fine, each book can be read as a standalone.
Only Him was such an emotional second chance romance following Dallas and Maren. There is something about rekindling flames with your first love type stories that I yearn for. It’s like this slight hold on innocence, but now we’re adults and it’s interesting to see if we love each other the same now that we have time and life experiences on our side. With Maren you instantly get the sense that she needs some sort of closure with her and Dallas’s situation. Same with him, which is basically how the story kicks off. Dallas has some medical issues and makes the decision to go see her after all these years to apologize for how things ended.
I think what’s going to stick with me most about this story is Dallas. He has some family drama. He was the screw up kid, always compared to his older brother who got the good grades, stayed out of trouble. Dallas was always in trouble, dropped out of college and does tattoos for a living. The author really wrote the growth of Dallas as a character well. We see him choosing to be miserable and he gets called out on it. We see how things aren’t always what they appear. We see Dallas and his brother work towards mending their relationship, and Mister Perfect Big Brother shares with Dallas a situation that humbled him. It really opened the conversation on, as a man, being okay with being vulnerable.
The relationship between Dallas and Maren kicks off kind of fast, I mean the two already have so much love for each other, so I didn’t mind. They definitely make up for lost time, but Dallas’s medical issue is a big part of the conflict and he takes the opportunity for Maren to be there for him, away from her. You have two people who obviously love each other, yet it’s so complicated.
Minus the medical issues and family drama, this book felt like a love letter to first loves we don’t get closure on. I think everyone remembers their first love, but if you found yourself in a situation like Maren’s, it makes total sense how, regardless of how much Time has passed, that you’d still be fixated on them. I thought Melanie Harlow captured that so well.
If you are already a fan of Melanie Harlow’s I think this back list title is definitely a must read. I have chatted with a few friends who admitted this was their least favorite book in the trilogy..and I will say, book three remains my favorite, but Only Him is still very good. Very sexy, and very emotional, but so worth it.