Ryan decided that leaving Withford was better than staying to see Lauren Carpenter get married. He did try a second time with her, though, before he left for good, but she wouldn't leave her husband. Ryan stayed away for very long, until his brother Josh needed help with the family-owned snowmobile bed-and-breakfast. At first, he tries to avoid Lauren, but it seems that fate has other plans. And Ryan knows that Lauren is divorced now, living alone with her teenaged son.
All He Ever Desired is about a second chance in love. Is it even possible? Ryan Kowalski sure doesn’t think so, and when he comes back to Withford after a long absence, he does the best he can to avoid Lauren, the woman he has loved since high-school. They meet on his first day back, however, as their paths cross in his soon-to-be sister-in-law’s diner. Ryan has no idea what to say to her, and ends up feeling like a dork, so much so that he doesn’t even notice how flushed their encounter leaves Lauren.
The big conflict in this installment of the Kowalski family saga is that Lauren’s son is the vandal who has been wreaking havoc around the Kowalski residence and work-place, all the while the three brothers are trying to fix things in order to be ready for winter. There are a couple of very interesting sub-plots as well, both with the youngest brother Josh, and with their house-keeper / 2nd mom Rosie. Both of these sub-plots seem to be setting something up for more books, and I’m all for that, as All He Ever Desired was just as yummy as the other Kowalskis books.
Ryan has a very hard (pun intended!) time resisting Lauren, and when they finally do get it on, things end very awkwardly, when her son comes home early from a camping-trip with his dad. Needless to say drama ensues, both between Lauren and her son, and Lauren and her ex! Ryan doesn’t know what to do, he only knows he wants to stand by her, and make sure she won’t be ashamed of being with him.
The writing is flawless, and I love all of the characters in All He Ever Desired! There are the three Kowalski brothers, of course, but other secondary characters are important to the story as well. Rosie is always present, and the other Kowalskis show up for Paige and Mitch’s wedding. If you haven’t read about Paige and Mitch yet, you should definitely pick up All He Ever Needed, although it’s not at all necessary to understand what’s going on in All He Ever Desired.
As even the secondary characters are so well fleshed out, the feel of a big family is even better than in most books I’ve read, and I really feel as if I know them all. It is quite possible that I sometimes forget that this is fiction, too. Who wouldn’t want a little piece of one of those hot brothers? Ryan started out seemingly brooding, but it was soon explained why he had built this fortress around his heart. Once it went down, though, he showed a tenderness and some hotness that was simply amazing!
The Kowaslkis is among my favorite contemporary romance series, and All He Ever Desired hit right on the mark for me. Ryan showed a different side to himself, and it was really great to see how different he could be. Lauren opened up and shared how unhappy she had been since she discovered her husband’s infidelity by walking into her own bedroom at the exact moment he and his mistress were getting ready to get dressed again… As second chances go, this novel is very hopeful, and very strong in how the characters make up their minds about what they truly want to do with the rest of their lives.
Ryan was a grown man now, but that smile still made him feel kind of funny. And he suspected if he ran into her too often, he might have to resort to his younger self’s way of dealing with it, which involved a lot of time in the shower with plenty of lathery soap.
Just watching her in that dress all night had turned him into a walking erection.
“Oh, come on. That was cheesy and you know it.” She tried to take her amusement down a notch, though. “You don’t have to try so hard, you know, Im already naked.”
Ryan slid into the booth across from Lauren, aware that nobody in the diner had given them a second look. Once you stopped attracting curious glances and triggering whispered conversations, he supposed you were a real couple.