Side By Side Synopsis:
What would you do if your childhood best friend, your soul mate, and the one person that means more than anyone else in the world was suddenly in front of you after disappearing from your life ten years ago?
Would you risk your stable life, to allow them back in to your heart, even after they had left you without any explanation?
Katy Lou Reynolds needs to make a choice. She can either ignore the fact that Elijah Trent is standing in the middle of the cage about to fight, or she can face him and demand answers as to why he left her.
Is it worth risking her heart for her one true love even though she knows it may get broken again, or is it better to let him walk away?
When Katy Lou tags along with her boyfriend to an Underground Cage fight, the last thing she expects to find in the ring is her childhood best friend, Elijah. Seeing him again brings back distant memories - a drunken mother, an absent father and relentless school bullies. Most of all, it re-awakens the feelings she had for him. Elijah has always held her heart; but after he left her when they were fourteen, without a word, can she risk everything to let him back in to her life again?
Elijah is a great fighter. He channels all the aggression he suffered at the hands of an abusive father in to every fight, every time. His success feeds his lifestyle of new cities and endless women, eager to spend time with him. His one regret has always been leaving behind his best friend, Katy Lou. There's nothing he wouldn't give to see her again, but if he does, would she forgive him for leaving her and risk her heart?
So, I'm always excited to read a good reconnection/second chance story, and this one combines that with a sort of friends-t0-lovers vibe as well (since the first time around our couple was only fourteen years old). The circumstances under which Katy and Elijah are together as children and teens are extremely difficult, with both of them having troubled home lives (especially Elijah). This fuels an intensely close friendship between them from a very early age. But then they're torn apart without notice, causing both of them anger, sadness and broken hearts.
Once they find each other again about a decade later, it's almost as if they pick up right where they left off-that's how powerful their connection was then and is now. But now you have to throw in the fact that Katy has a boyfriend...which causes some stress and complications.
Katy is sweet and empathetic to others, and has become successful at a very young age. For the most part, I enjoyed her character-with the one exception of an indiscretion on her part when she and Elijah reconnect. Elijah is 100% dominating alpha male-protective of Katy since she was a child, hot and sexy (how could he not be as a ripped cage fighter?), though at some times can jump to conclusions when it comes to Katy. The two of them together just feel right.
The story basis is a good one, and the first half was pretty spot on. The second half for me was more of a mixed bag--it felt like there were too many complications being introduced and too much going on (the one that was brought up when Elijah's father visits the gym seems a bit too much for me, and not really needed with the rest of the things going on in the story). I did enjoy the scenes that specifically concentrated on Katy and Elijah, and the difficulties his father's reappearances cause (minus that first one at the gym) because they demonstrate the intense feelings of love and protectiveness they both have for each other...and have had since they were young children.
If you're a fan of reconnection stories, this will definitely be a story for you. Recommended for 18+ due to difficult situations, infidelity, mentions of childhood abuse, and adult sexual scenes.
Wendy Louise Bio:
Hi, I’m Wendy Louise. I’m a wife and mum living in Melbourne, Australia. I love to read and write, and I somehow managed to fit writing this book in between my regular day time duties, which include a full-time job and life in general with two busy children.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After many surgeries and treatments, I learnt that life is short and you need to grab it while you can. I always wanted to write, and I realised that it was now or never.
You can usually find me with a few books on the go at once – whether that be reading them, or writing them. I love chocolate and trashy reality TV. It’s not unusual for me to combine all these and attempt to write, while watching an episode of the Kardashians or The Bachelor, and devouring a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk…..
I am so excited to bring ‘Side by Side’ to you all. It has been such a labour of love for me. I presently have four other novels nearing completion, so I am excited to follow this up with many more.
I hope you enjoy reading Elijah and Katy’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.