“I want to make you smile like you mean it.”
The day Cole Lannington says those words to me, I already know I’m falling. Hard. For a man I can never have. Because there’s no way in hell I’ll ever deserve a man like him.
All I need to do is keep my head above water. Push a little harder. Keep that smile plastered on my face for my son as we try to wade through the new life that’s threatening to drown us both.
But on the first day I can’t seem to hold it all together, I meet him. And for some reason, he comes to my aid. Before I know it, Cole steps in and becomes an important part of my life. Our lives. Fills a void left vacant by a man who never wanted to fill it in the first place.
Too bad he can never be more than a friend.
All I need to do is be a nice guy to my new neighbor. Make her smile a little bit. Find space in my tidy, structured life to ease the burden she carries so she and her son can enjoy life without the bastard who treated them like they were insignificant.
I don’t expect to talk and laugh and feel a warmth in my chest I didn’t know was missing until she showed up at my door. Somehow I end up caring about her more deeply than I should. But my friendship with Annie opens my eyes to what it could be like to have something deeper. To feel something stronger.
To fall in love like I mean it.
[I received a copy from the author for an honest review]
Like You Mean it by Jillian Liota is a contemporary romance about family and finding your happily ever after.
Pregnant and single mother Annie is Cole’s new neighbor. They quickly become friends, and he lends a helping hand when needed. The bond he grows with her son Jones and his friendship with Annie makes him realize maybe he has been missing something from his life. Annie is thankful for the friendship she’s found with Cole and it helps in her ability to move on from her unhealthy relationship with her ex and realize her self-worth.
This story is sweet but at the end I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. I enjoyed Annie’s character and felt for her back story. I absolutely loved her son Jones, I have a soft spot for stories with kids in them. Every interaction between Jones and Cole was absolutely adorable and I loved every one of them. I wanted to love Cole’s character but I didn’t, yet I adored his parents. I just didn’t understand why he was the way he was with relationships and it killed me that it took more than half of the book to drop his horrendous girlfriend. I felt like I kept waiting for something big to happen and it didn’t.
I think Like You Mean It will be perfect for readers who want a single mom contemporary romance with a feel good vibe.
“We’re both a mess. But if you never have to deal with a bit of chaos, you never know the joy of what comes after.”
“I just want to see you smile like you mean it. And I promise you, that comes from a place inside of me that just wants your life to be better than something you have to brave to get through. I just… want you to be happy.”