Book Review: Only With You (Man Enough #4) by Nicole McLaughlin

Only With You

Author: Nicole McLaughlin
Series: Man Enough, Book 4
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Amazon   Goodreads

The men in Nicole McLaughlin’s Man Enough series are tough Alphas devoted to serving their country and the women who love them.
National Guardsman Aiden King has been attracted to Hannah Walters for a while, but he never made a move because of her close relationship with his best friend. But when circumstances change, Aiden is surprised when his friend gives his blessing. Problem is, there’s a reason he’s still alone after all these years, and as much as he wants her, that secret keeps him from acting on his desires.
Hannah has finally decided to wait for the kind of love you read about in books and see in movies. After her failed engagement, Aiden’s unassuming support has become a touchstone for Hannah. It soon becomes apparent that he may be exactly the kind of man she’s been looking for. But the closer they become, the more he keeps her at arm’s length.
When Aiden suggests a road trip to take Hannah’s mind off her troubles, the two of them go on a journey neither one expected. She just hopes that the final destination is them together for good.

Rating: 4.5 stars

TRIGGER WARNING!: sexual abuse

I’m also going to be talking a bit about how this topic was handled in my review, so if that’s a trigger for you, perhaps stop reading now.

Still with me? Good.

This is definitely not a light-hearted fluff read. One of the characters is dealing with some major trauma in their past, and there are some situations that set off flashbacks (that don’t go into detail) but the book does describe the character’s thoughts and feelings about the past abuse while alluding to what happened without ever really spelling it out or going deep into detail. I really, REALLY appreciated that the character continues to deal with the fallout of this abuse even after meeting “the one.” I feel like a lot of times books and stories about abuse and rape survivors have them magically move on once they find “the one,” like their love instantly heals them. Only With You is not one of those books, and instead shows the struggle for an abuse survivor to connect in a physical way with a romantic partner, as well as how hard it can be for the partner/spouse of an abuse survivor to deal with everything happening (hurting for the person you love, the struggle to not feel rejected when they need some space, encouraging them to get help). McLaughlin addresses this really, REALLY tough issue in a way that’s real – which means it’s not very pretty, but REST ASSURED! This romance has a HEA, ok?

While this was definitely heavier than my usual romance reads, it was so well written that I couldn’t put it down. I love Aiden and Hannah, and how he is so quiet and she’s so chatty, and they click together like puzzle pieces instead of struggling with that. I also love me a man who can cook! It lost half a star for some of Hannah’s creepy behavior (“You like girls, right? Are you bi?”) which she immediately realizes is not OK but just didn’t need to be there. The descriptions and relationships between Hannah and Aiden and their friends and families are so complex and multi-faceted, they all felt like real people to me. I found myself caring a lot about what happens to all the characters in this book, and definitely need to go back and read the first books in the series.

This is the fourth book in the Man Enough series, and it’s got some spoilers for a previous book that deal with Hannah’s best friend Jase and her sister Becca as the MCs. It can absolutely be read as a stand alone though, as it covers enough of that situation to catch the reader up.

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