The Whole Time by Catherine Bybee is a fun read. Per usual, readers will love her stories that have engrossing characters, with touching and heartwarming plots.
The story is about two independent people, Selena Barone, and Ryan Rutledge. Since they have been in other books of the series, readers got to know them. Yet, this installment shows both willing to stand up to their parents to gain their independence. Selena decides to move into an apartment owned by the D’Angelo family and work as their restaurant’s manager. Ryan has decided to veer from the family wine business and does commercial realty.
After they meet at Gio and Emma’s wedding, sparks begin to fly. Both are a bit on the wild side and decide to become friends with benefits. But when cupid strikes, they seem to become involved in a relationship neither would have predicted. The problem is Selena is keeping secrets from Ryan, her family, and her “wanna be” family, the D’Angelo’s.
The story has humor, relatable real-people, and a hero/heroine who balance each other beautifully. A bonus is that there is plenty of pages with the rest of the D’Angelo’s which makes the story even more enjoyable.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Catherine Bybee: I wanted to write a different setting with the surrounding areas, outside of San Diego. This is Selena’s book and when I first wrote about her everyone thought she and Gio were going to have the relationship. It felt like she deserved her own book. In this climate, with a lot of young women growing up, she represents what others are dealing with, life decisions that are not the norm. I wanted to capture the fact that she had to break away from her controlling family.
EC: How would you describe Selena?
CB: Fiercely independent. She has a real side that everyone can identify with. My two best friends just read the book and they both said Selena is me because although I want to be independent there is this other side of me. She is stubborn, confident, flirty, and self-assured. She is very comfortable in her own skin. She finds out that she is responsible after she takes on the job of managing the D’Angelo’s’ restaurant. She is growing up in this book.
EC: How would you describe Ryan?
CB: He will stand up to his powerful father. He does love his mother and sister and tolerates his father. He is a lot like Selena. He is very self-assured. He is not cocky but confident. Not humble. He is clever. He knows when to show his cards and when to hold them.
EC: What about the relationship between Selena and Ryan?
CB: I think both have a lot more in common than most of my other heroes and heroines. In the beginning they both are not looking for forever. Ryan wants someone who understands him. He knows how to push Selena’s buttons. She wanted to find someone she could trust enough to open to. She is taken back when she does find it with Ryan. She has no doubts about her sexuality and how to use it to get what she wants. She gets her needs met. She is the male version of someone who plays the field, doing what they want with whoever they want. They challenge each other.
EC: What about pole dancing?
CB: I did one time. I got it as a birthday present. It is super hard. The workout alone is worth it. She sells videos on the Internet. Well behaved women rarely make history. My point is that she was not doing it naked. She tried to balance what she wanted to do, to be successful, but not to disappoint those she cares about in her life.
EC: What is the role of the sets of parents?
CB: Mari D’Angelo is the mother Selena wants. Mari is like the second mom and does treat Selena like a daughter. Mari knows when to accept things and hold back the reins. I had a second mom. Selena goes to her to ask for advice. Selena’s parents are not in tuned with what is going on. They will not bend. Selena’s real parents are more old- fashioned. She feels she must toe the line with her parents. Yet Ryan, does not feel he must toe the line at all.
EC: Next book?
CB: Mari lost her husband at an early age. She is a single parent. I am setting readers up for a Mari book about an over fifty-five-year-old. My next, next book is titled All Our Tomorrows. It will be a part of a series. It has an unexpected death of a monarch who has a lot of money. He has been absentee with his children. After he died the children were thrust into a world of high stakes business and money. They do not necessarily have the stakes to do the job and at the same time are searching for a brother they just found out about. It will come out next spring.