Worth the Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters is a lesbian romance about how important is to feel like you deserve good things to happen to you and how far are you willing to go to live your life the way you want and stop yourself from worrying about what people think about you. These two questions define Merritt and Avery, two women that fell in love when they were teenagers but what could have been a beautiful love turned to be a sour memory for both of them for different reasons.
Merritt lives a quiet life as an antique shop owner. She has had her fare of romances, one-night stands and casual flirting but nothing more serious than that because she is completely and utterly convinced that nobody is going to stay with her so, why bother trying to find the perfect partner? She has suffered two big betrayals in her life and both on an early age. First her mother left her behind to travel the world with her new and rich husband and then her best friend and crush for years, Avery Crown, stood her up the night of the prom for a man and never reached out again. The last thing Merritt wants is to see Avery again but maybe an encounter might be welcome so she can say the words that have being stuck within her for fifteen years.
Avery is not your typical TV star. She doesn’t consider herself beautiful enough, nor slim or brilliant. She is quite sure the success of King & Crown is because they have a fantastic team, great chemistry on screen and a fake relationship between perfect Alistair King and plain Avery Crown that gives housewives and normal women all over the country some kind of faith about ugly ducklings ending up with swans. She is not special, her mother and manager has told her so, so she has to be grateful for what she has and try her best not to ruin it. The thing is, Avery needs to see Merritt again, being honest with her and if the woman will have her, explore what could have been.
I fell in love with Avery from the very beginning because she is brave and her courage shows even if she has everything against her. If she pursues a relationship with Merritt she will lose her job, a project she believes deeply in, and probably her career. More than that, she will leave her beloved team jobless and her best friend and fake boyfriend in a very difficult situation because Alistair’s finances are a complete mess. But she is willing to try and make things work for Merritt if only the woman would accept her.
On the other side, Merritt is totally and completely scared and petrified at the mere possibility of Avery wanting to try something with her. First she thinks Avery is straight and then that she lied to her to benefit her beloved TV show about renovations. When all the lies are out of sight, we see there is just one reason Merritt doesn’t want to even think about a romantic relationship with Avery; she knows that, if Avery leaves again, she won’t be able to survive. Thank the goddesses this stubborn and vulnerable woman has two friends that will put her on the correct path.
Here I have to bow to Karelia Stezt-Waters because I don’t remember the last time I fell in love so deeply with secondary characters. Iliana and Lei-Ling are ying and yang, ice and fire, rainbows and thunder storms and their relationship is so utterly sweet that you welcome every moment they make an appearance. Iliana is blunt, honest and has found a new kind of wisdom through her relationship with always-optimistic Lei-Ling, a woman who has the rare ability to be happy through anything and that is endearing and infuriating at the same time for Merritt.
Amazing second characters, a lot of angst and what-if’s and a love never explored which can be beautiful if only Merritt and Avery are brave enough to leave the past behind and believe they are worth it.
Thank you Karelia for bringing these amazing characters to life!
*Received an ARC edition in exchange for an honest review*