Thursday, October 17, 2019

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

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Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Source: advance galley provided in exchange for an honest review

Say You Still Love Me is an irresistible read that's told through Piper's POV - her 16 year-old self and her current adult self. I genuinely like the format for this story because one, it shows any differences between younger Piper and the older version, and two, I like to see not only what the parallels are between the two time lines but how they eventually converge.

Piper is a hardworking and enterprising woman who's being groomed to take over her father's real estate development company once he retires. Her father has high expectations of her and she plans to prove that she can lead the company and its people. She's completely blindsided by Kyle showing up out of he blue after disappearing from her life all those years ago. They had met as counselors at summer camp where their attraction was instant. He was her first love which made it hurt even worse when he cut off all contact with her after that summer was over. Seeing him ushers back a rush of feelings. She still loves him and never stopped loving him, that she is certain of. Despite his cool demeanor toward her she's determined that they will finally resolve their unfinished business because she deserves answers and she'll get them.

I'd say that this was a slow buildup as the answers she's seeking lie in the past which is rehashed in increments. Tucker captures beautifully the wide-eyed and innocent crush that Piper felt for Kyle back then. I could feel her excitement at crushing on the seemingly bad boy and knowing that he's also checking her out. She also explores that tricky age of developing friendships and wanting to fit into a group as evidenced as here when she meets two other young counselors who will eventually become her best friends in the future. It's interesting to see how those bonds started - because it wasn't easy - and evolved into what they have today. In the present, they allude to an incident that occurred during that summer but the reveal doesn't come until almost the end of the novel. It's shocking in both the past and present. 

I liked this second-chance romance that also puts a significant focus on Piper's career and the various hurdles she faces. One of them being a misogynistic long-term employee who seeks to undermine her any chance he gets. We get to see how Piper problem solves and navigates her way through the office politics. The other problem is her ex-fiancé who holds out hope for a reconciliation. He starts off a bit of a douchebag but does become slightly palatable in the pages ahead. Much later ahead. The standoff she faces with the one troubling employee is part of the subplot that brings Piper and Kyle working together. It's not exactly a mystery but there is some sleuthing involved. 

K.A. Tucker is a good storyteller of first loves, heartbreaks and atonement. She's excellent at capturing the initial spark that sets off everything and taking you on that journey from the teenager years through adulthood. Say You Still Love Me is a splendid journey! 

~ Bel

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