Series: Bergman Brothers, #4
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
CW/TW: Chronic illness, anxiety, family neglect
Cozy up for a heartfelt, humorous, sizzling slow-burn in this marriage of convenience romance about finding love—and home—in the most unlikely of places.
Rooney Sullivan is sunshine incarnate. Warm, bright, always smiling, she’s everything I’m not and the last person I have any business desiring. Desperate to hide a hopeless attraction, I’ve done everything possible to keep my distance…until a charades game gone wrong brought that to a grinding halt.
Since then, steering clear of Rooney has been impossible. In a matter of months, she’s kissed me speechless, commandeered my art career, and infiltrated not only my dreams but my home. The woman who was once avoidable has become the last thing I needed: temptingly within reach.
Axel Bergman is a gorgeous grump who doesn’t have the time of day for me. Thankfully, I’ve kept my crush under wraps…well, until I kissed him. Charades got away from me, okay? It was an accident! I haven’t seen him since, which is for the best. My life is a mess, and the last thing I need is to embarrass myself further with the man who avoids me like that’s his job rather than painting modern masterpieces.
It seems the universe, however, has a different plan. When Axel and I unexpectedly find our paths—and problems—converging, a marriage of convenience proves the perfect solution. At least, until I’m facing my most serious problem yet: a once-loveless marriage of convenience that’s inconveniently become a love match, after all.
With You Forever is a sunshine and grump, marriage of convenience romance about a shy artist on the autism spectrum*, and a smiley smartypants who has a chronic IBD. Complete with combustible cooking lessons, interfering family and friends, and a steamy slow burn, this standalone is the fourth in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.
*This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.
Just when you think Chloe Liese has written the best characters of all time, she introduces you to Axel Bergman and Rooney Sullivan. And then every other character you’ve ever read starts to pale in comparison. I’ve been so excited for these two since we got the kiss during charades at the end of Ever After Always and to finally have this book in my hand and to read it with my heart so full of emotions, it’s hard to put all of that down into a review. When a book can render you speechless, it’s definitely a good thing and I’m going to try my best to do justice to this book with my own words.
With You Forever is a love story, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s a much more powerful and poignant story about finding and loving yourself. Axel and Rooney are complicated people, they’ve got their issues with different things, but the one thing they can agree on is how they feel about each other. There’s no doubt in their minds that their feelings are intense and they don’t know what to do about it. And in falling in love with each other, they discover things about themselves and start to grow into the people that they’ve always wanted to be. And in true Chloe Liese fashion, she’s crafted this story with so much love, care and patience that you definitely forgive her for the delicious slow burn she puts you through as you read Axel and Rooney’s story.
Every moment of this book is pure perfection – from their awkward interactions to their slow bonding to the cooking lessons and Axel braiding Rooney’s hair to keep it out of her face to naming Harry the dog to adopting a kitten she found on the side of the road, to talking about her illness and his being on the spectrum to the kissing, the touching and of course the sex. There is nothing in this book that shouldn’t be there, every action and element sets the course for the next thing. I could not write this review without giving away the entire story, because there’s so much more to it than just being a marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, slow burn. To feel the kind of love that Rooney and Axel do, to fall in love so beautifully and unknowingly, to connect over the littlest things – that’s what romance novels are about. And that’s what Chloe Liese does so well in her stories.
I think that even if there were no other characters mentioned in this book at all, Rooney and Axel would have carried the story without a hitch. She’s sunshine personified, happy all the time except for when her IBD kicks in and makes her absolutely miserable. As someone with IBS, I understand the kind of pain she’s going through. While mine is not as intense as Rooney’s, to be shattered like that and to still be so positive all the time is absolutely stunning. Her family life isn’t the best and Rooney isn’t always at her best either, but she finds the silver lining in everything and she rides it forever. Everyone around her falls in love with Rooney, because she doesn’t try hard to make you feel that way – she just is the most incredible person you’ll ever meet. And then there’s Axel. Sweet, grumpy, grunting Axel. I think he might be my favourite Bergman, because Axel doesn’t always use his words to express his feelings, his actions speak volumes and he uses that to show how much he cares about everyone in his life – including his dog. Chloe puts her whole self into representation and with Axel, she shows you what it’s like to love while on the spectrum and being unable to show it the right way.
As individuals, we’ve already been so fascinated by them as we see them through the course of the books. But together? They are beyond the beauty of sunrises and sunsets. There is nothing that can truly describe how wonderful they are. I loved watching Axel lose his mind over Rooney when she’s completely unaware of what she’s doing. I loved watching Rooney discover all the little things about Axel that she can’t help but love. And good god, the slow burn. It will drive you insane and have you desperate to turn the page to the end, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Because everything leading up to there is rife with sexual tension, lust and desire. Every scene they share is explosive and magnetic.
A Bergman Brothers book is incomplete without mentioning the Bergman family. I love this gang so much. This is the fourth book and every single time, we get to hang out with them in a large family setting and you fall madly in love with them. They have so much to offer, so much to share and just the entire world to give you. They love so fiercely – even when the person isn’t one of their own, see Willa, Frankie, Aiden and Rooney – and they cherish the little things and the big things. I loved seeing Axel with the man cubs, because Viggo and Oliver have me so intrigued! I am so in love with this family, I cannot wait for more.
If you haven’t read a Chloe Liese book yet, please start today, because they will change your life. And they will welcome you into the contemporary romance genre with open and wide arms in every single way.
So much love to Chloe Liese and NetGalley for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.