This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Kensington
Released on August 27, 2019
A new author with a series I haven’t started, but it failed to grab my attention and keep it. I floundered reading this over a long time. Just no satisfaction.
I started this story without really knowing what it was about. While it was in the middle of a series, that didn’t throw me so much as just plain not caring. Magdalena “Lena” Martel left Queens to find herself in art after both of her parents have passed away. An aspiring artist who is down on her luck after her stepmom steals her identity and runs up the credit cards. Faced with having to leave school while trying to pay it all off, Lena takes a job to care for a recluse on his property. But the interview is done by a neighbor who explains the rules. Strict rules to keep away from the owner, but also in a way to draw him back to reality.
Patrick Halloran hit his fame hot and fast and got burned when he was reckless. I had no idea who he was or his history going into the story and that may be why his side of the story seemed so stilted. Young, he was a soccer star that was injured moving onto a male strip group that gained some popularity when his former neighbor, Scarlett, recognizes him in Vegas and uses him as a model for her romance books. Thrust into the spotlight, he makes his first movie, living high on his fame only to have it all come tumbling down one night while drunk and road racing with his brother in the passenger seat. Now he is scarred, injured physically and mentally, dealing with guilt and PTSD.
Lena fixes meals, sings off key, unpacks boxes and generally stays way from Pat unless he is texting her his complaints on everything she does. Slowly this changes tones, but the secrecy is kept. Sexting, phone sex, but still Pat refuses to let Lena see him. And this is where the story lags. The slow crawl to falling in love is mostly through a phone, leaving a lot to be desired.
Pat has money, maybe not an endless supply, but he is not hurting while Lena is living paycheck to paycheck trying to keep her head above water, keep in touch with her younger sister and figure out what she needs to do for the future. She is very open and loving, but also keeps to her roots of family even if they are gone. Pat his hiding away from everything and everyone. He hasn’t contacted his boys from the stipper group or even keeping up on his brother who is in rehab far away. Bitterness grows inside of him, while Lena grows fustrated with what they are to each other.
There are some other twists to the story, but overall, it just dragged on and on for me. The excitment came when he yelled or insulted her and she gave it back to him. It got old how he would hurt her even if it was a defense mechanism. Overall, I just didn’t like Pat. He came across as someone who hadn’t grown up and when something bad happens he retreated to sulk. Yes, he had some issues, but he dumped all who cared about him instead of facing his wrongs and healing.
I also felt Lena was too young for him. She had lost her mother early, then her father through a slow death with a stepmom who took no responsibility fo her daughter or husband. Lena has to get away to find herself, but in doing so she left a younger sister she felt like a mother. Letting her stepmom walk all over her, she can’t seem to find a course to her life. This all felt very authentic in a young woman trying to find herself, still feeling the general parent who isn’t, while trying to fix all the problems. She isn’t out to get a man with money. Not a gold digger, but truly a young woman confused by life and trying to just live.
The two didn’t feel authentic even after a very long courtship through a phone. She accepted him for himself and he the same to her, but he also was blind to almost anything not dealing with himself. In the end, I wanted her to move on and find a man who appreciated her and who wanted to take on life with her.
Overall, I just didn’t care for this story. I like several characters, but in the end, they weren’t enough to make me want to come back for more.
Review Writing Challenge #12
Reading Challenge #18
Literary Pickers #8 – book shelf
Bad Boys of Romance Challenge #5
Books ‘N’ Tunes Challenge #7
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 - Bad Boys of Romance Challenge
- 2020 - Books N Tunes Challenge
- 2020 - Literary Pickers Challenge
- 2020 Review Writing Challenge