Review: The Day He Kissed Her by Juliana Stone

day he kissed herReviewed by Carrie

I’ve been patiently waiting for Mac’s story because he’s been licking his wounds for the past two books and you know I can’t resist a wounded hero.

Mackenzie Draper keeps his two lives as separate as possible.  In New York, he’s a talented architect that keeps him in a swank city apartment, enough cash to flash and women hanging on every move.  But back home in Michigan, he’s part of the family that the town of Crystal Lake whispers about and his father’s favorite punching bag.  Mac wants to keep his hometown firmly in his past, but love and concern for his mother and his friends keep bringing him back.  A New Year’s Eve rendezvous with a mysterious blond turns out to be his best friend Jake’s, new friend, Lily.

Lily St. Clare’s family might be wealthy but, in some ways, it’s more damaged than Mac’s.  Since her brother, a soldier in Jake’s platoon, passed away, Lily can’t find the energy to manage all the crazy that her family brings.  She wants peace and quiet for a while and finds it for a bit in her friend’s hometown.  Fate decides to intervene at a summer party where Lily’s one lapse in control brings her face to face with her New Year’s Eve mystery man.  Even as Lily berates herself, she can’t help remembering all the feelings Mac triggered that night.

Mac never forgot the woman who left him hanging after that wild night.  He decides to use a job opportunity in town to stay the summer and knock some boots with Ms. Staid-and-Buttoned-Up.  Lily tries to brush him off but Mac is relentless to get her back in bed.  They agree to a no-strings summer affair but readers all know how those things go.  Before long they are digging deep in to each other and discovering that behind the façade they are both nursing some serious trauma because of family issues.

For Mac, part of it is the abuse suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father.  The larger picture is Mac’s inability to get his head around his mother’s seeming acceptance of the violence and dysfunction and the resulting feelings of abandonment.  He copes by turning into a near replica of his dad complete with drinking and anger problems.

For Lily, wealth has only bought excuses for her family’s bad behavior.  With a couple of clicks on google the whole world can know about her former exploits and her sister’s current ones.  Lily’s parents refuse to deal with anything so it falls to Lily to clean up Maddison’s messes (including sleeping with Lily’s fiancé).

To be honest, Mac was a straight up jerk for more than half of the book.  I understand why he couldn’t understand his mom and her devotion to his father, but the way he behaved with his sister and nephew was over the line.  Lily might’ve been a little bit of a control-freak but she allowed for some sweet to seep in.  Don’t get me wrong, the sex is super hot but that’s all there is to their relationship.  It would’ve been nice to have some heart to hearts about their issues.  The last quarter of the book manages to bring the feels, but in my opinion, it’s a little too late.

For all its potential, sadly, this one just fell short for me.  However, I love Stone’s writing and will continue to read this series.  This book can be read alone but I do recommend the first two books in the series.

Rating: C+

*ARC provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Day He Kissed Her
by Juliana Stone
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

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