In the Long Run by Haley CassIn the Long Run by Haley Cass is a chemistry-filled romance about learning that if something in life scares you, it’s probably a pretty good reason to do it.

Taylor Vandenberg knows what the people of her hometown, Faircombe, Tennessee say about her. Too bad for them, she’s only returned to town sporadically over the last twenty-five years to hear it in-person. She’s busy running a successful travel blog, which has taken her to six out of the seven continents and given her time to grow and move beyond the perceptions of the one horse town she was born into.

Brooke Watson and Taylor’s younger brother have been best friends for the majority of their lives. It means that even if Taylor isn’t physically present, she’s always been a part of Brooke’s most monumental life experiences. However infuriating the few times a decade they see one another as adults are for Brooke, Taylor’s capricious persona and devil-may-care attitude are things she doesn’t thankfully have to contend with daily.

Except, when Taylor lands back in Faircombe for an extended stay, conveniently after Brooke and Taylor see one another in San Diego, it leads to more run-ins than Brooke would like… and more feelings than either may want to admit.

The Characters

PJ: You will fall in love with both Taylor and Brooke. Taylor Vandenberg is the free spirit that I strive to be. She’s a traveler, a dreamer, and a doer. At the beginning of the book, she has no home base. She writes a hugely successful travel vlog and appears completely at ease with her fly by night lifestyle. As soon as she was old enough, she left her stifling hometown and took off to see the world. When she unexpectedly meets upon her little brother’s best friend, Brooke in San Diego, you can immediately see the differences between these women, even though their chemistry is off the charts!

Brooke is just as lovable, but in such a different way. She has two feet squarely on the ground. She’s reliable and loyal and loves her tiny southern town more than anything. She can’t understand why Taylor left, but she’s glad that she did. Taylor has always made Brooke feel things that doesn’t fit in her ordered life. She can’t define Taylor, and that confuses her.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Monica: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I am a huge Haley Cass fan. Her full-length novels tend to be longer than what’s traditional in the publishing world, but every word always feels like it matters. She has this way (because of her masterful and extensive character building) of pulling you into the story and making you feel like you’re going along on the journey too. To me, that’s the epitome of a great lesfic book. I’m still thinking about it days later… and maybe even taking a little life advice from Taylor Vandenberg herself.

This book had so many great moments. From funny (you’ll know what I mean when you get to the Lois and Clark bit) to sweet (gah! the feelings and emotional growth!) to sexy (seriously, the chemistry is off the charts between these two), there’s something for everyone.

PJ: I loved Taylor and Brooke and the whole opposites attract vibe. These two women couldn’t be more different on the surface, but they complement each other in the best ways. They just fit. Taylor needs grounding, and Brooke needs to expand herself and I love that the writer wonderfully takes us on this journey of discovery. I love Haley Cass’s books because she has such an amazing ability to make you relate to characters as if you know them personally. She invests you into her books in the best way.

I can’t forget the steam factor, which was off the charts! You could feel the chemistry from the first contact between the main characters and it just gets better from there.

The secondary characters are also great. Brooke’s best friend, (Taylor’s brother) and the rest of Taylor’s family have a huge impact in making both women who they are, and the writer’s use of the family in the story adds to the overall understanding of both main characters.

Finally, there’s the town itself.  The writer excelled in describing the complex nature of living in a small town. On the one hand you have all the support you could imagine, but on the other, you can feel smothered and stifled. Ms. Cass’s writing is so good that you see the same town in two completely different lights as it is observed from the main characters.

Cons And Heads Up

Monica: No cons for me. If long books aren’t your thing, be forewarned this novel clocks in at around 145k words, but I look at that as a pro!

PJ: None from me!

The Conclusion

Monica: If you’re looking for a book to round out your 2021 love for lesfic on a high note, this is the one for you. It runs the gamut from sweet to sexy to thoughtful and hits a million notes in between. When the book starts, the characters are in such different places that it seems impossible for the two to make something between them work, in spite of the sizzling chemistry. But by the end, Brooke and Taylor finding their way to one another feels inevitable, and it’s one of the things Haley Cass does best.

PJ: I love that this wasn’t the cookie-cutter small-town romance. Ms. Cass expertly detailed the nuance and problematic nature a small town can be for a young person, especially a young queer person. Yet she also shows the bright sunny side that comes with a wonderful sense of community a small town brings. I adored the main characters and thoroughly enjoyed watching their journey together.

Excerpt from In the Long Run by Haley Cass

“You’re such an individual.” Amusement was written all over Taylor’s face, dark eyes seeming to spark up lighter with it. “The sun and surf of Southern California not cutting it at your standards? If you tried it out, the vibe here might do you some good.”

Brooke cringed. “You’re forty-four years old. Don’t say vibe like that.”

Taylor winked and ignored her. “Okay, so that explains what you’re doing in sunny San Diego. It doesn’t explain what the hell you’re doing in this bar.”

“What are you doing in this bar?” she countered, her stomach twisting at the thought of the disaster spectacle she’d been a part of that had driven her here.

“Would you believe me if I said I just like to come out and drink every afternoon at four o’clock?” Taylor deliberately took a large sip of her drink, while arching an eyebrow.”

“Yes,” she snorted into her own glass, before she really took a look at Taylor.

Totally clear-eyed, didn’t smell like alcohol in the least – plus, she’d ordered a fucking Sprite, and for all of her rebel acts in their youth, Brooke didn’t remember any of those acts having a particular tendency towards alcohol. For all of Taylor’s flightiness, flakiness, and, in Brooke’s opinion, total lack of responsibility… something about that statement rang false as she gave a hard look at Taylor’s face.

There were laugh lines around her mouth, crinkling slightly around her eyes as she grinned, a little deeper than the last time Brooke had really been close enough to look at her, but somehow they just made her look even more alluring. And her skin still had the same vital glow it always did.

It grated even more that Taylor was aging so well. Then again, she supposed when you didn’t have a care in the world, that was what happened.”

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9798763678154

Publisher: Indie Author

Haley Cass Online

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