STAYING FOR GOOD
Most Likely Series, Book Two
Montlake Romance, Contemporary
January 24, 2017, First Edition
Paperback & Kindle
Zoe Brown may have been voted Most Likely to Never Leave River Bend, but the paper-thin walls and suffocating air of her family’s double-wide trailer were not what she wanted for her life. Other than BFFs Melanie and Jo, the only thing that kept Zoe sane during high school was her boyfriend, Luke.
She didn’t just leave, she escaped—turning her back on the shame of her black-sheep siblings and imprisoned dad. Now a celebrity chef in Dallas, she can afford all the things she never could have growing up. But when she returns to rustic, ruggedly beautiful River Bend, Zoe has to face all that she abandoned—including Luke.
While Luke was a refuge for Zoe in the past, he knows they inhabit totally different worlds now. Anchored by his parents and his job as a mechanic in his father’s shop, Luke never felt the urge to leave River Bend—until Zoe’s return.
But when the two rekindle their old flame, Zoe is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: remain in River Bend and confront her past before it destroys her, or say good-bye to everyone she’s ever loved…again, this time for good.
BOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/Staying-for-Good-Catherine-Bybee/9781503939172?ref=grid-view
Staying for Good is a wonderful love story that also deals with some rather unpleasant aspects of life. Zoe didn't grow up in the picture perfect home. He father was abusive and eventually wound up in jail. Her family struggled with him in the home, but things continued to be difficult with him locked up as well. Fortunately, Zoe had her best friends Jo and Mel to help her get through the angsty years of middle school and high school. Her boyfriend, Luke, was another safe harbor. But she knew she had to escape the small town of River Bend, OR if she truly wanted to break free from her difficult upbringing.
Fast forward eleven years past high school graduation when Zoe broke up with Luke and left for greener pastures. Zoe is now a renowned chef with her own cooking show and opportunities abound. With Mel's upcoming wedding, Zoe finds herself back in Riverbend and Luke's arms. What could be a story of rekindled love and the two figuring out the details of a long-distance relationship, is complicated by Zoe's father being released on parole. Baffled doesn't even begin to describe Zoe's feelings when her mom, sister, and brother welcome her abusive father home with open arms.
While a beautiful story of rekindled love, Staying for Good exposes psychological and emotional scars that result from abusive relationships. Ziggy Brown, Zoe's father, is not a pleasant person and his presence brings a darkness to the story that adds depth and a cold dose of reality. Life isn't all sunshine and lollipops and Zoe knows this first hand. Her support system including Luke, Mel, Jo, and Miss Gina (not to mention Luke's parents) help Zoe make it through some very difficult times. While Zoe's family doesn't seem to want help , Jo is able to reach out to Zane in a way that allows him to come to see "reality" on his own.
Staying for good is one of those stories that you love but kind of hate as well. No one really likes to read about the dark, ugly parts of life. Topics like abuse can be uncomfortable to read about - especially when entwined with a sunny love story. But I think we need to get used to being uncomfortable once in a while. That's where we learn and grown. And this story shows beautifully how everyone needs a support system to get through the tough times. Some people are blessed to have that support system built into their family, some find it in friendships, some people have it almost forced on them, like Zane, but far too many don't have it or refuse it when it's offered.
FYI ~ Not a clean read. Intimate scenes, language, physical abuse
Honest disclosure ~ I received a review copy from the publisher
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.