The death of Dylan’s parents leave his five younger brothers and the family dairy farm in his care.
Neighbor Marissa, raised by an alcoholic father, seeks a way out. Desperate for help, Dylan offers her a live-in nanny/housekeeper position. She jumps at the opportunity. The chaotic household, full of love, feeds her maternal instincts. She falls for Dylan and the boys.
When Dylan finds himself desiring Marissa, he pulls back. His heart has been broken in the past by women resistant to a large, ready-made family. But if she walks away, she’d not only break his heart but those of his brothers, too.
Will Dylan ever believe in Marissa’s devotion to his family, risk his heart, and those of his brothers, for the woman he loves?
Marissa placed her small, warm hand to his cheek. “I can’t believe you’d believe or say such a thing. You are the most caring and devoted person I ever met. You care for these boys as if they were your own. They know how much you love them and they couldn’t possibly love you more. You are the best thing that has ever happened to them.” She paused, sucked in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “And you are the best thing that ever happened to me. You took me in, no questions asked, and let me become a part of this wonderful family, and for that, it is I who am truly blessed.”
His heart thudded in his chest. He tried to pull his gaze from hers, knowing that if she kept looking at him like she was he’d kiss her. And without a doubt, one sweet taste of her lips and he’d need to do more than just kiss her.
She stared at him like she was waiting for some response, but the emotions running rabid through his body prevented him from forming any coherent thought whatsoever. But he was saved, he didn’t have to think. He only needed to respond as she leaned toward him and pressed her soft, slightly open lips to his. He had dreamed of this day for so long, imagined how her lips would feel against his, and how she would taste. It was a good thing he was sitting down because the overwhelming heavenly feeling slamming though his body would have probably knocked him on his butt.
Dylan wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tiny body onto his lap. He inched his lips back from hers and lost himself in the depths of her ocean-blue gaze.
He cupped her milky white cheeks in his hands, then he eyed her kissable lips. Did he risk another taste? He knew the answer to that question. He was already gone, already hers, had been for some time now, but had just been too stupid to act on it. Not any longer. It was time to let himself go. He wanted her, no, needed her as much as the very oxygen he breathed.
The stairs were not the place he wanted to resume this with her so he rose to his feet with her in his arms. Though he wanted nothing more than to cart her off to his bed, he willed himself to take it slow, and took a seat on the couch, her on his lap, straddling him. He stilled for a moment to realign his thoughts. This was Marissa. He wanted to handle things correctly. He loved her and didn’t want to screw it up, and more importantly, he wanted to make sure she was truly ready. He was all in and wanted to make sure she would be as well.
He leaned toward her and brushed his lips across hers. She parted her lips slightly, drawing his tongue into her warm, moist mouth. Her sweet flavor seeped into his tongue and then filled every cell in his being. He kissed her long and softly. Her lips stayed on his, matching his every move as if she’d already kissed him for a lifetime. Their tongues danced together as if they’d composed the melody together in a past life. Her slim fingers wove through his hair, and she pulled his head more tightly to her. Instinctively, his tongue dove deeper into the unexplored depths of her mouth. He probed desperately, seeking to absorb every bit of her flavor. His arms tightened around the small of her back as he pulled her toward him, the soft curves under the sweatshirt she wore pressed firmly to him. It crossed his mind to remove the cloth barrier between them but that wouldn’t coincide with the take it slow idea that was quickly being replaced with the no better time than the present theory. His logical brain was losing the battle to his illogical body.
Minutes later, Marissa pulled back and stared at him with those bright blue eyes that always caught his attention. Her lips looked puffy. A red hue bordered them. Her normally pale cheeks were flush.
Her gaze stayed on him as her shoulders rose with the deep breath she took, and then fell when she let it out. “I’ve wanted to do that for the longest time.”
He pulled her to him again and kissed her long and slow, then heated, wet and hard, only coming up for air every so often before starting the process all over again. Who needed sleep? He could do this all night.
It was still dark outside when Dylan’s eyes popped open. He glanced at the living room wall clock. The boys would be waking soon. It was a school day.
Marissa’s head rested just below his chin. Her silky strands of hair smelled like a refreshing spring morning and felt soft against his neck. Her small warm hand lay on his chest. Her breaths were slow and even. It felt so right to have her lying in his arms. Though they hadn’t made love, he felt completely satisfied. She gave him exactly what he needed last night. Support, comfort, love, and understanding, just the nourishment he needed to regroup and face another day. If he felt this good just from kissing and holding her, he couldn’t begin to imagine how he’d feel once he made love to her, the woman he loved.
Posted by Unknown on 6th Mar 2017
Family is so important in a person’s life. Family does not always have to be blood.
Dylan has always been a responsible, careful and meticulous person. Even more so since his parents passed away. He had no idea that when he first invited Marissa to his house be a housekeeper that his brothers would love her and that he would eventually fall in love with her, too.
Marissa never thought when she started working as a housekeeper in Dylan’s house that she would find the family she craved or that she would fall in love with someone who is so protective of his damaged heart that he might not be able to love her back.
I loved the pace of the story. Not too fast or slow. With Dylan’s brothers and the rest of the characters that came into play, I think the author did a great job of not only pulling me in but she made me feel. Overall a great book with a romance and a climax that will either make you smile or cry happy tears. An easy recommend.
Posted by Poppy on 2nd Nov 2016
I enjoyed reading this book,such a lovely read just loved Dylan and Marissa story.this is the first book ive read by Valerie and i cant wait to try more go get it
Posted by Carolyn on 2nd Nov 2016
Just adored this book! Your heartstrings are tugged on both sides. First you have this family of boys that are left alone after a tragic accident with their parents and are now being raised by a gentle, sweet man, Dylan, that devotes himself to his brothers, yet still finds time to think of and do for others. Marissa is the daughter of the town drunk and is shunned by most of the town. Given the opportunity to help out on the farm, Marissa takes on some responsibility cooking and cleaning. When Marissa needs help Dylan's help with her father, things become so intense that, for her safety, she begins to stay at the farm. The bond that grows between all the men in the family and Marissa is beautiful, but the one with the youngest is adorable. You cannot help but fall in love, well if you stop fighting it you can. But Dylan has too much to lose and is too vulnerable when he needs to think of raising his brothers above and beyond anything else. Can someone love them and accept them like he does?
When it's time for Marissa to leave and go to college it's heartbreaking that there is a wall between two people who belong together, need to be together and I wanted together. Once she is out of the house, Dylan realizes just what a huge impact Marissa truly has on his home and family. Can he let the walls down and let Marissa in, or does she even feel the same way?
I loved this story and was captured the entire read!
Posted by Unknown on 30th Oct 2016
loved this book.
Posted by Christine Campbell on 28th Oct 2016
I enjoyed reading this book. He is the head of he family since his parents n GMA is taken away from the family in one accident. He bids on her for services rendered by her. She does her part and the boys get attached to her over time. Especially the oldest and the youngest. She goes to college and she comes back to their house. Her father is a drunk and doesn't really care about her just his drinking. In the end is awesome you may need tissues
I am voluntarily reviewing this book via netgalley.
Posted by Barbara A. Raffin on 28th Oct 2016
It seemed like the perfect solution. Dylan, left with the responsibility of running the family farm and raising his five younger brothers, needs a live-in housekeeper/babysitter. Marissa needs to escape her alcoholic father. They agree to help each other out. What could go wrong?
How about Dylan's family being the one Marissa always wanted? How about Dylan denying his feelings for Marissa because he doesn't want to saddle her with a family before she's had a chance to live life herself?
FAMILY FOREVER by Val Clarizio is a heart-warming read. You'll ache for self-sacrificing hero Dylan and sweet, capable heroine Marissa. You'll be charmed by each of Dylan's little brothers as they are nurtured by Marissa. You will pull for Dylan, Marissa, and the whole family with every line. A true feel-good read.
Posted by p leslie on 27th Oct 2016
*I voluntarily read a Review Copy via Net Galley. All opinion stated are solely my own and no one else's*
I was intrigued by the blurb and the story didn't disappoint: it was beautiful and heartwarming.
Dylan is only 24y yrs old but he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. When his parents died; he became the head of the family: caring for his younger siblings: emotionally, financially and physically. He runs around like a headless chicken, frantically multitasking but that's until he buys the help of his beautiful neighbour, Marissa.
Where Dylan has a family, all Marissa has is a drunken dad. She adores Dylan's brothers and they make her feel apart of their loud, highly spirited family.
Dylan and Marissa have a smouldering romance but it was realistic. I loved the intensity and depth of Dylan's emotions: his insecurities, fears and feelings are captured beautifully. I had to laugh when he got jealous at other men eyeing & touching Marissa and his reaction towards Terry was amusing - poor Dylan.
I liked all the Jacob brothers but little Luke stole my heart. His shyness was adorable but at the end when he bends down on one knee with his older brother, he was so cute. There were many moments where my heart broke for Dylan: for his loss, the heavy responsibility on his shoulders and his constant inner battle depriving himself the chance to love and be loved. Marissa was definitely more patient than me because I got really frustrated every time he came close to kissing her but chickened out lol.
A truly heartwarming book, with realistic yet down to earth characters, who capture your heart. I smiled, laughed, and enjoyed the simmering yet intense connection between Dylan and Marissa. A beautiful story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm definitely adding Valerie to my favourite author list.