Note: This ARC was provided by the publisher via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
Hold Me is the latest in the collection of Stark Ever After novellas from bestselling author J. Kenner, but while the rest came after the original trilogy was released, this is the first one that follows the events of the fourth and most recent full-length novel, Anchor Me. In order for you to fully enjoy this new novella, I'm highly recommending you read, at the very least, the full-length novels and really get to know Nikki and Damian Stark and everything they had to go through to get to where they are when Hold Me opens. There are currently four full-length novels in the Stark series and eight novellas in the Stark Ever After collection, and yes, I do think they're best read consecutively.
After Damian and Nikki Stark not only adopt their daughter Lara from China but also welcome the birth of another daughter they name Anne, life couldn't get any better. But with her maternity leave nearly over, Nikki finds herself anxious for two very different reasons. She's excited about getting back to work, to the business she's created from the ground up--her original baby. However, the new mom feels guilty over missing out on whatever milestones her two young children will be hitting while she's at work. As much as Damian wants to take on every burden his wife encounters, Nikki can't help but feel defensive. She wants it all, but that could very well mean sacrificing one thing.
I'm glad J. Kenner decided to write this novella because it serves as the perfect epilogue for the novel that came immediately before it. Damian and Nikki are one of those fictional couples that you can't help but become attached to because you feel as if you've become so invested in them after reading about the ups and downs their relationship experienced in the process of reaching their happily-ever-after. They're wealthy beyond belief, but that didn't necessarily mean everything would come to them easily. Now, they both have their own businesses, although Damian's is on a much larger scale to Nikki's, have two adorable daughters, and are still so much in love.
There isn't a great deal of angst or too much drama in this novella, which I'm actually thankful for because these two needed a break from all the stuff that happened before. I do think she overreacted a couple of times in this book, but I get what it's like to feel pressured in two different areas in your life. I wonder if this novella is the end of the Damian and Nikki part of the Stark universe. There are quite a number of series underneath the Stark franchise Kenner has created, and I think this is the right note to end the original couple's story on. I'm sure we'll still see them in other books, but these two deserve to have AND enjoy their happy ending already. Hold Me gets 4.5 stars. ♥
Date Read: 26 May 2017
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