Jun 28 2014 9:00am

First Look: Kendra Leigh Castle’s For the Longest Time (July 1, 2014)

For the Longest Time by Kendra Leigh CastleKendra Leigh Castle
For the Longest Time (Harvest Cove Series)
Signet / July 1, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

For Samantha Henry, it took a ten-year absence to appreciate the close-knit New England town with an appeal all its own....

After a perfect storm of events leaves Sam high, dry, and jobless, she has to head home to Harvest Cove to regroup. Growing up, she was the town misfit, and a brief high school romance that resulted in heartbreak made her realize she was never going to fit in. But now with the support of her mother and an unexpected circle of allies, Sam starts to wonder if she’s misjudged the town all these years.

Life’s been good to Jake Smith. He transitioned from popular jock to town veterinarian without any trouble. But Sam’s homecoming makes him question his choices. The sharp-tongued beauty was never a good fit for the small community, but he’s never forgotten her—or how good they were together. While she makes it clear she’s not about to repeat the past, Jake’s determined to convince her to give him—and Harvest Cove—a second chance.

Kendra Leigh Castle's For the Longest Time adeptly shows that even misfits and dreamers can go home again. Plus, she explores a not often used conflict—allegiance to old friends or new. In many romances, the new romance interest easily fits into their significant other’s life, welcomed warming by friends and family. In real life, that doesn’t happen all that easily. You’ll love this touch of realism as Sam and Jake not only have to deal with issues of trust and forgiveness, but also torn loyalties between long trusted friends, and their new burgeoning feelings.

Few would disagree that teenage years can be agonizing difficult, especially if you are different. Sadly, there is usually one group or one individual that sees uniqueness as a reason to bully. Samantha Henry knows this well; her high school years were grim and challenging. For a while, she thought she had a special friendship with Jake Smith, but that turned out to be no more than an illusion. The only way she was able to hold it together was by escaping into her art and holding on to her an unwavering dream of leaving the pretentious occupants of Harvest Cove far behind for New York City.

In New York City, Sam is neither different nor a freak. But New York City has its own challenges, with its feelings of disconnectedness and loneliness. But that is manageable—until Sam falls prey to an unscrupulous art dealer and a deadbeat call girl roommate and as a result, temporarily loses her ability to create art.

Now she has returned, humbled but not broken, to Harvest Cove. Her plan is simple—recuperate, and get the hell out of town again. Because Harvest Cove holds nothing for her, only memories of pain and sorrow.

Samantha’s mother, Andi has always been different too, at least to the snobbish people of the Cove:

“The Henrys are all wired that way to begin with. And let’s face it Jake . . . you’re pretty normal. We all are.”

“You have your head up your ass, as usual. . . Andi is a sweetheart.“

”. . . Andi’s a complete hippie. Sure, she’s nice. Pot makes everybody nice. That doesn’t mean painting your shutters a different shade of the rainbow every week just to piss off your neighbors is normal.”

But Andi, with the wisdom of age, knows a thing or two, and she has some sage advice for Sam if only she’ll listen:

“You’re looking at this the wrong way,” her mother said in a tone that brooked no disagreement. “This is home, Sam, not the end of your life. Things get hard. For everybody. So you regroup, start fresh. Wherever you are, that’s where you’re supposed to be. . .

The biggest thing in any new place is to find yourself a few allies. Doesn’t need to be many. Two or three or even just one will do. But people who have staying power. People who’ll be there to laugh with, cry with, occasionally drink too much with. They’re not always easy to find, but when you do, it can make a place home.”

And that is what Jake thinks he has. He has been friends with the same people since high school. He knows they have their faults, but loyalty and longevity can’t be bought.

But even with his stalwart friendships, Jakes wants a chance to get to know Sam again, and explore this connection and this sense of fascination between them.

But his friends don’t see what he sees, and they’re not shy about letting him know:

Shane’s burst of disbelieving laughter wasn’t exactly unexpected, but it put him on the defensive in a way he wasn’t used to.

“Sam Henry? Freak show? No. No way. Wasn’t she into animal sacrifice or something? I remember lots of black eyeliner, black lipstick, hair in the face . . . I mean, she was cute if you could get past the weird. . . I guess”

“Hey, remember when she had a crush on you? I almost forgot about that. Man, that was sad. You telling me that she actually managed to grow up hot?”

“She grew up. Aren’t we supposed to be past all this shit? It was ten years ago,” Jake said. He turned his head to glare incredulously at Shane. “Animal sacrifice? Seriously? She was artsy, not a psychopath.”

Shane’s brows shot up at the snap in his voice. “Jake, granted, I didn’t pay a ton of attention to her class—I mean, apart from the hot girls and the guys we played sports with—but Sam kind of stuck out, and not in a good way. Don’t get all bent out of shape. You just surprised me. It’s not like you were all about her back then. Actually, I have this distinct memory of her pegging you in the head with some crumpled-up paper when you finally told her to take off.”

Regret is too weak of a word to describe how Jake feels about that incident. He wants a second chance but Sam seems disinclined to give him one.

Sam fell once for Jake’s innocuous golden eyes and his offer of friendship. She would be stupid to trust him again, wouldn’t she?

You can’t help root for a happily ever after for Sam and Jake as they try to avoid the numerous obstacles baring their way. With a little help from the right people, the right kittens and a hyperactive dog, they might just discover the path to true happiness!



Learn more or pre-order a copy of For the Longest Time by Kendra Leigh Castle, available July 1, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Leigh Davis, blogger

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