The One For You (The Ones Who Got Away #4) by Roni Loren ☆☆☆☆☆
This is how you finish off a series.
The The Ones Who Got Away series has followed each woman in a group of friends who survived a school shooting. They were brought back together in the first book when a documentary was being made about the shooting, and since the events in first book they have supported each other as they each get their HEA in turn.
In the first 3 books, Kincaid Breslin kind of functioned as the one who pushed her friends to follow their hearts, and in this book she finally gets her shot at the HEA. In high school, Kincaid was the super popular girl, the prom queen, but her home life was less than ideal. Her biggest support was her best friend Ash, but he ran away after the shooting and broke her heart. When Ash comes back to town as a stopgap while he writes his next novel, he and Kincaid try to pick up the pieces of their friendship and ignore their growing chemistry.
Of course, we all know how that goes in romance novels.
I absolutely loved this book. Kincaid is such a positive character, determined to better her life and get out from under the shadow of her past. I am also such a sucker for the dynamic of Person Has Been in Love With Other Person Their Whole Life and Other Person Has No Clue. Ash’s half of this story is so heartbreaking – he loved this girl and sacrificed so much of his own happiness for her (I won’t spoil exactly how he does this – the story unfolds so beautifully and naturally through the whole book) and she never had any idea. The depth of feeling from his side is so strong and so real, and when Kincaid finally realizes how she feels it is such a moment of catharsis.
These books have all had the school shooting tragedy as their lynchpin, and the ending of this fourth installment wraps the whole series up in such a beautiful way. I love that these characters have all overcome their own problems, many of them stemming from this one event, and that each of them in turn found happiness and completion. This whole series has been such a joy to read, even the hardest parts of it. Roni Loren should be proud of her achievement with this series.
On a lighter note, she should also be proud of this section in particular. I laughed myself sick and now so should you:
She sniffed indelicately against his shirt collar. “I don’t want to be crying. I hate crying. Especially over some stupid guy. And he wasn’t even good in bed, so it was a total waste.”Ash snorted. “I really don’t want to know about the guy’s bedroom skills.”“He hung his cowboy hat on his dick like I should be impressed,” she said, her voice muffled against his shirt.Ash groaned but she could hear the laughter in it. “I’m officially traumatized. Please stop.”“And he refused to take off his boots,” she said, smiling into his shoulder, some weird delirium replacing the tears. “Like for the whole time.”“The visuals are literally killing me, KC. Please, no more,” he begged, making the plea overdramatic.She lifted her head. “When he came—”Ash pressed his fingers over her lips, shaking his head, biting back a grin. “Nope. Not gonna listen. Can’t—”“He said ‘yeehaw,’” she finished from behind his fingers.Ash’s eyes widened, and then he burst out laughing, tipping his head back against the wall and his own tears appearing. “Holy shit. You’re making this up.”She snort-laughed. “Sadly no. It was really that bad. So, so bad.”