HOLD ME CLOSE                                               SHANNYN SCHROEDER

Leave it to the O'Learys to make romance a family affair… 

Maggie O'Leary is finally coming home to Chicago. After more than a year in Ireland, she's ready to make a plan for her future. But first, she'll have to confront the tragedy that scarred her so deeply. Asking for a job in the family bar is the first step, and it's one her family isn't entirely happy about. At least Shane Callahan, her best friend in the world, is behind her a hundred percent. He's also a hundred percent more lovable than she remembered… 

Shane is determined to keep Maggie safe, even if it means working three jobs and giving up sleep to be around during her shifts at the bar. But when Maggie boldly tells him she needs more than a loyal friend now, Shane knows a single night together won't be possible. The idea of spirited Maggie in his bed is electrifying, but will she believe he wants to give her his heart, too?
     Best friends since high school no one truly thought it would last guys and girls can’t just be friends.  Yet, Maggie O’Leary, 26, went to tutor Shane Callahan the big football star when they were 16.  They hit it off but everyone including themselves thought their closeness would end once he passed the class.  But they just fit.  Not to mention Shane had a terrible crush on her.
     Ten years has passed and Maggie is returning from Ireland where she has lived for the past year and a half.  She had been staying with family.  It was a trip to get back in touch with herself.  You see 3 ½ years before she had left she had been raped by her ex-boyfriend who had drugged her first.
     The whole time she was gone Shane would skype her just to see her, to hear her voice, and to know she was okay.  You see at the time of the rape Shane worked as a bouncer at the bar and then him being so madly and deeply in love with her he felt he should have been there to protect her which was crazy because her ex Todd was crazy.  Yet, it didn’t stop the guilt that Shane carried around as well as her family.  His thoughts were he should have seen the signs or that he missed something.  Some cop he would make if they ever accepted him into the academy. 
     So, without calling her family and much thought on her part Maggie came home for good.  She asked Shane to be the one to pick her up from the airport which he was all too happy to do.  Anything to have her back in his arms.  Which of course he did on both counts.  She wants to stop for coffee before getting home so she can tell him her ideas about her near future.  One she wants to be a part of the family business again but especially O’Leary’s bar.  She grew up there and it was like a second home and she will not let Todd take that way.  Her second idea was she wanted to ask her brother Ryan if there is an apartment available so that she could move into.  Shame went white.  You see Todd raped her in the apartment she had at the time upstairs above the bar of which there were several.  Shane needed to do some fast talking and not piss her off in the process or she would just dig in her heels.  So she got her to agree to talk things over with her therapist on the best way to approach her family.  Which gained him brownie points.  It also gave him time to enact his plan.  Of how to protect her.
     What can a man who has been in love with a woman since they were 16 do when she has achieved steps one and two?  When of her plan to feel normal again and to be treated normal by those who love her do all but the opposite?  She asks her best friend Shane who knows her inside out, knows about the rape, and she feels safe with him to have S-E-X with her.  When shock cross his race she echoes loudly a one time no strings attached screw.  Oh yeah that makes it better.
     Watch and see how these two walk through the residual mind field from her rape.  The tap dance of emotions Maggie goes through as she tries to find her footing in a new life, in her family, and with Shane.  Can there be more for Shane and Maggie?  Will there be more?

     This was a fun rollercoaster of emotions as you walk with Maggie five years after her rape.  So, there are still the moments of panic but this is more about Maggie taking charge of her life again.  Most of all standing up to her family by not acting like the baby but as the empowered woman she can continue to try to be.  Wish there had been an epilogue to tell us if they marry, etc…  I give this 4 stars.  Provide by Netgalley.  Follow us at: www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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