Kate Owens has been holding a torch for her best friend, Mo Calloway, since they were Freshmen in college. She’s kept her true desires a secret for years along with many other mysteries from her past. Convinced she’s too damaged to be worthy of Mo’s love, she’s kept her feelings to herself.
When Kate and Mo’s closest friends, Julia and Reed, book a week-long vacation for their family at a resort in Mexico, Kate hesitantly agrees to join them. When a reservation snafu leaves Kate without a room, Mo offers to share her bungalow with her bestie. Kate’s head and libido are left reeling when she discovers there’s just one king-size bed in the suite.
As Kate spends more one-on-one time with Mo, she finds it harder and harder to hide her attraction. When she suspects Mo might feel the same way about her, she realizes if she is ever going to have a chance with Mo, she needs to get honest.
Will Kate risk sharing the dark secrets from her childhood with Mo, or will her insecurities continue to keep her from finding the love she’s always craved?
Kate is a complex and wounded character who works quite hard at maintaining a put-together façade. It’s hard not to feel compassion for her because her head is busy telling her that she is lacking and that she is unlovable. At first, I thought her insecurities were unfounded, but as I learned more and more about her history, I began to understand why her low opinion of herself was unavoidable. Being a victim of childhood sexual abuse affects every aspect of her life. If we are the sum of all our experiences, then Kate’s beliefs add up. The courage she taps into in order to become vulnerable with Mo is impressive. Watching her journey, it’s impossible not to root for her.
Mo seems to be everything Kate isn’t. She’s confident and at ease with herself. Not only is she stunning, but she attracts lesbians like flies to honey. Seeing her devotion to Kate is sweet. It’s clear by the silly banter between them that their friendship is unshakeable. It was nice to find out Mo has her own insecurities that have kept her from pursuing a romantic relationship with Kate. It’s not surprising that she’s willing to stand by her vulnerable friend when Kate has to face the nightmares of her past.
The Writing Style
The story is told in third person entirely from Kate’s point of view. I thought this was appropriate because this is Kate’s story. The tale takes place over a short period of time, but there’s so much backstory between Kate and Mo, it doesn’t feel like a case of insta-love. Clevenger is able to focus most of the book on Kate’s internal journey, and it pays off. By spending so much time inside her head, we’re able to experience the wide range of emotions that inform all of her actions.
All the Reasons I Need starts out as a familiar, light vacation romance. I applaud Clevenger for addressing several topics normally not found in this genre. She explores the lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse, and she does it with respect. Kate’s shame and fear simmer below the surface, giving this story a subtle edge. That kept me engaged, and I was never quite sure how Kate was going to come to terms with her past.
This book is the second installment in Clevenger’s Paradise Romance series. It’s not necessary to read the first book, Three Reasons to Say Yes, to enjoy Kate and Mo’s story. However, I can’t wait to read it because it revolves around the two side characters, Julia and Reed. They have prominent roles in All the Reasons I Need, and I want to see how they got together.
Descriptions of childhood sexual assault, eating disorders, and drug addiction are addressed in this novel. If those topics are triggers, this might not be the story for you.
All the Reasons I Need is a thoughtful summer romance full of emotion. It let me imagine myself on a tropical beach, napping in a hammock, and sipping an exotic drink with a little umbrella in it. There’s just something about beautiful sunsets and waves crashing on the beach that make falling in love seem easy.
Excerpt from All the Reasons I Need by Jaime Clevenger
She looked up and Mo smiled. In college they’d danced at parties, but it always with a group of friends and never at any point had she held Mo’s hand or dared to dance close to her body. Everything about this was completely different.
Mo reached for Kate’s other hand. “I hope I don’t screw this up.”
Kate stopped herself from echoing the same words. Sounding more sure than she felt, she said, “You know I’ll tease you about it for the rest of your life if you do.”
“Oh, trust me, I know.”
The moment they started dancing, Kate relaxed. This one thing she could do. She stopped thinking, letting the music and Mo’s hands direct her. She didn’t try to concentrate on adding any special moves to impress Mo. All she wanted to do was follow her lead.
Every time she stepped close to Mo, the scent of her teased her senses. A surge went through her when Mo brushed against her backside, and when she felt her breath against her neck, she nearly turned to kiss her. At one point Mo wrapped her arms around her and Kate couldn’t help but lean in. She loved the strength in Mo’s body and the way they fit together. She didn’t want the song to ever end.
But it was only dancing, Kate reminded herself, and Mo was showing off her moves to prove a point. Still, the way she held her hand, sending her into a spin and then stepping back and waiting for her to close the distance back to her, left Kate breathless. Mo’s touch turned on every nerve in her body and she couldn’t do a damn thing to stop that.
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A Paradise Romance
All The Reasons I Need
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781642470574
- Publisher: Bella Books
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