This is one of those books that I’m really on the fence about how to rate it and what to say. I wanted to believe in the fairy-tale second chance at love for this mid-aged woman who found love with a young billionaire entrepreneur which is why I picked up the book, but the problem was that I believed in her chances more than she did and she’s the one that landed that assertive hottie of a man who sometimes exhibited behavior that bothered me too.
Claire Gracen has been forced to start over after nearly fifteen years of marriage with her childhood sweetheart when she learns that he’s been cheating on her with her best friend. She now lives all the way across country and has taken on a new job that pays the bills. After two years of working for Stratham, Claire draws the notice of the billionaire company founder and CEO. She denies him repeatedly and only after quite a bit of effort on the younger Jonathan Stratham’s part does she even go on a date. Claire is very insecure and really puts Jonathan through the hoops just to carry on a relationship with her. After things really seem to be finally working out and she’s ready to acknowledge things are serious, she makes a huge mistake- the type of mistake that the majority of relationships don’t come back from. Can Jonathan and Claire get past this moment?
As I said, I’m on the fence about this review not because of a lack of thoughts to share about the book, but because too many words are running through my head. I have to confess that at regular intervals I was so upset at both main characters (mostly Claire) that I wanted to set the book aside and not finish it. However, my compulsion to finish any book I start forced me to muscle through to the end. What had me so upset about this book? Claire, Claire, Claire, Jonathan, and well, Claire. She was absolutely awful to Jonathan from the moment he started showing interest. It was early on that I decided that he must have a screw loose to keep trying to win her over (and I’m talking for just a measly date or heck, let’s not get ambitious, a kind word probably would have set him up nicely because he was so eager for any encouragement from this woman). Claire had been through so much with her ex and her best friend and I get that she’d be gun shy, but her words and actions came across as hateful much of the time. If it wasn’t for the relationship with her daughters, I wouldn’t think she had a nice bone in her body. Jonathan’s behavior went a little over the top at times too, but compared to Claire, it was almost normal and could be excused because she practically drove him to it. I do get that she was employing lots of sarcasm and Jonathan saw through her lies clearly (good thing because she was rarely vocally honest with him). She did a big no-no with me close to the end that struck me as so hypocritical after what her ex-husband put her through. It wasn’t cheating, but it wasn’t exactly honest and it hurt all parties involved as a result. Those rare scenes where they spoke of their pasts or shared a quiet non-combative moment were gems to be treasured in this story.
Okay, moving along…
The story was a well-written and well plotted piece that had a few surprises. I liked that it went back and forth between the two characters’ perspectives. The author did a great job of getting me into their heads. I think the ability to get to know the characters so well and the sizzling passion scenes were the strengths of this book. I enjoyed the infusion of their family members and the others into the story. My romantic heart was bedazzled by all the beautiful activities, gifts, and details of the romantic scenes that Jonathan set up. Claire’s birthday plans for Jonathan has me sighing with bliss knowing what I did about his past and just what it meant to him.
So, while I ranted about Claire, I still enjoyed reading this story for the most part and I liked the author’s writing style. Lovers of steamy contemporary romance between an older woman and a younger man should give this one a try.
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