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Always Mine: A Love in Eden Novel

Written by: Sloane Kennedy
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: LGBT
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

I had one reason for never going back to the small town I once called home, but I never guessed it would be the same one that made me want to stay....

Brooks
I grew up in the small town of Eden, Wyoming, but never really felt like I fit in.

Until I met the one boy who changed all that.

When we were kids, Xavier Price understood horses, but somehow, he got me too. He'd made me feel like I wasn't just the overdressed, too sensitive 15-year-old geek who loved math and didn't always say the right thing. But all that changed the night he threw my trust back in my face and betrayed my family in the worst kind of way.

And while I'm back in Eden to make sure my uncle's horse ranch is operating in the black, the one thing I know I won't have to deal with is the man who'd been on the verge of stealing my heart 10 years ago.

Because Xavier Price is still in prison for what he did and even if he weren't, he wouldn't be foolish enough to show his face in Eden ever again. 

Right?

Xavier
Wrong.

That's what returning to Eden after ten years behind bars feels like. But it wasn't like I had a whole lot of choices. And it wasn't like I was going to be handed any decent job offers, let alone my dream one of working with horses.

But that's exactly what happened and now that I'm foreman of Black Hills Ranch, I'm not letting this job go for anything.

Not even the spoiled little rich kid I'd thought was different when he'd glommed onto me 10 years ago. 

I have no doubt Brooks Cunningham didn't wait long to move on to bigger and better things the second my jail cell was locked behind me, and that's just fine by me. I'd been wrong about the sweet, emotional boy who'd had a habit of wearing his heart on his sleeve anyway. 

Except fate has decided to have another go at me by tossing Brooks right back into my sometimes too small world. Gone is the scrawny, stars-in-his-eyes nerd who used to do math problems just for fun. In his place is a gorgeous specimen of a man who thinks he can go toe-to-toe with me and once again destroy everything I've worked for. 

Not happening.

©2019 Sloane Kennedy (P)2019 Sloane Kennedy

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book!

#enemiestolovers #hotangryhatesex #dirtytalk #sweet #secondtimeromance

I loved every word of this story. It grabbed me right from the start with a very intense beginning that got my attention and peaked my interest.
Riley took me on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish and never plot was interesting right til the end was never dull. This book definetley has all the feels. From hate, anger, suspense, romance, major heat and even some humor.

The 2 main characters were paired perfectly and had beautiful chemistry despite their life differences. Brooks is rich and uptight and Xavier has always been the poor farmer but Brooks never cared about any of that and just loved his best friend. Opposite attract in the best way. Even when they hated each other and were full of tension, they were still drawn to each other and couldn't resist. I love that their connection was so believable.

Without spoiling anything it starts when Brooks is 15 and Xavier is 16 and though young they had a good connection. Then something happens and Brooks never wants to see Xavier again. They both feel betrayed by the other even though neither boy seemed to know the real truth. Just what they thought they knew. Fast forward 10 years and Brooks finds out his uncle hired Xavier as a ranch hand. Brooks wants nothing to do with Xavier but when his uncle refused to fire him he feels he needs to stay til he can convince him. Despite their hate they cant resist some hot sex. There is one scene that is really dirty and I loved it. ;) As time goes the truth unfolds and emotions change.

This is the first in the series but it doesn’t have a cliff hanger so it works on its own. Though I absolutely loved the friend Jules and am glad to hear he will get his own book.

Michael Pauley does a great performance as always. You can always here the emotions in his voice.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 2019-08-01

Revisiting the past

Xavier and Brooks are only a year apart in age but the difference has always felt much larger. When Brooks was 15, he’d been an immature kid who struggled to fit in on a ranch. He wore trousers and didn’t know how to ride a horse. Then he met 16-year-old Xavier and he found someone who could not only teach him to ride, but someone who didn’t judge him for his love of math.

Then comes the night when everything changes. Both men have very different perspectives on what happened that fateful night, but their already divergent lives took completely different paths and both men believed they would never see each other again. Xavier went off to prison and Brooks moved away from Wyoming, back to the big city. Each was hurt because of the perceived actions of the other and the separation seemed permanent.

Ten years later, fate has other plans for the men.

Brooks’ uncle Curtis is running the ranch but things aren’t going well. Brooks, the math-oriented nephew with business experience, heads to Wyoming to see if he can help his uncle get back into the black. The last person he expects to see is Xavier.

Xavier did his time and although he wanted to put Wyoming in the rear-view mirror, obligations have brought him home. Desperate, he’s obtained a job at the old ranch working for Curtis, a man who doesn’t hold a grudge. Too bad his nephew doesn’t feel the same way.

When the men first see each other, ten years of resentments bubble to the surface. Assumptions are made and neither man wants to believe he might be wrong. Only when one needs desperate help do they come to an understanding – or sorts. There are a lot of hurt feelings in this book and neither man wants to back down – until they realize their stubbornness might be standing in the way of something much better.

Although I enjoyed the clashes, I preferred the loving. These two men were perfect for each other ten years ago and even more so now. And although they’ve hidden themselves away, part of them longs to be with the other. But neither man is out, so there’s that to contend with as well. Lessons of the older generation become clear and Brooks and Xavier realize they have to find their own truth.

This is a Sloane Kennedy book so there’s a bit of violence, a touch of angst, and lots of sexy times. I loved how Xavier discovered what Brooks enjoyed and instead of shaming him, showed him it was okay. There’s a lot to be said for someone who takes the time to teach. So, yeah, there are riding lessons as well. Of every variety.

Michael Pauley again helms this book and I’m so glad. He gives just the right note to each man, differentiating them well. He is one of my favorite narrators because he’s so consistent and always does a great job. I also like how the next book has been set up and I can’t wait to see where this series goes. Another great read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Annika
  • 2019-07-25

Sweet second chance story

Always Mine started out kind of intense, with Brooks going back to Eden, the small town where he grew up in order to help his uncle with his ranch’s financial troubles. Only when he arrives he meets a man from his past. A man he hasn’t seen since he was 15 and had the biggest crush on. The man who went to prison for almost destroying his family; Xavier.

To say that emotions run high and sparks fly on that first meeting is putting it mildly. Brooks did not expect to see Xavier again and Xavier is not good with unexpected physical contact after spending 10 years in prison. After that both are determined to keep their distance from the other – but you know – intentions… Keeping the distance doesn’t last long and the two starts dancing around each other in every way possible. A dance that’s overcharged with sexual tension and hurt feelings.

This is a story that’s been told before. The misunderstandings that leads to separation and love growing into resentment or hate. Even the outside forces trying to keep them apart is the same, the evil father and a small minded town. It’s not new or different. On the other hand, it’s not bad either because Always Mine is a well written and narrated story that I’m sure will capture many hearts.

I’m not sure what I really feel about Brooks and Xavier. On the one hand I really enjoyed listening to their story. And they had a lot of history to work through. On the other, the non-communication and constant back and forth was drawn out too long for my liking. At times it felt like it was drawn out for the dramatic effect and didn’t really move the story or our MC forward. And the ending felt a bit too neat and wrapped up nicely and tied together with a shining red bow. I’m all for tying up loose ends and correcting past wrongs, but I don’t want it served on a silver platter. I want to work for it with the characters I’m living with.

Michael Pauley delivers as he always does. His narration was spot on. If I could, I could probably melt from his voice alone, so he’s definitely in the right profession. Xavier was the one he captured just right. You could truly feel his anxiety and fear of closed spaces, needing that fresh air. His fierce protectiveness of the things and people he loved. And not the least the longing for Brooks and the hurt associated with that night ten years ago. Your heart will ache and pound with Xavier’s and it makes this listen all the better for it.

Always Mine was a mostly sweet second chances story. Of finding love again, finding yourself and moving forward. It was about family and friendship and the myriad of possibilities that opens up if you are willing to take the chance and letting go of the past and work for a better future.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • H. Spanarella
  • 2019-08-01

Emotionally Wonderful

This story grabbed me from the start and took me on an emotional rollercoaster. The pining that both Brooks and Xavier had done over each other for so many years was heart wrenching. In this emotionally wonderful narration, I could feel Xavier’s hurt in wanting to be with Brooks, but not allowing himself to do so. Equally you could feel Brooks’ hurt from Xavier’s dismissals and feigned indifference. This story truly takes you to all the emotional ranges, and there were parts that brought goosebumps to the surface and tears in my eyes. Among story and narration, I know this is one I will listen to again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leezard_Love
  • 2019-08-15

protect those you love

This book was so sweet. I love the passion between them. Even when they weren't on good terms, the passion still ran deep. & once all of the truths come out, it is just all so sweet (well...on their parts, obviously some people are just rotten eggs). The sexual chemistry was great too! hot and steamy. This book did not disappoint.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tonya
  • 2019-07-30

Love triumphs!

As usual Sloane delivers a unique and touching story of love long overdue. Can’t wait for the next installment of Love in Eden.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ken sellers
  • 2019-07-14

WOW>>>>WOW>>>>WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ShE HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK WITH THIS ONE I LOVED EVERY WORD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BrattyOz
  • 2019-08-27

Really enjoyable

What more can I say? It was interesting, unpredictable, and kept my attention throughout. It was definitely a “feel good” story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Seleena
  • 2019-08-15

Interesting Story

The plot is more entertaining than most romance books. In general, it was enjoyable book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful