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Should’ve Been You

A Man Enough Romance

by Nicole McLaughlin

Childhood neighbors get a chance at love in Should’ve Been You, an achingly romantic novella in Nicole McLaughlin’s Man Enough series!

National Guardsman Jase Beckford wants to live a quiet life raising cattle and taking care of his mother. His childhood friend and neighbor Hannah is still his best friend, but when he walks into the Walters house one morning and sees her twin sister Becca for the first time in five years, he wonders if he missed out on something special.

Becca Walters has nursed a secret crush on Jase since childhood, but he always preferred Hannah, so she buried her feelings assuming her sister and Jase would one day turn their flirtation into a real relationship. And this Christmas, she is anticipating a proposal of her own, so Jase’s reappearance in her life doesn’t mean anything. Much. Okay, maybe more than Becca would like to admit.

However, when Becca’s sister gets engaged to someone who’s not Jase, Becca and Jase find themselves spending more together. And when secrets are revealed, suddenly those dormant feelings come back to life; but is the possibility of something between them worth risking the happiness of everyone they love?

I know that there are quite a few people that didn’t feel this book because of the triangle between Jase, Becca, and Hannah.  But it really felt pretty true to life to me.  It’s so easy to understand why Jase and Hannah kept moving along in a kind of limbo, especially when everyone seems to expect them to be a couple at some point.  Plus those old habits and feelings are pretty hard to turn off.  It does seem like Hannah takes advantage of him but part of that are her issues just as much his.  With his abusive background it’s easy to imagine why he would be drawn to someone that he can take care of and protect.

Poor Becca never had a chance while the two of them are dancing around the what-could-be’s of their relationship.  Especially once we find out some of the tricks Hannah used to keep him as hers.  There’s a lot of hurts and history and hang-ups at play but it is satisfying when they finally get things figured out.  Unfortunately the timing is pretty darn bad.  Or good depending on how you look at it 🙂  I’m curious to see Hannah’s story because she definitely didn’t play well here, but we also get glimpses of some issues that explain things some.  Not that it excuses her actions but it at least shows a reason for the things she does.

There’s a decent amount of drama with all of the misunderstandings and miscommunication, but it helps to deliver an enjoyable secret crush/friends (kinda) to lovers romance.  I was so pleased when Jase and Becca finally figure things out and some decades old feelings finally get their chance to shine.