This is the second book in Ann Aguirre’s Apartment 2B trilogy, otherwise known as the Books with Backstreet Boys Songs as Titles. Admit it, you wish more authors would do that. In the first book, Nadia fell in love with her downstairs neighbor, while her best friend and roommate Lauren developed a drinking problem and finally dropped out of school.
Now, Lauren has moved back home. She’s not upset though, she’s happy. She wants the comfort of a small town, where she doesn’t feel pressured to party every weekend. She plans to get a simple job and enroll in online classes so that she can eventually be a telecommuting computer programmer. Life in sweatpants is good.
Rob is Nadia’s older brother. He was a high school football star, known for his good looks, but he wasn’t smart enough to do much more than work construction. He’s remodeling his own house and checking on his parents while putting up with a girlfriend who criticizes him and tells him he’s not good enough. He’s such a sweet lunkhead.
Lauren has crushed on Rob since she was a teenager, and when she runs into him at the grocery store, those butterflies are still there. But he has a girlfriend. A mean, sucky girlfriend, but still, Lauren respects that. Since she currently has no job and no car, she offers to help him with his remodeling. Rob agrees because, again, he’s sweet.
It turns out that Rob’s not really dumb, he’s just not assertive. His parents always praised his sister for her brains, and only complimented his physical skills as an afterthought. No one ever expected much of him. His girlfriend sees him as arm candy. He’s no genius, don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t understand every big word that Lauren uses, and he’s not secretly solving world hunger. But he designs and builds custom furniture from reclaimed materials. He’s redoing an entire house based on his own design. He wants to eventually give up construction and just build furniture.
Lauren has always known that Rob was under-appreciated, so she slowly draws him out by telling him that he is, in fact, good enough. She encourages him, helps him see that his dreams are achievable, and even admits that she had a crush on him. Rob says that she looked pretty hot in her high school prom dress, and Lauren is all, *agog*.
Their romance develops slowly and positively. Lauren sees the Rob that no one else sees, and she kind of pours herself into helping his business progress. She’s actually really awesome at visualizing ways to help him succeed. She realizes later that maybe she’s ignoring her own issues this way, which leads to a crisis near the end because every book needs a good crisis.
One thing I noticed about the first book was how incredibly mature the characters were. I feel the same way about this book. Rob and Lauren have their eyes on the future, and they’re supportive of each other. Lauren even reaches out to Rob’s ex-girlfriend, which was hilarious but turned out so awesome.
Lauren’s narration is humorous, and the sex is hot, and Rob is adorable, and there’s a lot of Real Life that happens while they’re falling in love and it’s all put together so well. I highly recommend this if you need to be swept off your feet by a shirtless guy pounding a hammer, wink, wink.
Click to purchase: Amazon
As Long As You Love Me
by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN