My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Could you imagine holding on so tight the one you love lives their life trapped in some kind of hell between Heaven and Earth when all their soul longs to do is move on?
I received my copy of this eBook in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Pearl hesitated a moment before responding. "I can help him, though not in the way that you desire me to."
"What do you mean?" Cassie asked, not at all liking the sound of that. She wanted Devon to wake up and begin to be himself again. What other way was there to help him?
"He is trapped," Pearl swept her arm gently over the bed. "Your husband is not dead, yet he is not among the living either."
Cassie felt her throat thicken as she nodded. "I know. He needs to wake up. Can you help him?" Her hope of a moment ago was fading fast, and in its place a new trepidation moved in. Something about this doctor, or nurse or whatever she was, seemed off.
"I am only a human being," Pearl said, "and a healer of hearts, not minds. Devon wants to be released from the prison his body has become. He wishes to be free."
It's a lot to handle when faced with the vibrant man who was overjoyed on his honeymoon with Cassie in the first chapter to see that this is what waited for him so many years down the road.
Cassie's life, since the moment Devon was shot has changed dramatically but it also hasn't really changed at all. Devon was shot and she found out that she was pregnant, within close succession. While he spent a while in a coma, when he woke it wasn't really waking; Devon remained in a persistent vegetative state. Cassie has been forced to go on, not wanting to change too much in her life because she wanted Devon to recognize what he was coming back to when he woke up. This meant living in an apartment that was way too small for herself and six year old Noah, justifying this to most because the rent was cheap and she was a single mother (by appearances) to others. She tries to fill all these roles, that she can't possibly despite her lack of trying. She's come to the point in her life where she needs more, she's lived as no one could dream for six years and now she needs more. It comes to her in a shove of a boy on the opposing team at a soccer match to young Noah causing him to lose his two front teeth and his nerve at going back out on the field.
Austin came with a younger brother and a father, all needing the influence of a woman in their life since the death of their matriarch Jenna. What originally began as a mission to make amends for his son's rash behaviour quickly changes to a friendship, and then an attraction between Matt and Cassie. They watch each other's children. Noah gets the role of "father" that he needs from Matt, while Austin and Asher get the role of mother that were lacking from Cassie. The two feel an undeniable attraction to each other that just continues to grow. Matt notices it first, but Cassie is aware of it. Hell, her mother is aware of it too!
They've been playing soccer, rather like a family, for quite a while. The boys being the best of friends. For Halloween they even all went trick or treating together at the Care Centre where Devon lives. I thought my heart was going to rip in two when Matt talked about Cassie to Devon, talked about how great a woman she is. He clearly loves her so very much, he was like a one man cheerleading squad, but he still managed to say that Devon should wake and start taking part in life for Cassie and Noah, because he knew that was what she wanted. He wanted to see her happy, even if it wasn't with him.
Things continue along, and when Cassie's mother decides to take a cruise over Thanksgiving, leaving Cassie and Noah alone for the holidays Matt makes a rash decision - one that throws everything into a tail spin in the end.
"Cassie, I know you're in there." Matt's voice.
She placed a hand on the arm of the loveseat and leaned on it a second while her pounding heart slowed. What did Matt think he was doing, scaring her half to death, coming over at - she glanced at the clock on the stove - six a.m. Cassie slid the chain lock and flung open the door.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded in a voice snarly enough to match the morning tangles in her hair.
A lazy smile spread across Matt's face as he took in her dishevelled appearance. "Kidnapping you." He held up a pair of kids' plastic handcuffs and a bandana. "Though with that hair, you're the scary one." He pushed past her into the apartment. "Come on, boys. You know what to do."
Thinking he was offering them a great respite over their three day holiday, Matt kidnaps Noah and Cassie and takes them with him to his parents house. Oh, I know, I know. Cassie went through the same tumult of emotions I did! This mini vacation... it's what brings everything to a head.
By the midst of the weekend, Cassie has overheard a conversation between Matt and his parents where they discuss the relationship that he and Cassie have forged and that in the end, when her husband wakes up, the only one that will be hurt is him. They'd grown even closer over the weekend, they'd been that close to sharing a kiss. Their teasing in front of his family was that of a couple, not that of two friends, and after some soul searching on the beach, Cassie makes the heartbreaking decision to go back home to Auburn and to be more focused than ever on Devon and his recovery. It would be an end to a relationship with Matt because they couldn't trust themselves. Full stop.
The one that made it the worst was a phone call on Christmas Eve, where she thought she'd hung up the phone and the words had just slipped out in a sigh.
"I love you, Matt. I shouldn't, but I do."
Matt tortured himself with it, listening to the message over and over again. I think I would have done the same...
To see the two of them finally come together in the end was beautiful. The sadness of Devon wasn't really as sad as most would think. She'd truly been expecting that moment for so many years that in all honesty it was really a relief. She set him free, and then in turn was able to move on with her life herself while there was still time to be with Matt and his children.
Five stars and two enthusiastic thumbs up for this next instalment in the Power of the Matchmaker series. Read it and love it! I know you will!
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