Make Me Whole (Oil Barrons Book 1) by Marie Johnston
I had a perfect life. School teacher. Married to my high school sweetheart. Little starter house that we called charming but was really just old. All I needed was the two-point-five kids and I’d be living my dream. Then my husband died.
After the funeral, I had a breakdown that lasted for a month…or twelve. But now I’m reemerging, healing, and finding my way. It’s time to learn who I am, and whether or not I can fix a leaky sink. And by my side the entire time is my husband’s best friend Liam Barron. The single dad knows a thing or two about personal struggles, and about how to replace faucets.
With Liam, I feel alive again. Confident. Capable. Liam has become my best friend too. Except if my parents, my in-laws, and the rest of the town had any say, I’d stay far away from the former bad boy. How do I tell them what’s so hard to admit to myself? That I’m starting to look at him like he’s more than a friend. That the heat in his eyes when he looks at me is also far beyond friendly. That like it or not, I’m ready to move on, and I want to do it with him.
Publication date 18/1/2022
I throughly enjoyed the author’s King’s Series, and when I found out that she’d done a spin off I couldn’t wait to read it.
Kennedy is a widow, she’s still mourning the loss of her husband. It’s only been a year and a half, but slowly she returning to the land of the living. And she owes that mainly to her husbands best friend/cousin Liam. He checks up on her regularly, and she feels like the only one who really understands (Derek’s parents are still grieving and expect her to remain the same way.)
Liam is a single parent (a relationship that ended badly) he dotes on his boys, but wants a better life for hiss kids away from the town he grew up in. Liam is the illegitimate child of the local oil/farming baron, he’s never been made to feel welcome, in fact if his father had his way the whole town would be against Liam and he’s be forced to move away!
This is a friends to lovers trope, and the author has done a great job of dealing with both the grief that both characters feel and the animosity that Liam faces living in the town he doesn’t feel like he belong too.
Liam has always fancied Kennedy, but when his cousin/best friend made a move on Kennedy, Liam was relegated to the friend zone! But ha’d rather have her as a friend than not in his life at all. After losing Derek, looking after Kennedy seemed second nature. Kennedy begins to look at Liam in more than just a friend way, she notices how he cares and how he looks, that then makes her feel guilty at betraying her dead husbands memory.
And when they finally admit how they feel about each other, they have to face the gauntlet of emotions and the backlash from other people!
I’m hoping it’s the start of a new series. We get to meet some of Liam’s siblings in this book, so there is plenty to write about.
Really well thought out and written in a way that you connect with the characters.
So can Liam and Kennedy really be happy in Coal Haven? Or would it be easier to move away and start somewhere fresh?