Persuaded by Andrea Boyd. Reprinted with author’s copyright and permission:
Eighteen years ago, Felicity Sutton made the biggest mistake of her life when she broke off her engagement to Jaylon Briggs. Her father had pointed out that a year after graduating high school Jay still didn’t have a steady job, a sure indication that he’d likely never amount to anything. So despite her love for the boy, she ended their relationship and headed to college—to a life that would finally make her father proud. Biggest. Mistake. Of. Her. Life.
After years of hard work, Jaylon Briggs now operates a multi-million dollar shipping enterprise. He’s poured everything into his business, and for what? It all means nothing without the woman he loves by his side, sharing a life together. Some days, he longs to be that teenage boy again. The one with only his beat-up old surf board headed to the beach in a borrowed car, his girl beside him.
Persuaded is a Southern romance loosely based on a Jane Austen classic that shows what can happen when we choose pleasing man over pleasing God.
Here is an excerpt from Persuaded as well:
One pull of a cord and they were flying. Below, the sound of the motor powering the boat as it skidded across the surface of the water competed with the roar of the ocean. Up here, nothing but the gentle flap of the brightly colored parasail above them could be heard.
Felicity looked over at the man beside her. Hands that used to hold hers had a white-knuckle grip on the bar in front of him. And his lips… oh, she remembered the searing kisses those lips had delivered. Right now, they were pressed tightly together.
It wasn’t fear causing his tension. Jaylon Briggs had always been somewhat of a daredevil. Parasailing didn’t rank high on the list of stunts he had no doubt pulled. How could he still be angry with her after all these years? Eighteen of them, to be exact. She remembered the breakup like it was yesterday, and apparently, he did too.
Even though she had truly loved him, she had been the one to end their relationship. Would he ever forgive her?
His sister was to blame for this awkward situation. Caleigh usually played the part of friend except when it came to her brother. No way had Jay known Felicity was coming on this trip when Caleigh invited him. This was a perfect opportunity to rub it in Felicity’s face what she had given up—like she didn’t already know.
“Caleigh tells me you are back to working in your dad’s old shop now.”
Of course she did.
Despite the politeness of his words, they were full of venom. For one thing, no one had ever referred to her father as dad. Everyone called him Pappy, including Jay. Pappy had been the one to influence the breakup. He had been the one to push her into going to college to make something of herself. Had even planned out her career trajectory. And now she was back in her hometown, working in a shaved ice hut turned coffee shop.
Boy, Pappy’s plan worked out great, didn’t it?
All those eighteen years ago, Pappy had pointed out that though Jay had graduated high school a year ahead of her, he had never held a real job, nor did he have any plans to go to college.
Jay had used the excuse that he had been waiting for her to graduate so they could start a life together. He would take a menial job working in his uncle’s shipping yard down the coast in Charleston after they married, but he swore he’d make it big one day.
Evidently, his lofty dreams had come true, minus the part about her being at his side. Every time the opportunity presented itself, Caleigh would bring up the fact that Jaylon owned a successful shipping business. Apparently, she was also keeping her brother informed on what a failure Felicity had become.
“Pappy had a stroke a couple of years ago. I moved back home to take care of him.”
“I heard about that. And he still needs your help?”
Felicity looked out over the choppy, gray ocean beneath them. It neared as they were being reeled back into the boat. Jaylon always did know how to cut to the core of every issue. Truthfully, Pappy probably no longer needed her, but she had no desire to go back to the life she had before. “No, but I’ve decided to stay anyway.”
Silence prevailed again as they were drawn back into the boat to join the rest of their group. Besides Caleigh and her husband, Dalvin, two more had come along on this adventure. Vivian Emerson, who had recently moved to Walden Beach, and Bo Manning.
Bo put his arm around Felicity’s shoulder as soon as she was released from the harness. “How was it?”
Jay looked their way for a moment and then walked over to lean against the boat railing. Did he think she and Bo were a couple? They never had been but were often mistaken for such. The two usually paired up together whenever they went out as a group. She had expected to be Bo’s partner today, but ever since Vivian moved to town, his attention had been focused on her. Not that Felicity minded. She and Bo were always meant to be nothing more than friends.
She smiled up at him, glad for the friendship he offered. “It was great.”
Bo squeezed her shoulder and then moved away to take his turn at parasailing. Felicity doubted he was aware of her and Jaylon’s past relationship, unless Caleigh or Dalvin had mentioned it. She hadn’t known Bo back then, and there was no use bringing it up now.
She and Jay would never go back to what they were—two people so in tune with each other, so much in love, that the only next step should have been marriage. After all these years of separation, she still felt a connection to him somehow. But the bitterness he displayed today let her know that he didn’t feel the same way.
After everyone had gone up and the boat delivered them back to the shore, they discussed where they would go to eat later in the evening. Hidden behind a pair of sunglasses, it was easy to look her fill at Jay without anyone being the wiser. He wasn’t the lanky teenager anymore. Muscles stretched the fabric of his blue t-shirt across his chest and upper arms. His hair was a darker shade of auburn. And the manly stubble on his face had filled out from the adolescent beard he’d tried to grow back in high school.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to miss out on dinner. I’ve already made plans.” Jaylon’s declaration was unsurprising—and a relief. They had managed to avoid each other for the last two years since she’d been home. Caleigh usually mentioned an upcoming visit from her brother, making avoidance easy for Felicity. But that would no longer be necessary. The ice was broken, at least. The difficulty of seeing each other again had been lessened even if her regrets had not.
my point of view
This is Andrea Boyd’s second novel in the Walton Beach series, and if you have not yet read “Irresistibly Yours”, you should! It does not need to be read before Persuaded, but you will find Felicity there and some cross over, as well as an update into Vivian and Bo’s relationship. I enjoyed the first one so much; I could not wait for the next in the series to come out! Andrea Boyd credits Jane Austin’s “Persuasion” for the inspiration of this novel, and there are definite similarities in “Persuaded”.
The theme of second chance for love is one I have always been a fan of, no matter the circumstances behind the separation. But, Andrea takes things a few steps out of the norm, not only has the couple been apart for 18 long years, but their relationship ended due to Felicity’s father’s interference, which also broker her heart. Jaylon knows that her ‘pappy’ was behind it all those years ago, but he is still understandably bitter where Felicity is concerned. Pappy’s reason’s for pushing Felicity to further her education and not ‘settle’ for the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks becomes clear before the book is completed, but the journey this novel takes you on has several turns, a setback or two, humor, angst and is certainly an emotional rollercoaster read!
That being said, I enjoyed it a great deal, even when I wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into Felicity’s family members, and Felicity herself a time or two! This story had me punching my fist on the couch and groaning at times, with the way Felicity allows her family to run her everyday life. It also had me literally laughing out loud because Andrea brings humor to the story as well!
I was smitten with Jaylon, certainly, as he finds himself amidst all his hard earned money, and yet not happy. The steps he takes to try and ‘create’ what he thinks his happy life should look like is quite an expedition for him!
One of my favorite part about Andrea’s writing is how she takes a more mature couple and makes them relatable to anyone. By mature, I mean they are not your average 20 something lovebirds, but people who have had struggles, relationships and a past, but still find a way to create a future all while keeping God as the focus throughout the story. All of the characters in this novel are very real and authentic to me, from the selfish sisters to the overbearing father; even the best friend of Jaylon’s who is star struck at the wealth his old friend has attained.
I also love that at the heart of all of it God’s love and glory throughout the story. We all have struggles to deal with, whether it’s family members, or the ability to stand up to them in a respectful way, Andrea shows how always keeping God first, we can accomplish anything we put our hearts and minds to.
About the author:
Each of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God.
Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible.
Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC.
You can find Andrea here:
Facebook (page)- https://www.facebook.com/andreaboyd11/?ref=bookmarks
Andrea Boyd has been so kind as to offer one lucky winner a free ebook version of Persuaded via Instafreebie! Just comment on this review and you will be entered to win! Contest will end at midnight, June 10, 2018. Winner will be emailed with the link!