When Kelly was a 19-year-old college student, his mother and stepfather were killed in an accident and he found himself the guardian of his little brother, Jaylen. Kelly managed to finish school, and even though it wasn’t exactly his dream, he’s now an administrative assistant to an executive in a large company. He’s also a go go dancer to supplement his income. Kelly harbors a secret crush on his boss, Andrew, but he’s convinced Andrew can’t stand him because he’s distant bordering on rude to him. However, Andrew is great to everyone else.
The only problem Andrew has with Kelly is wanting him so much. However, he’s keeping a lid on his sexuality because his father is a conservative politician. One day, everyone who works on the floor throws a small birthday party for Kelly and Andrew refuses to participate, using the excuse he has to take a call from another office. Everyone, including Kelly, knows that’s not true. When Kelly confronts Andrew, the next thing Andrew knows he is kissing Kelly…and loving it…until Kelly pushes him away.
When Kelly was a teen, he was put through a major trauma and it gets in the way of him being able to have romantic relationships. Andrew is persistent, though, and the two men begin a slow, sweet courtship. It’s not always easy, and they’re faced with Jaylen’s health issues and Andrew’s family. These tests will help decide whether Andrew and Kelly are able to make their love work.
I think I’m going to start this review with a warning. I mentioned Kelly went through a trauma when he was a teenager. There are descriptions of this trauma that include sexual assault. Proceed with caution if this is a trigger for you.
I liked Forever with You. I thought it was sweet, sexy, and relatively low on angst. The chemistry between Andrew and Kelly was fantastic from that first kiss in the office. Also, there was a slow burn to their relationship. They became intimate rather quickly, but it felt right. Andrew was tender and patient with Kelly and was all in even though Kelly wasn’t sure if they should be together.
I was fond of Andrew right away. He had an ongoing inner dialogue letting me know exactly how much he wanted Kelly, even though it probably wasn’t a good idea to become involved with an employee. I swooned the first time he called Kelly baby. In fact, I’m a sucker for that. I love that first baby. It always gives me a tingle. However, the thing I liked best about Andrew, perhaps even more than his deep feelings for Kelly, was how he developed a lovely bond with Jaylen. They meet cute with Jaylen asking, “Are you the hot boss?” and Andrew automatically adores him.
I felt a certain kinship with Kelly. He was utterly devoted to Jaylen, and he had such a strong work ethic. I mentioned being an administrative assistant (and go go boy) wasn’t his dream, but he was doing what he needed to make sure he’s got money and access to insurance because Jaylen has asthma. The trauma Kelly suffered helped to shape the man he is, and it made it difficult to connect with any man romantically. My heart ached for him because I truly understand what he was going through.
There are a few background characters who were important to the story, but I’m going to focus on Jaylen. He was well written and well developed…adorable without being obnoxious. There were no tantrums or trouble. He simply loved his big brother and wanted him to be happy. If he were a “real life” child, I’d have fallen in love with him as much as Andrew did. His health and well being was first in Kelly’s mind. He was concerned about introducing any man to Jaylen and allowing him to become attached only be disappointed and heart broken if/when the relationship didn’t work out.
There is conflict in Forever with You. It’s definitely not a smooth ride for Andrew and Kelly. I don’t want to get into any spoilers, but I’ll say Andrew’s family (at least his father) shows up to make trouble, and Kelly’s past is always there in the background. I didn’t really feel like these issues got in the way of Andrew and Kelly’s love story. This was especially true with Andrew. He comes out of it triumphant and is able to publicly embrace his relationship with Kelly.
For a debut novel, I think Londra Laine did a great job. It seems like she was really feeling it for the final third of the book, and I was completely wrapped up in the story and the love between Andrew and Kelly. I look forward to reading any future books written by Laine. I definitely recommend this book.