Happy Sunday! Hope you are having a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by today! Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for letting me participate and thank you to Kelly Rae for writing and sharing a remarkable fell good story. I will be providing a synopsis, an excerpt you will not want to miss, my review, Author's info, and buy links, so please continue to read below :)
One fateful night during high school Katie Wright loses everything: her father, the first man she ever loved, dies in a car accident and Chris Staller, the first boy she’s ever loved, breaks her heart. Fast-forward ten years and Katie is a beautiful, successful woman who has spent the past decade doing her best to make her life all about work, keeping everyone at arms length—friends and lovers alike. But she’s lonely and beginning to awaken to the fact that pretending to be happy and content doesn’t mean she actually is. Working through her emotional challenges while maintaining a stellar career reputation has been tricky, but she’s always determined to come out on top.
Paying a visit to her old high school, Katie runs into Chris, now a dedicated PE teacher who pines for the one he let get away: her. An upstanding member of the community and a much better man than he was a boy, Chris is determined to win Katie back at all cost. But Katie is less than receptive to the idea, and when he lays down a challenge, she is determined to come out on top again.
Learning to follow the heart is a lesson everyone must learn and Kelly Rae’s sweet love story is a powerful reminder of the healing power of forgiveness in that journey. Delivered with unadorned prose, extraordinary grace, and warmth, What If…will fill your life with hope and the positive force of life.
Excerpt: (This is partially from the Prologue)
Katie sat on the dilapidated porch of a girl she barely knew, waiting for her dad to arrive. The area was lit by a single bulb with no fixture, eerily humming next to the front door. Katie’s house was homey and clean. This house was run down and depressing. Katie hadn’t been impressed, upon arrival, with the vitamin green house or its front yard of brown grass and dead foliage. Now, with pieces of the wooden deck digging into the back of her legs, she was even less so. She had only worn this skirt because it was a warm spring night and it felt good to finally feel a little warmth in the air. She hadn’t planned to need protection from splinters.
Luckily, she had at least thought to bring a light sweater for when the cool night air arrived. The garment was now doubling as Kleenex. It was all she had at her disposal and it was better than the alternative. Her mom would have been furious if she knew Katie was using her sleeve to wipe the snot from her upper lip, but there was no way in heck she was going back into that house with tears flowing down her face and a snot mustache. It was the best she could do as she sat and patiently waited.
The party she was attending had been her boyfriend Chris’ idea. He was rapidly becoming more popular now that he had gotten involved in sports and was excelling. Suddenly people, who had not noticed either of them, were paying close attention. Katie was honest enough with herself to admit that Chris’ popularity had surpassed her own and she was now his plus one, rather than he being hers.
She didn’t mind so much, she had seen the fickle side of popularity before and she could deal with being the supporting player as long as Chris didn’t treat her that way.
Now out of his shell, he was funny and much more charming by the day. He was the star and she was happy for him, mostly. They had gotten into a few fights recently about his new attitude, because to her it seemed he was letting the attention get the best of him. Katie didn’t like the big ego he was toting around town disguised as his head. She was the reason he had tried out for sports in the first place, she was the one who had helped him with his GPA to be eligible, so she had hoped he would be more appreciative, or at least treat her as well as he had before he got popular. Clearly, that was not going to happen, because here she was on this porch, weeping and oozing visible signs of sadness from her entire face.
Katie vaguely heard sirens off in the distance, but didn’t give them too much thought. She was busy trying to calm herself, trying to control her breathing with deep, long breaths of air. Unfortunately, every time she breathed in all she could smell was jasmine. She never understood why everyone loved jasmine so much. It made her nose burn, eyes water, and well, it stunk. So, at the very least she could tell people it was a bad reaction to jasmine that had her eyes swollen and leaking.
The sirens were closer; she could hear them even through her own sobs, snot, and sorrow. Her dad would be there any minute and he would make her feel better. He always did. Scraped knees, hurt feelings, bad grades, he had a way of making them all seem better. When Katie had called him to come and get her, she could tell that he was worried. He kept asking her what was wrong, but she couldn’t get the words out past the tears. She could barely get out the request for a ride home.
The emergency vehicles seemed ever louder or maybe there were just more of them, it was hard to tell. Katie was worried her dad might be delayed if traffic was blocked; for what sounded like a big accident. She thought she could pick out an ambulance siren now and maybe a fire truck, it was impossible to discern the different sounds as they mixed together in a sad melody. Behind her, the music was still loud and the voices of her peers laughing and gossiping about each other started to fade away. The pit of her stomach began to ache. Dad wasn’t here yet, it had been at least ten minutes, maybe more, and they didn’t live that far away. Katie heard the front door open and looked back to see Chris standing there with a concerned look on his face.
“Katie, what are you doing out here? I’ve been looking all over the house for you.” He had the nerve to sound perturbed. He stepped closer to where she was sitting and she put her hand up to tell him to stop, before she stood up to face him.
“Really? All over the house, huh? Too bad I wasn’t in that brunette’s mouth, ‘cause then you would have found me right away.” She snapped at him.
Immediate guilt washed over his far too handsome face. His eyes, the most amazing hazel, often said more than his words. When he was sad, they were glassy, as if he were stifling tears. When he was happy, they seemed to be smiling just as much as his mouth. And when he was being a joker or mischievous, which was ninety percent of the time, they sparkled like the night sky. He couldn’t hide much if you paid attention to his eyes.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about walking into the basement looking for you, since I thought we were at this party together, and finding you with your tongue down some other girl’s throat! That’s what I am talking about, Chris, and if you try to deny it, I’ll just scream. I am so mad at you right now.”
(End Of Excerpt)
What did you think of that sneak peak into the story? I really liked it, and immediately, I was interested to see what happened to Katie, and her then boyfriend Chris. The Prologue basically gives us the incident on how and why Katie broke off things with Chris. Then the first chapter goes to about ten years later, and Katie, now in her late twenties, moves back to her hometown, the town she left ten years prior, but this is a career move. Who does she end up seeing though, her ex, Chris, who is a P.E. teacher/Coach at their old high school. Seeing each other brings memories, for Katie they are bittersweet, as for ten years she had avoided seeing Chris again. There was definitely conflict between Chris and Katie, as they have a lot of unresolved issues to work through, but Katie just seems not to be able forgive Chris. This story really gives a look on forgiveness, and if we could forgive those that have done wrong to us. It could be so hard, but what does it take to finally to forgive? This was a very good story all in all, really; there were raw scenes here, raw emotions that felt relatable, and I liked reading that, what can be relatable to the reader.
The characters were really well developed. There was a lot of background information, especially focusing on Katie and Chris. They were each other's first love in high school. He was actually pretty shy, but then comes confident and smart Katie and she brought him out of his shell, and encouraged him to be a better person, to excel in school and sports, and he did that with Katie by his side. I really liked knowing how they were in high school, and how Katie was having doubts on their relationship even before the incident that broke them up. Having this written in third person was very good; I liked reading what both were sorta thinking, especially Chris, as I well did not really like him in the beginning, but as the story goes on, we see what his thoughts are, and ok I had a more understanding side for him, and was then rooting for them to get together, but do they? Hmm well you're just going to have to read and find out. This was a well written story, and I can't wait to read more from Kelly Rae. I Recommend this Novel! :)
*My Rating: 4.2/5
*My Audience Rating: PG-13
*My Audience Rating: PG-13
Kelly Rae is a native of California, currently residing in a mountain of snow in Central Oregon, covertly planning her escape to get back to her Golden State roots. Kelly has a nine year-old son named Triton, who is her inspiration in all things, and a passion for writing, reading, and traveling.
@kellyraebooks twitter handle