There’s a special feeling when you pick up a book by an author you’ve been reading for a while and you just know that they have relaxed into writing. In With You Forever, the fourth in the Bergman Brothers series, Chloe Liese feels like she’s hit her stride. The book is relaxed and confident. There were no moments when I felt like she had added something to the story because she thought it was required. It made reading this book like sinking into the most comfortable reading chair with your beloved pet snuggling you in just the right way, with occasional extra good hugs from someone you love.
Rooney is Willa’s best friend, and has been adopted into the larger Bergman clan. The Bergmans are pretty sure that Rooney and Axel, the eldest Bergman brother, have feelings for each other and have tried to nudge them along. Rooney has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a chronic illness, which has flared up badly. She needs a break, so Willa and Ryder offer her the use of the family A-frame in Washington State. Except, and Willa knows this, it’s Axel’s time at the cabin. What Will doesn’t know is that the A-frame is in need of significant and immediate repairs that Axel wants to take care of without the family finding out.
Rooney stays at Axel’s small cabin, and some other things happen that I don’t want to spoil. They spend time together, gradually and carefully showing each other their most vulnerable pieces. Long before they get to the penetrative sex, they are talking about how touch feels to them, and what works or doesn’t for their bodies and their libidos. Rooney’s IBD is a chronic condition that impacts her body all the time. Axel’s autism impacts not only the way he experiences and processes feelings, but also the way he responds to touch. Part of the sexy steamy in this book are the conversations about communication, wanting, and even the stuff that makes them feel unsexy. It’s makes me wish I could go back in time and renegotiate a lot of my own past experiences. It’s just so swoony.
There is a third act break up here. I am not averse to them if they make sense. They can be quite cathartic. In this case, it did make sense and it was cathartic.
The Bergman family make enough appearances that I am ready for Viggo’s book (which is probably not next). He is both very lovable and also love is going to kick him in the pants in ways he can’t imagine.
CW: grief, IBD flareup, difficult parental relationships, abandoned animals (they are all safe and healthy).
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.