He’s the man she left behind, but never forgot… Laurel Moore might have had to leave her prized job as an assistant chef in one of NYC’s swankiest restaurants to take care of her brother and mother after her father’s death, but she’s not giving up on her dream. Nope. She’s going to turn her father’s debt-ridden, greasy spoon bar and restaurant into a destination gastropub that will bring life back to her small, struggling town.

Laurel faces resistance on all sides, but it’s running into her first love, reformed bad boy Jonah Gardiner, that really throws her off her stride. Worse, he’s more tempting than ever. Spurred on by Laurel’s rejection a decade ago, Jonah cleaned up his act and became an academic and psychologist, who helps everyone understand their feelings except himself.

He can think of a million reasons why he and Laurel need to stay at arms’ length, but when she shares her new recipes with him, it seems like foreplay. And that’s just the beginning… Can he and Laurel seize a second chance or will she destroy the peace he’s worked so hard for?

Titles in The Van Allen Brothers series include – Forgive MeForget Me

Title:  Forget Me
Series:  The Van Allen Brothers #2
Author:  Kimberley Ash
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  June 3, 2019
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4 stars

It’s not always easy to realistically portray the mindset or the recovery process of a recovering alcoholic or those headed down that dark path, yet Kimberley Ash has given us the ultimate results of alcoholism and the true battle some people fight against every single day while weaving a touching second chance romance for Laurel and Jonah.  If alcoholism is a trigger for you then you have been warned.

I have to admire Laurel for the strength to leave not only her family but the young man who she loves but is following the same downward spiral as her father has her entire life.  She cannot save any of them – not her father, her brother or the man she wanted a future with.  So, she left town and headed out to follow her own dream.  Returning after her father’s death (directly related to his alcoholism) to run the family bar, try again to deal with her brother and knowing that she’s opening up a door that was best kept closed – running into Jonah after a decade apart.  Losing Laurel was a much-needed wake-up call for Jonah who has cleaned up his act, gotten himself sober and is now a practicing psychologist.  Having her back in town is as much of a temptation as staying away from the drink he so often “needs” but denies himself.  Somehow they’ll have to co-exist in this small town – or maybe there’s hope for them after everything they’ve gone through.

FORGET ME is an emotionally intense story with characters that are completely believable.  Their struggle to get through each day, to carve out a life for themselves in spite of circumstances is evident and simply makes their story more realistic.  I’m tempted to call this a bit of a slow burn, their chemistry was off the charts but they have a lot of history to get beyond before they can hope for a future – but that doesn’t mean the feelings of a decade ago simply go away, we feel them fight those feelings with each encounter.  I was emotionally engaged with Laurel and Jonah – I’d not hesitate to recommend their story to any Romance reader.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story.  It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for the Kindle