We are absolutely ecstatic to bring you the Release Day Launch for Ann Aguirre’s AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME! AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME is the second novel in Ann’s New Adult Contemporary Romance 2B Trilogy Series, published by Harlequin HQN! If you haven’t already read I WANT IT THAT WAY buy it NOW. We can’t wait for you all to read it so you can dish with us about it!
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AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Synopsis:
Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.
Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.
Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
Mom was asleep, so I checked my email. I had the usual spam, plus notes from all my former roomies, which made me happy. I missed all of them, even Max, though things were unspeakably awkward between us at the end. I opened Nadia’s first:
LB! You know I miss you like crazy, right? Courtney’s in your bed right now, and she has completely alphabetized my books. I’m pretty sure there will be a lending library program implemented the next time I get home from work. So how’s Nebraska? Did you find a job yet? Have you started applying to any schools? I have like ten more questions but you’ll get grumpy if I dump them on you all at once. Hug and kiss my family for me, okay? Write back soon or I’m sending my brother to track you down.
She didn’t mention the hot single dad she’d broken up with right before I left. Mr. Hot Ginger had dumped Nadia for her own good, which would drive her quietly crazy. I’d felt horrible about the timing, but there was little I could do about it. I hadn’t gotten to know him well before I left, but Ty seemed like a good guy. He was only a few years older than us, but already had a four-year-old. That was the crux of the conflict.
Writing back, I didn’t quite nail the tone, talking about Rob too much and inventing interesting anecdotes because there was so little going on. I could’ve mentioned Krista, but Nadia had never been as close to her, and there was some tension by the time she moved. Mostly I didn’t want Nadia to worry; things would be fine once I got a job and had less time to fret about whether I’d made the right decision.
I opened Angus’s email next:
Hey, you. Got your check. It appears not to be rubber, but I said you didn’t have to pay me back. I hate you for leaving. Come back right now. I’ll wait. This is me, waiting. It’s been at least five minutes. You’re shattering my faith in humanity, Lauren. Take responsibility for it! Not sure what you’ve heard from Nadia, but she’s such a hot mess. I can’t believe you abandoned us. All the light has left my life. All of it! Okay, enough drama. I’m working on getting over Josh. Classes suck but I will survive. (You’re singing it now, aren’t you?)
“Damn you, Angus Starr. You know me too well.” I got up on my bed with a hairbrush and sang two verses before reading on.
In all seriousness, there is a Lauren-sized hole in my life. Please don’t lose touch. Write soon. Love and hugs, Angus.
It was simpler writing back to Angus; our friendship was sweet and uncomplicated. Briefly I considered deleting Max’s email without opening it, but that seemed like an asshole move. In the end, I read it, two lines only:
I’m sorry about everything. Take care of yourself.
Grab the whole series today!
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.
Lauren tried hard to fit in with everyone else’s idea of a perfect life after high school. College far from home is #1 on everyone’s list. Except she learns pretty quickly that it’s not what she wants. Now, she has flunked out of college and is back home to get back to her roots. She is starting over, doing it her way this time. Her way, includes a normal job and taking college classes online, where she can do her work in peace and never has to show up for class. Her way also includes getting many a glimpse at her high school crush, Rob. Several years older and her best friend’s older brother, Rob should be completely off limits, but she can’t fight the attraction that grows stronger every day. Rob is that guy who does great in high school, hot football star, but who seems to fade away after graduation. Lauren sees so much more in him and it’s time she make him see it too. Can she finally make all her high school dreams come true or do some wishes have an expiration date?
Lauren that socially awkward girl who gets the makeover and suddenly becomes popular. The thing is, though, she never really stopped being the socially awkward girl. She has severe anxiety that she hides pretty well with the party-girl persona. Underneath she’s constantly freaking out and would much rather be at home with her computer playing video games or coding something. She is still a nerd and a dork and she’s growing prouder of that fact every day. I liked having a leading lady that was socially awkward because that’s something I can relate to.
Rob, however, is the best character here. He is completely confident about his looks but nothing else. He’s parents have always focused on Nadia’s brains, making him feel wholly inadequate. He isn’t on his sisters genius level and everyone makes comments that it’s a good thing he’s so handsome because there isn’t much else too him. Instead of sulk about this revelation, he accepts it and moves on. He’s the brawn, not the brains, and his life will follow that path. Working in construction, where he can use his hands and learn a simple trade is exactly what he needs. He has dreams of starting his own furniture making company, but doesn’t believe he has the competence to achieve it on his own. His lack of confidence in himself was also something I could relate to. I’m never confident of my ability to do anything (beyond read, read, and oh yeah! read!), so it was nice to see the male version of that for once. NA is filled with overly cocky guys who believe they can do anything. That make me relate to him and the fact that he is a total sweetheart made me swoon. He’s that sweet boy next door who will do anything he can to help you. I love him. He’s definitely in my top ten list of swoon-worthy males.
I loved that this skillfully avoids the cheating thing. It would have been so easy to allow Rob and Lauren to fool around before Rob and his girlfriend break up, justifying it because they are meant to be. Aguirre skillfully avoids that issue because neither character is the cheating kind and I’m eternally grateful for that. I hate the justified cheating angle and I’ve avoided more than one New Adult novel that gets rave reviews because of it.
There were only a few things I wasn’t crazy about. The first one is the light we put Nadia in. I adored Nadia in the first book and though I realize everyone is flawed, I don’t like how she was portrayed here. Lauren is a little irritated with her because she doesn’t put up a fuss when she goes from an introvert to an extrovert, luck it’s Nadia’s fault for not realizing Lauren is burying herself in this new persona. Everyone changes to some extent in high school and it’s not Nadia’s fault that Lauren didn’t share the extent of her anxiety problems. She’s not a damn mind-reader! I also never got the confrontation scene I was expecting between Lauren and Rob’s parents. I know Lauren loves them, but she was also highly irritated at the way they treated Rob. He’s smart and sweet and their lack of faith in him really set his self-esteem rolling downhill. I was expecting at least a polite chat over that, if not a full out smackdown and I never did get it.
Beyond those issues, this was an amazing novel. It isn’t quite as good as I Want It That Way, but it’s pretty close. Lauren’s tale is the complete opposite of Nadia’s and it was thrilling to get a completely new perspective. Rob is the stuff that our fantasies are made of hot and buff but still sweet and kind. I think if you enjoyed the first book or just want a great New Adult novel, then you’ll love this!
****Thank you to Harlequin HQN, Ann Aguirre, and Inkslinger PR for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****