After the Storm
By: Faith Andrews
Noah and Willow know not to mix business with pleasure. They’ve both been burned in the past, he thinks she’s too young, and she definitely shouldn’t hook up with her boss. So, they don’t. Instead, they build a friendship, while fighting an obvious attraction.
But when Noah’s called back East after a natural disaster that threatens his home and the loved ones he left behind, he’s forced to face his past with Willow by his side.
Will their turbulent pasts hold them back from giving into fate? Or will the two of them realize that they’ve been each other’s calm before the storm?
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*****5 AMAZING STARS*****
When I first met Noah Matheson’s character in Man of My Dreams, the first book in The Dream Series by the fabulous Faith Andrews, I may have swooned just a bit. (Or a lot!) He was definitely a man with a heart of gold, who I instantly fell for. He was just a good guy and you knew it, and while things may not have worked out the way he wanted them to in that book, After the Storm, book 2 in The Dream Series, allows you to see what happened after for him.
This book is set years later and follows Noah and Willow on their emotional journey filled with more ups and downs, and emotional twists and turns than you can shake a stick at. Both of these characters have a world of pain and hurt in their pasts from those they trusted. After the Storm follows the two of them as they first begin fighting the many intense feelings and attractions they have for one another, but soon realize they can’t fight against the intensity and pull of what they’re sharing.
Their story is consuming, emotional, beautiful, and very meaningful, and I loved every magnificent word, every passionate and heart squeezing feeling, and every thoughtfully crafted emotion that I got from it.
It is of no surprise whatsoever to me that I completely loved this book, and every breathtaking emotion it gave me. Faith Andrews is one of my favorite authors, and I know whenever I pick up a story from her, I’m going to get all the feels and emotions, all the passion and heat, and all the hurt and love that makes a book exceptional to read. The way Faith Andrews so fantastically creates and captures all of that fulfills you while reading, and gives you a well-rounded book that will truly blow you away. After the Storm was no different, and I absolutely loved every all-feeling word of Willow and Noah’s story.
What I absolutely loved about After the Storm:
- Feeling, upon feeling, upon glorious feeling. While reading After the Storm you will feel just about every feeling under the sun because Faith Andrews so phenomenally gives you all of them through her outstanding writing. You’ll feel the hurt and pain, regret and pure sadness, and the emotional vulnerabilities of these characters, but you’ll also feel the hope and elation, the spark and chemistry, and the depth of feeling they begin to share too. You feel it all. Every well thought out, varied, and superbly captured emotion and feeling. Feeling and experiencing that allows you to live through these books with these characters, and it just pulls you into everything that they are going through in the most extraordinary way.
- Noah’s fight filled journey. As I said, I have loved Noah’s character since I first met him in Man of My Dreams, and his story just solidified that even more. He is just such a good guy, and that goodness emanates from him. He’s also real, and has his own flaws, but those just make him who he is. Over the course of this book and this series you see that Noah is fighting and giving it all he has in order to move on from what he went through. That fight defines him in the best way, and just shows that he is a guy who is willing to give and do it all in order to be exactly where he needs to be. I just loved the charm of his character, and the events of this book allow you to understand his character on a whole new level, while just reiterating again and again how amazing of a guy he truly is.
- Willow’s heart squeezing story. Willow’s heart squeezing story in this book just about broke my heart so many times because the more I learned about her character and her past, the more I felt for her, the more I loved her, and the more I wanted to just reach in and make everything better for her. Willow is authentic, relatable, and just an easy to love character that I connected with the instant I met her in this book. She’s real and has been through so much, but through it all she keeps pushing through, and I had mad respect for her because of that. The emotional journey she goes on in After the Storm pulled at my heart repeatedly because I felt like I got to see all sides of her. Her vulnerable side, her strong and feisty side, and the side of her that was just looking for someone who cared about her. I loved Willow’s character to pieces in every way, and the goodness of her truly shined through in this book.
- The building connection. One of my favorite aspects of After the Storm is the fantastic build in the connection that Willow and Noah share. These get off to a bumpy start, with Noah thinking he can’t start something with Willow because of her age and the fact that he’s her boss, and Willow doing everything in her power to show him what they could have if they only gave it a chance. Faith Andrews truly builds a solid foundation to their relationship, with a healthy dose of push and pull that’s sure to get your heart thumping just a bit harder. You get to see Noah and Willow’s heartfelt and spark filled connection build and grow over the course of the story, which allows you to become even more pulled in to everything that you’re reading.
- Whispers of the past. I loved that both of these characters come into this story with their respective pasts still haunting them in a lot of ways, and how you get to see them trying to overcome all that they’ve gone through. That just adds to the connection they share because they understand that about one another, and they both get how their pasts affect their presents. I loved what that added to Noah and Willow’s story, and getting to see their pasts revealed over the story, especially Willow’s, just connected me more to their characters and everything they were going through. With those pasts you get a lot of feeling and emotion that makes you feel and experience a lot of outstanding and heart squeezing things, and through all of that past, you get one helluva present with these two.
- The supporting characters who bring it all together. The supporting characters in After the Storm were the absolute best. They were vibrant and fun, and they pushed both Noah and Willow’s characters in some very needed directions. Sloane and Blaze were especially engaging and fun to get to know, and all of their interaction with Noah and Willow never failed to make me think or feel or smile or just take it all in. The dynamic and distinctive supporting character of this book just bring everything together. They bring some seriously enrapturing moments, and all the meaning and feeling that go with them to help make this story the fantastic thing that it is.
- The evolution and effect of these characters. In After the Storm you get the extraordinary chance to see Noah and Willow’s characters and feelings evolve. You see their emotional evolution, their relationships evolution, and every emotional step in between. You see and fully feel the effect that they have on one another, what they do for one another, and that just heightens how much you feel for them both. I loved taking this emotional and breathtaking journey with them in this story because through it all I could see them evolving and fighting with all they had to get to exact place they wanted to be together and individually. Their evolution is filled with many emotional ups and downs that will have your heart feeling so much, and you will absolutely love them through it all because of the exceptional things you get to experience with them along the way.
While reading After the Storm I felt such a true and heartfelt emotional connection to these characters. Faith Andrews so outstandingly cultivates and crafts that connection, so that you feel as if you’re with Noah and Willow every emotional step of the way. She allows you to become invested in them, their story together, and the journey that they’re on, and feeling that while reading was downright extraordinary to experience. That pulled me in all the more, and just allowed me to realize the meaning and connection and investment I was so truly feeling to everything that I was reading.
After the Storm is a consuming story about two people who know what it’s like to put their trust in someone, only to have that trust severely broken, and what happens when those two reeling souls attempt to find their way together. Willow and Noah’s journey isn’t easy, and it’s wrought with many emotions and feelings that you will feel so deeply in your heart, but through it all it’s a story about what can happen when you give all that immense feeling a chance to get to that beautiful calm after the storm.
This story was just another all-around fantastic read from Faith Andrews that I completely loved. From beginning to end I was completely enraptured within the magnificent pages of this book, and I so truly felt every ounce of the emotionally gripping and breathtaking story that I got to experience with Willow and Noah. Suffice to say, I heart those two something fierce, and every single heart racing, heart squeezing, and heart melting moment that I got with them in this extraordinary book.
Tilting her head and curling her hair between her fingers, her gorgeous mouth forms a megawatt smile “Wow. Every time I learn something new about you, I’m more and more impressed.”
She’s flirting, I’m not an idiot, but I don’t want to lead her on so I change the subject. “How about you? Were you born in California? I know you went to college out here from your resume, but—”
“There is no but,” she interrupts. “I have the most unexciting life imaginable. I was born and raised in Del Mar. I have two younger brothers, parents divorced when I was little, and Dad lives in Oregon with his new wife, Marcy. I went to college close to home to help Mom with the boys, and Sloane has been my best friend since fifth grade. That’s me in a nutshell. Boring, plain, uneventful. No one cares about keeping up with this Jones.”
I can’t quite read her. She rambled it off so quickly it almost sounds rehearsed. I have nothing else to go on, so I can’t tell if she’s hiding or avoiding something. I don’t pry, because I don’t like talking about my past either. And because of that, I’ve learned to always make small talk and keep the attention off me with flattery.
“I find it hard to believe that there’s anything boring about you, Willow Jones. You’re beautiful and smart and you have the whole world ahead of you.” Nice! Now I sound like her father. It just came out without thinking. I meant it as a compliment—a not too forward one—but by the wearied look on her face, I can tell she took it the wrong way. Damn, this woman brings me close to choking on my own tongue. What the hell?
“I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it since you seem to avoid me every chance you get.” She looks down again, making it impossible to read her face. She was flirting and I misled her with my goo-goo eyes.
Fuck! She found a way to catch me off guard and now I have to backtrack to fix this mess. Getting involved with a co-worker—or any woman right now—just isn’t on my to-do list. “I’m not avoiding you, Willow. I’m just not the guy for you.” I can’t say it’s not taking serious willpower to stay away. It’s hard to always be the good guy. Where the hell is Tori when I need her? I need to be bad. Very, very bad.
Instead of deterring her, my dismissal makes her bolder. Or maybe it’s the second vodka and cran. Willow pouts—intentionally, for sure—and those pretty, glossy lips snatch my attention. It’s so fucking sexy that my dick grows hard against my zipper and I shift in my seat so I don’t bring notice to the bulge in my pants. “Blaze warned me about you, you know.”
“Oh, really?” Now I’m curious. “Please enlighten me on the bullshit my friend’s fed you.” Blaze means well, but he always shares a little too much.
Willow laughs, exposing the smooth skin of her neck as her head falls back. What I wouldn’t give to taste that spot right there. Stop tempting me, Willow. You’re making this—and me—harder than it has to be.
She points a finger in my face, waving it around. “You see, if you’d accept my invitation to lunch once in a while, I could fill you in on all the bullshit he’s told me. But until I hear it from you, I’m forced to believe him.”
“Oh come, on. You’ve been working for me long enough to know I almost never take a lunch break. I eat on the site most days. That’s if I even get the chance. And like I said, I’m not the guy for you.” Keep saying it. It’s bound to sink in.
Faith Andrews lives in New York where she is happily married to her high school sweetheart. They have two beautiful daughters and a furry Yorkie son, Rocco. If she isn’t listening to Mumford and Sons or busy being a Dance Mom, her nose is in a book or her laptop. She’s a sucker for a happily ever after and believes her characters are out there living one somewhere . . .
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