Review – Since You’ve Been Gone (Welcome to Paradise #4) by Elle Kennedy

Since You’ve Been Gone is about discovering that your past doesn’t dictate your future and with a little luck and a lot of love your future can change in an instant. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

What happens on the road can follow you all the way home.

Austin Bishop is going home to face some difficult truths, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take the long way home. So rather than hop on a plane, he accepts a photography assignment that requires a cross-country drive.

The road can be a lonely place, though, and when he spots a cute redhead leaning against a broken-down car, he stops to offer the stranded damsel a ride.

Mari Smith has lost her job and her apartment, she’s moving back in with her parents, and now it looks like she’s without a car, too. When a sexy, dark-haired stranger stops to help, she’s utterly grateful. And utterly tempted to explore their sizzling chemistry.

The fresh-faced Mari is so sweet, so smoking hot, so easy to be with, Austin finds himself spilling a shocking secret he’s been holding onto for the past year. But passion doesn’t fix everything. And Austin realizes he has some personal demons to vanquish before he and Mari can hope for a chance at forever.

Warning: This book features a hero who knows exactly what he wants between the sheets and a redhead who isn’t scared to give it to him!

Review copy provided for an honest review


I’m a huge fan of author Elle Kennedy, I’ve loved her Out of Uniform series immensely, and the Paradise series has been good as well. The last book in this series left me a little disappointed so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this one, but from the first chapter I was hooked. I fell in love with Austin who’s been brooding during the last couple of books and Mari who honestly is like a ray of sunshine. Sometimes you meet people who change your life and for Austin and Mari, their chance meeting not only changed their lives but the lives of his family as well.

Austin Bishop is the youngest of four boys. He was always close to his mother until a year ago when a discovery about his life left him feeling unbalanced and hurt. As a famous photographer, Austin has always traveled but for the last year he’s tried to stay clear of his hometown of Paradise only returning when he must for a family function. His mother’s 50th birthday is around the corner but Austin doesn’t want to be there so he’s dragging out an assignment to try and stay away.

Mari Smith lost her job due to budget cuts and is forced to move from Chicago back to Des Moines to live with her parents. It’s not a move she’s looking forward to; she loves her parents but feels they’ve never understood her. When her car breaks down by the side of road and a sexy guy offers her help she figures what does she have to lose and accepts his help.

This first thing that struck me was as soon as Austin meets Mari his whole demeanor changes, we get a glimpse of the guy he use to be. The fun, prank playing brother that his siblings remember. I found it interesting how after spending the day together they weren’t ready to part ways, as a reader you could feel their connection and it wasn’t just sexual there was a bond forming between them that even they didn’t see. I wasn’t at all surprised when they continued on together or the fact that they eventually gave into their attraction and wow there is no denying these two have chemistry to spare. Hot, hot, hot!

I loved the interaction between these two while on the road and once they arrive in Paradise. It’s easy to see that Austin has come to rely on Mari for support and Mari loves that she can be herself with Austin. I’d like to say that Austin was able to clear the air easily with his family but that’s not the case. I will say that my suspicions from the last book regarding the rift between him and his mother were confirmed. I give Austin credit for trying very hard to accept what has happened, but I also understand how the news affected him as well.

This is a complicated story for a short book and I’m going to say that you will absolutely get more out of this story if you’ve read the previous books in this series. Can you read this one as a standalone? Yes, but I’m not sure you would enjoy it as much. Overall, I’ve enjoyed this series but this book is by far my favorite. I love how this couple met, the fast friendship that formed, the trust given and received, and the love that grew out of it. Since You’ve Been Gone is about discovering that your past doesn’t dictate your future and with a little luck and a lot of love your future can change in an instant.


4.5 Stars

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