Title: In A Hearbeat
Series: Lifetime #2
(Can be read as a standalone)
Author: Ariadne Wayne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Cover Designer: Sprinkle On Top Studios
Photographer: Michael Meadows Studios
Vanessa Brown has the perfect life. Newly qualified as a doctor, she has a loving boyfriend, Connor, and the world at her feet.
But when Vanessa suffers a tragedy, her whole world crumbles, including her relationship with Connor.
Vanessa starts her life over, only to find that new isn’t always better, and the mistakes of the past sometimes come back to haunt you. Even when they’re not your own.
This book is a follow-up to In A Lifetime, but can be read as a standalone.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Oh Vanessa. If I could reach into the book to give her a hug, I would. She was an amazing friend and ally to Matt in In a Lifetime and I loved her pretty much from the moment I met her.
This book gets right to it. Vanessa has suffered a miscarriage and she is struggling. She just wants things to go back to normal, but that is impossible. Vanessa and Connor's life has been forever altered. Connor does his best to comfort her, but Vanessa sees it as him being overbearing and eventually she reaches her breaking point. They part ways and Vanessa finds herself alone for the first time in a long time.
Vanessa throws herself into her work and never really deals with the loss of her child. She makes friends with a fellow coworker, Will, and his wife, Ali, and they become her saving grace. They are there for her when she needs a friend or just a shoulder to cry on.
“Connor’s seeing someone else.”
I didn’t even know why I told him; the words fell out of my mouth before I could think them. It had hung over me since the day Jacinda told me. Burning away in my belly, the pain of him moving on had eaten away at me little by little, even if I had been the one to break up with him.
“Sorry to hear that. I guess it was kind of inevitable.”
“Whose side are you on?”I glared at him, although it wasn’t his fault this had consumed me.
“Yours, but I feel sorry for him. Somehow he put up with you being so cranky and insufferable, and that was before all the crap you both had to deal with.”
“Thanks a lot.” I couldn’t stop my lower lip wobbling as tears stung my eyes.
He sighed, and slid an arm around his shoulders. I leaned my head against him, tired and numb, wanting to go home and sleep.
“I’m glad we became friends, though. I think my life would be a lot more boring if you weren’t in it.” He kissed the top of my head.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you and Ali.”
Will shook as he laughed, and I placed my hand on his chest to anchor myself. “You’re such a pain in the arse. But you know what? That’s what I think endears you to us.” He let go of me and stood, holding out his hand for me to take. “Underneath the snark is a girl with a heart of gold, one who feels far more than she lets on.”
I slid my hand into his. It was strong, warm, comforting. Pushing myself off the ground, I stood.
“That’s why you need to get help. See a counsellor. Talk to someone about this, because it’s still doing your head in.”
I averted my gaze.
“Vanessa, it’s past the point of being okay now. You’ve broken off a long-term relationship, and you’re trying to deal with all this by yourself. I don’t care how tough you think you are; this isn’t right.”
The tears turned into a stream, turned into sobs, and Will pulled me into his arms while I cried on his shoulder. He was right. Connor had been right. I’d made this mess of my life because I couldn’t deal with what had happened, couldn’t face up to how much it had devastated me.
“I’ll get help,” I whispered.
Before meeting them later in the book, Connor says something along the lines of "I already love them...they took care of you when I couldn't." They were exactly the friends Vanessa needed.
There were moments when I felt the pain she was going through and my heart just ached for Vanessa. She worked too much. She didn't really have friends, except for Will and Ali. And when she tried to get back into the dating scene, she misjudges the whole situation and when that goes south, she ends up in the last place I would expect her to go. It was a wonderful part of the book and I totally get why she went where she did. It was such a nice little twist that I definitely did not see coming, but one that I absolutely loved.
Throughout the book Vanessa goes home to visit her family and we get lots of Ella and Matt. Yayyyy! They are both still amazing, but in this book Ella ups her game to a level I didn't know she had. At one point she goes all out Mama Bear and I found myself grinning like a loon. Don't even think about hurting someone Ella loves because you do not want to deal with Mama Bear. And Matt. **sigh** I just love him so much. The two of them have settled in their life and they are doing wonderfully.
If you have read In a Lifetime/In an Instant, this is must read. I laughed. I cried. I booed. I cheered. And while I can never fully understand what Vanessa goes through, Ariadne did a great job of helping me understand. And while this book is about Vanessa and her journey, I certainly cannot forget about Connor. I ADORED him. He really was the perfect partner for Vanessa. He understood her on a level that no one else did and really was her other half. And I wanted more of him! That would be my only critique of this book...MORE CONNOR! Maybe another novella? Pretty please? :-)
Ariadne Wayne is the alter ego of Wendy Smith. She loves books and lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Having always had a prolific imagination she now writes the words down instead of storing them in her head where she can't share them. When she's not writing she works in Telecommunications, frequently banging her head on the desk with the random things that can happen to the ordinary phone line.