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Love Me Like You Do by Aimee Brown

Updated: Apr 25


Love Me Like You Do

by Aimee Brown

Published by Aria


A runaway bride. A handsome stranger. Two pasts to put behind them.


Parker is ready to marry the man of her dreams. But he isn't ready to marry her. It would be helpful if he didn't choose their wedding day to tell her this. But as she flees from the travesty behind her, she literally runs into the arms of a handsome stranger. The southern drawl, the dreamy eyes, she can't fall for another man after being left at the altar – can she?


When Liam agreed to go to go on a date he didn't expect to leave with the bride. Nor did he expect to take her the emergency room. Immediately he's drawn to her fiery spirit, her kind heart and beautiful smile. Liam's got a whole host of problems and a past that keeps coming back, now can't be the time to fall in love, but Parker might just be the one to break down his barriers and let him live a little – if she'll let him in.


Will these two strangers allow serendipity to put them together, or will their fears keep them apart?


From the bestselling author of The Lucky Dress comes a story about love, finding yourself and living your dreams.



Genre


 

I would like to thank #Aria for providing me an #ARC of #LoveMeLikeYouDo by #AimeeBrown via #NetGalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Love Me Like You Do by Aimee Brown is a standalone contemporary romance novel, BUT does star a character from one of her past books, The Lucky Dress. I want to make clear though, that it is a standalone story. I didn't read The Lucky Dress, and I didn't need to to understand this story. From what I can gather, there is very little, to no reference to The Lucky Dress. Love Me Like You Do starts on the worst day of Parker's life, when she is literally running away from her wedding after her fiancée dumps her. Then BAM! She runs into Liam, a sexy, southern, new bar owning man who isn't having the best day himself. A horrible blind date, a brokenhearted, angry bride, and a trip to the emergency room leads to two romantically damaged people to befriend each other ... and fall in love.


I have to admit, this is the first ARC that I have read in a while that I truly enjoyed. I didn't feel forced to finish it. The plot wasn't overly original, but the writing was good, it had me literally laughing out loud, and smiling, and the characters were likable. This romance was very innocent to what I usually prefer (which I know now is Aimee Brown's preference), but I didn't mind overall. I was invested in Parker and Liam's story, and I didn't need the physical intimacy to tell me they were into each other. The people in each of their lives were equally entertaining, and I didn't feel bored when Liam and Parker were not together, which, I find happens more often then not in a lot of books. My only issue is that I felt the last third of the book was kind of rushed.


I really liked Parker. She's feisty and sweet, and adorable in a way that isn't annoying. Her obvious love for her family is endearing, and even when she was pushing Liam away, I totally got it. I wasn't annoyed by it. She was left at the alter. I think it's fair that she has some trouble letting herself fall in love again. Liam is a total sweetheart. Strong, smart, and he goes for what he wants. Totally swoon-worthy material. The side characters were just as interesting! Liam's estranged father, wanting to get to know his son before dying, and introduce him to his teenage daughter was an interesting arc. Liam with a little sister is all kinds of adorable. Parker's family was even more interesting. Her dynamic with her nieces is adorable. I enjoyed that Aimee Brown didn't shy away from the harsh reality of having a sick mother (schizophrenia, with onset dementia). As society gets more accepting of those with mental illness, there is still sadly a stigma to it. Aimee gets points with me for not only mentioning that when Parker was younger, she suffered from anxiety and needed to be medicated, but to write a character with schizophrenia.


Love Me Like You Do is a cute, often humorous, little romance. It's not just two people falling in love. It's a little sliver in life, showing that it's not all rainbows and gumdrops, yet despite the reality of broken hearts and disappointment, one can overcome that, and open their heart to something truly beautiful. If you prefer "closed door" romance, with a bit of a soulmate feel to it, you will love this book.



 



 


Parker: "I can't leave with you."

I shake my head furiously, reaching down to grab my shoes from the sidewalk.

Liam: "Why not?"

he asks, his face dropping as if I've just hurt his feelings.

Parker: "Because I don't even know your name! What if you're a rapist or a murderer or worse?"

Liam: "What's worst than a murderer?"


Liam: "I'll close my eyes if you want but it'd be a lot easier with my eyes open and I'll close them as soon as it's unlaced."

Parker: "Fine."

She sighs to herself as I start to unlace the dress.

Parker: "I just thought that one time seeing my underwear today is probably enough, don't you think?"

Liam: "Considering it's the first say we've known each other I'd have to agree. Maybe tomorrow it's be OK though."


Nurse: "We do not allow visitors to have sex with the patients."

Parker: "Oh my God!"

Parker groans loudly, taking a step away from me and attempting desperately to pull the pants over her hips one side at a time.

Parker: "We were not having sex! Ew."

she squeals, obviously trying desperately to avoid any eye contact with me now that my eyes are reopened.

Liam: "I'm pretty good at it really, no need to say ew."


Parker: "Why did you save me?"

I run my hand over the scruff on my face, which looks unintentional but is about as much of a beard as I seem to be able to grow.

Liam: "Well, it was either save you or watch you die and I couldn't let that happen."

Parker: "That's nice."

Liam: "Yeah. I mean your dress was too nice for death and I don't do well with lots of blood."

Parker: "Ha-ha."


Liam: "I don't know your situation but I'm pretty good at reading people and the guy I met back on the street seemed like a tool."

She flashes a grin.

Parker: "You can say that again."

Liam: "A giant throbbing tool,"

I say her smile growing with each word.


Stella: "And who is this?"

she asks, taking a step towards him and inspecting him from head to toe, literally walking around him as she does so.

Liam glances at me, a single eyebrow raised.

Liam: "I'm her kidnapper."

Stella: "Nah ... you're too pretty to be a kidnapper."

Parker: "Ted Bundy was pretty."


Stella: "So, you're like her knight in shining armor."

Stella says as she follows me through the doorway.

Stella: "He's your Prince Charming!"

She squeals, turning quickly with that smile that screams she's about to tell this guy every single secret I've got within five minutes of meeting him.

Liam: "I guess some may say that."

Parker: "Most would not."


Parker: "If you'll excuse me."

I do an unintentional curtsy, something I clearly do too often with my niece Everleigh.

Parker: "It would seem my bed is calling me. It's not that time of the day where I wallow in self-pity and watch the same three romantic movies that I deemed my forever favorites at a young age. I'll cry into a gallon of ice cream that I will eat without a bowl. So yeah, I've got a lot planned. So, if you'll just excuse me ..."

I back out of the room, coming back briefly to grab the prescription bag from Liam's now outstretched hand.

Parker: "These may help numb the pain,"

I say as I take the bag from him.

Liam: "Of your wrist?"

Parker: "And my heart."

I say, with a small defeated sigh.

Parker: "Thank you again for helping me. Buy yourself something pretty, OK?"


Jason: "You just jumped into action? Like a freaking superhero?"

I cock my head considering the similarities.

Liam: "Now that you mention it, it was exactly like a superhero."


Parker: "Doesn't that seem counterintuitive? Like being on a diet and secretly eating an entire cake during a midnight craving? It makes no sense. Who has sex to get over a guy? It's like fucking for virginity. No thanks."

Stella: "Uh ..."

I glance over at Stella who now has her hand raised.

Stella: "I do and I gotta say after many, many years of researching the perfect rebound man I can tell you with confidence that it works. Trust me. Your aura is screaming lonely and horny."

Parker: "My aura says nothing of the sorts and it's certainly not screaming for anything."


I look her up and down.

Liam: "She's wearing cowboy boots."

I saw under my breath so only Jason can hear me. I try not to stare but it's hard not to. She looks like she's headed to a country concert after this. Brown cowboy boots, short frayed jean skirt, white nearly see-through tank top with a jean jacket and a straw cowboy hat.

Jason: "That's what you noticed? Her boots?"

Jason laughs

Jason: "She's smokin'."

Liam: "I can see that but didn't want to be the douche who noticed only that. Like some people ..."

Jason stares out at them for a moment.

Jason: "I'm the douche."


Liam: "She's gon' be a hard no."

I set the glass on the counter and grab another from the box next to me.

Liam: "She's pretty much sexually harassing me from across the room."

Jason: "Yeah but we like it."

Jason's eyes are glued to her.

Liam: "No, you like it."


Everleigh: "Where is your Prince Charming?"

Parker: "Well, Prince Charming had to go save his selfish soul so he couldn't make it."


Mom: ‘I know how the human body works, thank you very much. I gave birth to you two didn’t I?’

Parker: ‘You gave us life; the doctor surgically removed me ten days early so you wouldn’t have to damage your vagina, like you did with Harper, remember?’

I ask with a laugh. I can’t count how many times she’s told that story, still mad at Harper for almost damaging her perfect nether regions.

Mom: ‘That gynecologist still compliments me on my young vagina during my yearly exams.’

Parker: ‘Gross. You might need a less creepy gynecologist then. I think complimenting va-hoohoos is against the rules or something,’

Mom: ‘Ladies do not use the word fuck.’

I roll my eyes.

Parker: ‘Ladies also do not brag about how young their vaginas are.’

Mom: ‘You stay away from the college boys. That’s what got your mother into trouble,’

Mom adds in, finally paying attention to the conversation.

Char: ‘Two words for ya. Birth. Control.’

David: ‘How about one word: abstinence,’


The next pose is anything but easy as we lean forward, butts in the air, hands on the ground and sweat dripping onto our increasingly slippery mats. Jason doesn’t hold back and rips a fart right next to me.

Jason: ‘Sorry,’

he says out loud as the room pretends it never happened.

Stella: ‘Perfectly normal,’

Liam: ‘Perfectly normal is far too correct,’

I mumble to Jason who laughs under his breath.


Liam: ‘We have to stop meeting like this.’

Parker: ‘You think I enjoy embarrassing myself every time we run into one another?’

Liam: ‘You’re really good at it.’

Parker: ‘Thank you…’

She does some kind of little bow.


Liam: ‘Any idea who I’m fighting in this match?’

Micah rubs his chin as if he’s really thinking hard on it.

Micah: ‘I don’t know yet. Considering the experience you have I’m waiting to schedule your partner ’til sign-ups are over. I mean look at ya!’

He looks me over as he walks around me, gawking at all the wrong places.

Micah: ‘You’re all tattooed and muscular – you’re hot! A fine specimen of a man who will line the ladies up the street to watch you kick some ass.’

He laughs an ominous laugh that echoes through the room.

Liam: ‘Good to know I’m just a piece of ass to make you money,’


Everleigh: ‘At least you’re not dead yet,’

Everleigh says with a giggle, looking up at her father to make sure she said it right. I laugh to myself when he nods, a grin on his face that says he doesn’t care if Mom is annoyed.

Evie: ‘Balloons!’

Evie yells , bee-lining to the table with balloons I know I didn’t buy.

Parker: ‘Don’t worry.’

I wrap an arm around Mom’s shoulders.

Parker: ‘At least your vagina still looks forty-five. Right?’

Stella: ‘Ohhh… That’s the cake we should have ordered. One of those vagina cakes that went viral a couple years back. What were they called?’

Parker: ‘The vageode’s by Nadia Cakes. I saved the link because it was so funny but totally spaced on it for this.’

Mom: ‘You two are terrible daughters,’

Mom says almost cracking a smile. When she’s medicated and on her game, Mom isn’t motherly in any way, shape or form; however, she is funny.

David: ‘Thank God you didn’t buy a vagina cake. The last thing I want to do is explain to my five-year-old what it is.’

Parker: ‘She’s got a vagina, David,’

I say, pulling the cake from the box.

David: ‘I’m pretty sure that would be an easy conversation.’


Parker: ‘Fuck,’

Evie: ‘What does fuck mean, Aunt Parker?’

Evie asks again. Shit.

Parker: ‘Er… fuck is short for fucktrumpet. I heard your mommy say it earlier. You should ask her about it.’

I am a horrible person. Trust me, I know.


Stella: ‘Parker!’

Stella barrels towards me.

Stella: ‘I’m so sorry I’m late but I found one! He’s cute, young, and the perfect rebound guy since I know you don’t want to bone that Liam guy.’

Oh my God. This is not happening.

My jaw drops opened and Liam laughs.

Parker: ‘What?’

I ask her, now looking at a picture on her phone of a shirtless guy oiled to the high heavens, a filthy smirk on his face.

Parker: ‘Ew, no.’

Stella: ‘Trust me, girl, you’re stressed. You need to get laid.’

Evie: ‘What is laid?’

I glance up at Liam, a flush creeping up from way down my spine, burning my cheeks and ears with embarrassment. He continues to laugh to himself, awaiting an answer along with Evie.

Parker: ‘It’s uh…’

I look down at her, an awkward gritted-tooth smile on my face.

Parker: ‘It’s the words lay and down mixed, so you don’t have to say so much. Laid. Like when you lay down for a nap, you’ve laid!’

I say, trying to keep my composure even though it feels like humiliation is firing at me from every direction. I glance back to Liam who nods his head in a silent approval.

Evie: ‘I get laid too!’

Evie announces loudly.

Harper: ‘Everleigh!’

Harper yells from across the room.

Harper: ‘Ladies do not say that.’

Evie: ‘It’s OK, Mommy. It just means I had a nap. Aunt Parker taught it to me.’

Harper glares at me and I shrug.

Parker: ‘It’s not the only thing I’ve taught her today either. Oops,’

I whisper to Liam behind a hand so Everleigh hopefully won’t hear it.

Liam: ‘You’re a natural with children I see.’


Stella: ‘You didn’t tell me you’d invited Liam. I know you said he was gorgeous and a little flirty but you said you two were just going to be friends.’

I drop my head with a shameful sigh. Is this the worst day of my life? Not hardly but it’s ranking up there.

Parker: ‘I didn’t invite him. He’s Char’s brother, remember?’

I remind her of the conversation we had the night Liam and I played mini golf. We’ve been texting since then but I’ve tried to keep my distance a bit because I could see both of us letting our guard down and the flirting thing was making me nervous. I’m not in a place to get into something like that with a man so…I’m pretending it never happened.

Liam: ‘Char invited me. She thinks Parker and I are soul mates.’


Evie: ‘Can I give him this?’

Evie tears the picture we were working on together from her coloring book.

Evie: ‘Write his name on it,’

I write the name Liam at the top.

Evie: ‘Say, love Everleigh and Aunt Parker at the bottom.’

I write the words she’s requested and hand her the coloring page. She hops down from her chair, prancing her way across the room, tapping her finger on his shoulder to get his attention. He smiles down at her, glancing at me a couple times as they talk for a moment before she trots back over with a big grin.

Evie: ‘He likes you too.’

Parker: ‘What?’

I ask her a little too loudly, Liam glancing over.

Parker: ‘What did you say?’

I ask in a near whisper.

Evie: ‘I asked if he liked you and he said yes, very much. He asked if I thought you like him and I said yes, more than a friend.’

She shrugs her shoulders as she hops up onto a now laughing David’s lap.

Parker: ‘Holy shitballs, Dave! This is not good. I never said that and now he thinks I’m all hot for him romantically.’

David: ‘She’s five, Park. I’m sure he didn’t think too much of it.’

Parker: ‘Right.’

I take a breath.

Parker: ‘She’s five. Clearly she’s talking nonsense.’

My phone beeps in my pocket, and I pull it out to see who is interrupting me at the worst time ever.

Liam: You like me as more than a friend, huh?

Parker: ‘Jesus…’

I say to myself, flashing my phone to David who only laughs harder.

Parker: ‘It’s not funny.’


Parker: ‘She asked if I liked you, and I said yes. Because obviously, I do, we’re friends. From there she made her own assumptions thanks to help from her father who is sure you…’

I stop mid-sentence, dropping my head towards the ground with a flustered laugh.

Liam: ‘He’s sure I what?’

He sits down next to me, his shoulder brushing against mine.

Parker: ‘It’s ridiculous.’

I shake my head. He shrugs.

Liam: ‘You can’t not tell me now. Let’s hear it.’

David: ‘He says the way you look at me says you like me as more than a friend.’

I roll my eyes and then glance at him.

Parker: ‘See? Ridiculous.’

Liam cocks his head from side to side.

Liam: ‘I’d like to tell you you’re right but I’m a terrible liar.’

Parker: ‘What?’

I ask, my voice high and wild.

Liam: ‘I find myself thinking of you when I least expect it and you’re not terrible to look at.’

He gives me the same line I gave him last time I saw him.


Parker: ‘So…’

I say after a moment too long of silence.

Parker: ‘What’s wrong with you? How come you’re not married yet?’

Liam: ‘You been hanging out with Char? This is how she talks to me.’

He laughs.

Liam: ‘Straight to the point with no shame on what’s being asked.’

I shrug.

Parker: ‘I’ve known her a long time. Maybe I rubbed off on her?’

Liam: ‘The closest I ever got was with Jenna, and well… you know how that worked out. Tits up.’

I burst out a ridiculous laugh.

Parker: ‘Tits up? And here I thought you weren’t a southern hick.’

Liam: ‘You can take the boy out of Texas…’


Parker: ‘You’re giving me your phone pass-code ?’

I ask, tapping the screen and moving into the home screen. He smiles.

Liam: ‘I doubt you’re the snooping type. Plus, I’ve got nothing to hide. I keep my porn in a secret app if that’s what you’re worried about.’

Parker: ‘Ew…’

I say, handing the phone back to him by the corner.

Liam: ‘I’m kidding, ya weirdo .


Parker: "I think if I’d befriended you a long time ago, I never would have even wanted to marry Becker.’

He raises an eyebrow, looking over at me.

Liam: ‘Really? Why?’

Parker: ‘Oh my God !’

I giggle, the pot making my head fuzzy.

Parker: ‘Yes ! You’re like that dream guy every girl wants. You’re nice, polite, a total gentleman , easy to talk to, and trust me when I say, you’re not even a little bit hard on the eyes.’

Liam: ‘That’s uh-unexpected.’

Parker: ‘I know…’

I wave a hand kind of obnoxiously because I’ve no control over myself in the way I normally would.

Parker: ‘I know ! But I had to say it. I like you, Liam Jaxson.’

Liam: ‘I like you too, Parker.’

Parker: ‘I mean like like…’

I whisper. Liam leans towards me, his face against mine as he whispers into my ear.

Liam: ‘I like like you too…’


Jason: ‘Go to her house. Bring chocolate,’

Jason finally says when they’re done making fun of me.

Jason: ‘Trust me. The one thing I’ve learned being married to Caite is that chocolate can fix anything. Period problems: chocolate. PMS: chocolate. I fucked up: chocolate with a side of flowers. It’s a miracle food.’


Parker: ‘How drunk is he?’

Jason: ‘Let’s just say, I tried to get him to pick a different song besides sad and depressing and he called me a ding-dong and told me to step away from the karaoke machine or he’d fire me.’


Parker: ‘Hmm… keys?’

I ask Jason but he shrugs.

Liam: ‘In my pocket,’

Liam says looking down towards the pockets on his jeans. Jason shakes his head.

Jason: ‘We’re best friends but I draw the line at reaching my hands into his pockets.’

Parker: ‘It’s just a pocket,’

Jason: ‘Yeah, well , it’s just right near his peen too so I’d rather not. You go ahead.’

I roll my eyes, reaching into Liam’s front pocket and feeling nothing so trying the other side. He giggles as I pull the keys out.


Liam: ‘I’m such an idiot,’

Parker: ‘You’re not an idiot,’

I say, hoping he doesn’t really believe that.

Liam: ‘I am though. Can’t you see it? I’ve got some special power of choosing women who don’t want me.’

He’s got one of his hands resting over his eyes as if the room is too bright. I place the hand I’m still holding on his chest and walk over to flip on a lamp, turning off the overhead lights.

Parker: ‘We have that in common then,’

Liam: ‘No we don’t.’

He hoists himself up into a kind of sitting position, his legs now on the floor as the rest of his body lounges against the couch sideways.

Liam: ‘We don’t have that in common, you know why?’

Parker: ‘Why?’

I ask, sitting on next to him.

Liam: ‘Because I fell in love with you already and you don’t want to fall in love with me back.’

I let the words marinate in the air around me. Dancing around my head like in a Congo line with nowhere to go.

Liam: ‘You’re so pretty.’

He grabs my hand again, pulling it to his lips and kissing it softly.

Parker: ‘Thank you,’

I say trying not to feel all the words being said.

Liam: ‘Do you think I’m pretty?’

he asks, his head leaning against the back of the couch but his eyes on me. I nod.

Parker: ‘I do. Even when you’re plowed out of your mind, you’re pretty.’

Parker: ‘Not to change the subject, but I like it when you’re medicated, happy, and honest.’

Mom: ‘I prefer drunk and bitchy, so don’t get used to this. For all I know I won’t remember this in an hour.’

Parker: ‘You’re going to be like that crazy old maw-maw off the show Raising Hope, aren’t you?’

I laugh to myself.

Mom: ‘If you ever call me maw-maw, I will murder you, child.’

I laugh.

Parker: ‘Message received.’

Here we come, Eternal Peace Assisted Living. 


That’s when I see him. Liam. He’s sitting on the floor against the wall, just outside the arrivals gate, his arms crossed over his chest and his ball cap pulled down over his face. He’s asleep. I notice the balloons as I get closer. Three say welcome home , one is Cinderella, and the fifth says… I turn the balloon so I can see the writing, my heart stops in my chest. I love you. He picked a balloon that says I love you.


Parker: " I have something to tell you too. But, you have to close your eyes.’

Liam: ‘Close my eyes. OK.’

He closes them, and I wave a hand in front of them to check. Nothing. OK. Here goes. I stand on my tiptoes, resting a hand against his upper arm and pressing my lips against his. It takes him less than a second to have a hand on my back. I pull away slowly, not really wanting to but not wanting to create a scene either. He stares at me, his mouth partially open through a huge grin like he’s not sure what just happened but he definitely didn’t hate it.

Parker: ‘Turns out, I do love you and the timing isn’t off after all. I hope.’

I say , biting my lip and hoping to God he still feels the same way his balloon says he does. He grins.

Liam: ‘No one has ever or will ever love you the way I do Parker Montgomery."


 




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