One Step Closer by Kahlen Aymes

one-step-closer-by-kahlen-aymesAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Self

My copy: Sent 

Reviewer: Liz

STEPSISTER. He hated that f*cking word.

When their parents got married, the only thing Caleb Luxan had in common with Wren Brashill was that they both hated their parents. When he was sixteen, Caleb discovered Wren’s closely guarded secret and vowed to protect her: from that day forward she became the reason for every decision he made.

Jealousy and long-suppressed desire overpowered Caleb’s fierce protectiveness and they spent one forbidden and unforgettable night in each other arms, but the aftermath left Caleb panicked, Wren heartbroken, and their relationship in shambles. In the time since that fateful night, he’d only seen her once and had only managed to make the situation even worse.

The sudden death of his estranged father calls Caleb home and face-to-face with Wren for first time in years. He is presented with a choice that forces him to confront the painful memories of his youth and his many regrets with Wren.

Like it or not, his father’s last, hard lesson, will demand Caleb deal with his long denied emotions for Wren, or let go of her forever.

Bare chested muscular man looking down on dark background.

One Step Closer by Kahlen Aymes is a second chance romance between two people who found themselves thrown together when their parents married. Though neither were prepared to feel anything for each other, they formed a bond neither expected.

Caleb Luxan wanted nothing to do with his new stepmom or her daughter. He was angry, hurt and alone since he lost his mother. He found himself doing everything he could to get under his father’s skin. Until the day he found out Wren’s secret. Then he became her protector. Every choice he made after that was with her in mind. Until that fateful night that changed everything.

Wren Brashill has always felt alone with no one to love or guide her, she found herself hiding from the world. Until Caleb. Somehow he found a way to get her to open up. He became her protector and she started to blossom. He gave her hope. Until the night that changed everything.

Caleb wanted to follow his dreams, but also wanted to protect Wren. Because of this he found himself not being able to do the one thing he wanted most, be with Wren. Wren wanted Caleb, but never thought he would see her as more than is sister. Until the night they give in to each other. A night neither of them will forget.

But with morning comes awareness of what this could mean. Mistakes, misunderstandings and the actions of other’s cause the couple to spiral and spend the next four years with distance from each other.

Now his father is gone and he is needed at home. What will happen when he comes face-to-face with Wren again? With his father’s final demand, will Caleb finally give in or continue protecting Wren, even from himself?

I really enjoyed seeing Wren and Caleb both in the present and in their flashbacks. We were able to really see how their friendship blossomed and became more. We also got to see where things started to go bad for them. Sometimes all it takes is one bad decision and life tumbles around you. This is kind of what happened between these two. Add in their selfish parents and one catty “girlfriend” and your world can really turn upside down.

I really enjoyed this story. There were many instances I wanted to strangle Caleb and Wren, but sometimes it can take a while before you see what has always been in front of you. The story had a bit of angst and a lot of emotions! But when you are fighting for what you truly want and desire, it does not always come easy.

I give One Step Closer by Kahlen Aymes 4 stars!

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Excerpt

Caleb’s muscled frame was rigid and as Wren looked at him, she studied his profile, and could feel his coiled tension.  The fingers in his right hand curled into a fist.  “I was so mad.  So many times, I wished he’d been the one to die.”  His voice was full of pain, as the words tore from him.  “I fucking hated him with every breath I took.  You saw how much.”

Wren nodded, though he didn’t see her acquiescence.  She knew what he went through growing up when they had formed an affable alliance against their parents.  She hated her mother at least as much as Caleb hated his father and she understood his anger and pain; then the apathy that became a welcome alternative.  They’d been unlikely allies against a common enemy.

“Maybe I deserved his indifference.”

Wren got up and went to Caleb, standing behind him as he stood still as stone, and staring out the window.  Her heart ached with love and grief for Caleb. She wanted to touch him; to offer reassurance, to take away the ache in his voice and heart.  Without considering her actions, her arms slipped around his waist and she pressed up against his strong back and leaned her head against him, between his shoulder blades.

Caleb was massive in comparison to her, and she was like a flower curling around him.  Her hands fanned out against his hard stomach, her fingers finding the definition of his abs beneath his shirt.   “Stop, Cale.  I won’t let you do this to yourself.  Your dad wouldn’t want that.  None of it was your fault.”  Her arms slid fully around him and held him tight against her body. “I can’t bear it.  You’ve had enough pain.  Enough.”

Caleb sucked in a deep breath, the action bringing her even closer.  He could feel every curve of her body pressed so closely against his back.  He could feel her breathing, could feel how she shared his pain.  His hand came up and he ran the flat of his hand from her elbow down to her hand, and then wrapped his fingers around hers.

“When did you turn into the strong one?”

Wren’s arms tightened around him.  “When I met you. ”

“Oh, Wren.” Should he just spill his guts? Would it fix everything?  “I’ve got so much to say to you.  How long can you stay?”

She nodded against him, unwilling to end the contact between their bodies; needing the closeness as much as he did.

He wanted to apologize for how he acted the last time he’d seen her, he wanted to say a hundred things… he needed her forgiveness.

“How long do you need me?”

In that moment a miracle happened; a sort of beautiful irony that taunted Caleb with it’s fragileness.  It was as if he’d never screwed everything up between them.  But would it stay this way?

How long do I need you? Caleb thought.  His heart raced to the point of exploding, and he wondered if Wren could feel it.

Forever.

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