REVIEW: After We Fall by Melanie Harlow


“I don’t need to be his first love. If only he’d let me be his last.”


Jack Valentini isn’t my type.

Sexy, brooding cowboys are fine in the movies, but in real life, I prefer a suit and tie. Proper manners. A close shave.

Jack might be gorgeous, but he’s also scruffy, rugged, and rude. He wants nothing to do with a “rich city girl” like me, and he isn’t afraid to say so.

But I’ve got a PR job to do for his family’s farm, so he’s stuck with me and I’m stuck with him. His glares. His moods. His tight jeans. His muscles.

His huge, hard muscles.

Pretty soon there’s a whole different kind of tension between us, the kind that has me misbehaving in barns, trees, and pickup trucks. I’ve never done anything so out of character—but it feels too good to stop.

And the more I learn about the grieving ex-Army sergeant, the better I understand him. Losing his wife left him broken and bitter and blaming himself. He doesn’t think he deserves a second chance at happiness.

But he’s wrong.

I don’t need to be his first love. If only he’d let me be his last.

My Thoughts: 

I was taken completely by surprise with how much I FELT while reading this book. I picked this book up thinking that it would be a good contemporary romance to escape into for a little while. The next thing I know, it is two in the morning and I have sobbed, laughed, and overall just had this silly grin on my face the entire time I was reading this book. It takes a lot for me to cry while reading a book, but this book just got to me.

So let’s talk about our tortured hero, Jack Valentini. Jack was the main reason I was crying throughout this book because his story is absolutely heartbreaking. This ex-Army sergeant has been put through the wringer not only with what he went through in combat, but with losing his wife three years ago. Jack blames himself for the death of his wife and puts himself in this prison of self-inflicted misery where he thinks he belongs. Then Margot enters the picture and Jack finds himself torn between wanting to stay in this self-inflicted prison and wanting a second chance at happiness with this “rich city girl.”

Margot. I had Miranda Lambert’s, “Mama’s Broken Heart,” playing in my head whenever I first started reading this book. Margot comes from old money and she is expected to be this polished woman who always takes the high road. She is expected to save face even when she just wants to scream and yell or cry. What I love about Margot though is that she starts to let go of those standards and let herself stand up for herself, which I absolutely loved reading about through this book. She meets Jack and his family to help them market their farm products in an economy where many people have no idea where their food comes from. He comes across as this rugged and rude country boy who refuses to listen to her and her ideas because he doesn’t want things to change. Margot starts to reevaluate some things in her life after spending time with Jack, and realizes she doesn’t have to care about what other people think all the time.

I loved Jack and Margot together. There was no love at first sight or even second sight for that matter, haha! But once they do get together, it is explosive, passionate, and beautiful. Reluctantly, Jack let’s Margot in because he figures she will be leaving soon anyway. And Margot let’s things happen with Jack without having a strict plan of where things will end up. It was just so fun to see these two come together like they did.

I really enjoyed the side characters in this story as well. Margot’s friends, Quinn and Claire, were great additions even if we did not see them much. I have actually read Claire’s story, which takes place after Margot’s story, and so I loved getting to see her before her own explosive romance occurs. Pete, Georgia, and Cooper, were also star side characters in this story that filled it out more because they were all trying to achieve this family dream of making their family farm a real business and success. The moments that made my heart melt were the moments Jack spent with his nephew, Cooper. Being inside Jack’s head for those made me tear up because he believed his dreams of being of father died with his wife.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves second chance romances and people who love seeing the tortured hero find his happily ever after even when he thinks he doesn’t deserve it.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★/★★★★★

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