Recommended by Marlena

Hooray for a standalone friends to lovers romance! I feel like so many of the stories I've been reading lately are duets, trilogies or series, so I've been dying for a standalone that gives you a complete tale all in one fantastically written package. This book covers years of history, angst, character development, heartache, adversity and suspense in a few hundred delicious pages that I devoured in one sitting. It has a major plot twist that I was NOT expecting, but it honestly added a layer of complexity to the story that made it that much better! As my first 5 star book of 2020, Release has set the bar high for everything else to come.

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Hot Quotes We Found

We would later learn that finding unconditional understanding in another human being was more extraordinary and romantic than any love story.

"I can't do this without you." "Do what?" He lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. "Breathe."

"Sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned in order to live the one you're given."

Publisher's Synopsis

Growing up, Ramsey Stewart branded my soul in ways time could never heal.

At twelve, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
At thirteen, he gave me my first kiss.
By sixteen, we’d fallen in love, planned a future together, and had our eyes set on the horizon.

Love never fails, right?
But for Ramsey, it did.
Love failed him.
I failed him.
The entire world failed him.

At seventeen, Ramsey was convicted of killing the boy who assaulted me.

Move on, he wrote in his first and only letter from prison.
Start a new life, he urged.
I don’t love you anymore, he lied.

There was no such thing as giving up on Ramsey. Love may have been our curse, but he was mine—then, now, and forever.

So here I am, twelve long years later, waiting for a man I don't even know to emerge from between the chain link gates.


I'm a mom of 2 rad AF adults and 1 super cute fur babe. Hospital administration by day, yoga instructor by night, travel junkie, shoe addict, foodie and avid reader in all the spaces in-between. I got my love of books from my mama and honestly can’t remember a time in my life where reading wasn’t a daily priority. I’m a sappy hopeless romantic who’s a sucker for 2nd chances, mature characters, and serendipitous connections. In an ideal world, you can find me on the beach with an icy cold adult libation in one hand and my Kindle in the other.

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