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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Battling the Best Man ( Harmony Falls #2) By Elley Arden

A Review By Wendy
3.5 Home Versus Big City Stars

As children we see and watch all kinds of things … we see how our parents work and interact with others… we learn how to please them and in turn they make us feel like we did good…
But what if wanting to please our family and them being proud of us becomes a burden… what if we are not able to develop all of the interests we wished to…. because a path has already been laid out. Or if you found your path, what if the push to succeed is so strong it blinds us from being open to love and real happiness.

We have two main characters that have to address those issues in this book. One is an accomplished Doctor… on her way to being a big wig in Chicago… Kory Fleming has worked hard for every achievement, honor, scholarship and now fellowship in medicine she has obtained. She came from a small town, one which seemed to be an accessory to the powerful ownership of the Mitchell Family.

Kory was special, with curiosity, intelligence and drive, sprouting and in full force at a young age. She was always encouraged by her family to excel and do well in any pursuit or interest. When science and medicine seemed to be the path, her family sacrificed everything for her to participate and go to science summer camps and academic advancement programs… nothing was spared for her education from her parents… and on a roofers salary and mom fighting a disability, Kory sometimes wondered how they did all they did for her.  She only knew… her winning all the honors and achieving was the answer they wanted from her… and with that determination she had from the beginning… she put those blinders on and went about making her way in the world, and medicine.

Will Mitchell was on a parallel path… growing up in the real estate focused family had its own challenges… Will’s mind was quick with numbers and was encouraged to succeed at everything… but not through a loving unit… more as it was expected and had to happen. He went through grade school as friends with Kory… it was only natural, the two were the brightest in the class. They were thrown together time and time again as they would be competing for the same honors.
The turning point between these two took place during their being accepted to an advanced math course, Calculus … they were ninth graders thrown in with seniors… a big deal.   Only Will did not stick up for his friend, Kory, when the boys started teasing her with sexual jokes… making her really uncomfortable. He just let it happen and sort of laughed it off … wanting the approval of the guys…. So when the teachers realized what was happening… did they do the right thing… nope… they sent Kory back to Algebra… let Will stay in the class and from that moment on… Will Mitchell became the enemy.

They continued to compete… she seeming to always coming in second, making a mental scar deeper and deeper.    
Will, grew into the mathematical whiz and took over the running of his family’s company when his father passed. However, his mother is a ball buster; she runs the company and expects only high profit margins… there is no place for humanity or caring and she runs interference nonstop with Will and how he feels things could be.   

The setup is the wedding of best friends… and Will and Kory are in the wedding party. Both had hardly talked to one another… and when they do it is like sparing. There is a moment where they actually have some kind of shocking connection; a kiss… feelings which confuse both of them… and then it is over. 

Kory is due back to her fellowship and then possible position assisting stroke victims, her specialty. He goes back  juggling his frustration with a sale of the rehab elder care home which is up for sale due to poor profits… he mother is insistent to divest it, leaving the town with no place for the patients to go in their area.

As Kory is about to leave, her father has a stroke changing everything… she is torn as her mother keeps insisting “she is better than this place and everything will be fine..go” causing Kory really be conflicted; she has battled them before… as if her family doesn't want her around and keeps shoving her to Chicago and career. The tipping point is the rehab home… Will’s is refusing to allow her dad to come and it is the only place where her mother could actually visit him due to her not driving. Kory takes matters into her own hands and confronts Will, demanding it happen. He explains the rehab is not in the black and  will be closed if it can’t make a profit. The gauntlet is thrown ….decision made… Kory decides to put her life on hold to make sure her dad gets the care he needs… from her. She offers and accepts the position to make the rehab profitable in a specific period with the terms Will gives her.

This story covers a lot of different topics and I felt rather well. Things happen where we carry them around and make them reasons why we do things… yet as big as we make them… we never go to the source of the pain and confront and ask… why did this happen or explain to me – what was the deal.  If we did more of that when these life events happen… one wonders… would we be better off? Would we be the same people?

There is well defined history between the characters.. we understand the whys and want them to get together happily. I liked how they were able to feed into their desires for each other without embarrassment… and their sexy times were just right… hot … wanting and passionate.

If you are looking for a little spice, romance and actual story… then this would be a fun time.
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Elley writes provocative, emotional, contemporary romances, where Mr. Not-My-Type ends up being Mr. Right.

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