I’ve made no mistake in the past that I’m a fan of Layla Hagen’s The Connor Family series. Check out my review here.
Like her series about the Bennett family, there is so much to love about this family. Orphaned in their youth, the two oldest siblings, Landon and Val, are responsible for raising their younger siblings. It creates a bond between them that continues into adulthood. As the first three books in the series show us, this family loves each other first and they find love later. For me, that engages me in the books in this series.
Only with You is Layla Hagen’s newest book. It follows the story of the oldest daughter in the Connor family, Valentina (Val). She is a successful, take charge woman. Having raised her younger siblings and running a successful company makes it difficult for Val to find her equal in a man. The few men she meets and begins to date disappoint her for their lack of commitment and their apparent inability to accept her need for control.
Enter Carter. Carter’s law firm has moved into a building near Val’s company. They meet in a local coffee shop, and they have instant chemistry. From there, Carter and Val feed their attraction to each other by randomly running into each, then arranging lunch dates, and eventually dating each other more formally. However, Carter’s life is complicated. He has two nieces who he raises, and Carter worries that Val, having already raised her siblings, won’t want that level of commitment. Similarly, Val worries that Carter may not accept her foibles, her messiness and the way she tends to take over situations. Will Carter and Val find their happy ending?
I think out of the first four books of this series this may be my favorite to date (I’m thinking Jace and Hailey’s stories may usurp this one…I guess we’ll see). One of the main reasons this is my new Connor family favorite is Carter. To be fair, Val is an amazing female character. She is incredibly successful, competent, a force to be reckoned with. What isn’t to love about a woman who can hold her own with both men and women? She is completely self-sufficient and emotionally mature. However, Carter brings a lightness to her. He is funny, engaging, fairly cocky (but in a sexy way), and he’s a gentleman. Due to Val’s experiences with the men in her life, she does not believe she can find someone who will accept her need to control or influence situations. Carter, however, loves this about her, accepting her as she comes. This is what makes him the perfect swoony book boyfriend. He sees her, cherishes her, and strives to take care of her.
I think the part of Layla Hagen’s books that I love the most is there is always a little bit of angst, but it never overwhelms you as the reader. It raises your heartbeat, unleashes the butterflies in your stomach for just a moment, and keeps you aware. Yet, it resolves quickly bringing about a happy ending. Only with You is a book that keeps you believing that love breeds acceptance, showing that love can overcome anything.
In love and romance,