I read this as part of the Red Hot Lovers Box Set. This was a new to me author and I was eager to try her stuff. First of all, I wanted to make a note that there are actually two versions of this story floating around. There is a short story version and then there is the longer novel-length version which is what this review is based on.
Now usually, I do a summary of the plot and then my thoughts on the different book elements. But I won’t be able to do that with this one because I didn’t end up reading it thoroughly from first to last. I read straight through to chapter seven and realized I was either going to have to DNF the book or skim. I was vested enough to want to know the end result so I chose to skim. I didn’t read it closely enough beyond that point until the last few chapters to give a worthy summary. So yes, I’ll need to do this a bit differently.
Before I get to what caused the issue, let me just say that the decision not to call it a day is because regardless of how I felt about the plot and the heroine, I liked the author’s writing. I really liked Adrian, the heroine’s high school sweetheart. I wanted the big HEA even if I wasn’t too thrilled about what came in between.
Now as to what put the burr under my saddle, it’s the scenario of the heroine, Mia, one year separated from an ex who cheated on her and just starting to get back on her feet. She is friends with her ex and finds that they are actually better than ever and even had a few sexual encounters after they separated with him having the run of the house on occasion. They are together for church and for their two kids. She questions if she should have given it another chance.
Into this situation walks a man Mia hasn’t seen in twenty years. Adrian was her high school love, but they were separated when he moved to Europe. They made promises and wrote until she met Dan and then she stopped responding and Adrian stopped writing. Now that she is divorced and he gave it some time, he wants a second chance. They have an instant familiarity and some things feel right even as they have to accept that twenty years’ worth of life have gone by and they aren’t the same.
This is when Mia can’t seem to make up her mind and starts to treat Adrian to her fears after what happened with her ex. And she is so worried about not hurting her ex’s feelings and even the first night she had the encounter Adrian she contemplates the temptation to get in bed with her ex because she still likes him. I had doubts as to who she thought she wanted to be with a few times. I just couldn’t get comfortable with her vacillating back and forth and went from uncomfortable with her issues of feelings for both men to ticked off when Adrian, who has been patient and honest and didn’t hurt her, was the one burned by it all. I chose to skim through most of the middle story and get to the crisis that finally wakes her up. My swoony romantic heart loved that epilogue.
So, not sure what to say recommendation wise. I really think it comes down to what are hot buttons for the reader and what aren’t. This touched one of mine because I don’t like it when characters don’t have a clean break from one relationship while in another though admittedly this was complicated with the split family thing. I’m going to lean toward a recommendation to contemporary romance fans who like mature couples in complicated situations.
My thanks to the authors for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
Challenges Met (2015):
Romance Roundabout #424 CR
New to Me #200
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