My rating: 5 of 5 stars
ARC kindly provided by Netgally in exchange for an honest review
Out of all Piper’s books, this one was hands down my favorite.
Well, first of all, I read it in one sitting. Okay, two sittings, but it counts as one since the only thing interrupting reading-time was sleep. Aaaaanyway, around 3/4 in I realized why I was devouring this book. Of course, the great characters, the swoony hero, the off-the-charts steamy scenes and dynamics were a solid base. Still, my realization concerned situations and tropes. I found almost every one of my favorite tropes and “situations” in here.
It’s like tasting a cake and loving it without really understanding what’s in it. Then you ask for the recipe and find all your favorite ingredients in the perfect doses.
- hate to love (always a big hit with me).
- friends to lovers (God bless slow burns and relationships built on trust and actual solid grounds)
- neighbors (I love this trope. Some of my fav books have this trope: “Wait for You” and “Neighbor Dearest” just to name a couple).
- lively girl meets kind of uptight hero (honestly, Nate is not exactly uptight, but he’s a Suit, cue, swooning so you get the point).
- tortured, yet not twisted hero, with a sweet side and a super-passionate nature waggling eyebrows.
- love triangle of the good kind (a.k.a. when it doesn’t last long and it’s clear to everyone the other guy is only a means to an end: make the H jealous and propel their romance forward).
- hero’s parents/family against the heroine. I’m a sucker for star-crossed lovers, but without major angst (Double suicide a-la Romeo and Juliet doesn’t do it for me).
Other things that got me squealing with happiness where:
–the fact that h and H meet right away. Page two or something. I flove when this happens. It’s so hard for me to be hooked since the very first page at times, right for this very reason. If I’m reading a romance, I want the good part to start as soon as possible. Here, soon was just amazingly soooooon.
– the hot flashback. I already said this book has a slow burn. Well, first let me say it wasn’t too slow. It was a perfect burn. Like a perfectly cooked steak. Still, the nookie didn’t happen before the half-point if I did my calculations right. Still, not even a third in, we have a very hot flashback of what happened during their first night together, which tied me over for a long while since it was scorchingly hot.
– one little plot-twist which I hadn’t seen coming. It wasn’t anything major. Just something that had me stuttering and saying: “Oh no, you didn’t! You ************ ******** **** *******(insert cussing)”
Now let’s jump on the characters. Yeah, I’m not imagining myself literally jumping Nate… at all.
Since I called him forth, let’s start from Nate, the lawyer who wanted to be Superman as a kid. I first read of him in Sealed, and was immediately amused by his antics with the cat and his relationship with Ava. It was clear these two had not just great chemistry, but also liked to tease each other. Me liked that.
So instead of starting from book one, I walked back and dived into Nate and Ava’s story. Nate’s character was more complex than I’d expected. At first, he seems like you usual confident Suit, with a cocky attitude, a Porsche and a line of one night stands under his belt. Then you see his other sides. You see the diligent son, the guilt-ridden brother, you see the caring friend, and the jealous wanna-be boyfriend. Nate was the whole package and I’ve gotta say, like Ava, the parts of him I loved more were his vulnerable ones. There’s something that does me in every time: a guy showing his insecurities and doubts, his fears. A man asking for help. It doesn’t make him less alpha. I mean, in the bedroom, Nate Townsend is a sexy beast and I would pay a pretty penny to see him play basketball shirtless, but seeing him relying on Ava, befriending her, challenging her, eating take-out Thai food and watching classic movies with her… that warmed my heart.
Ava was amazing too. I had some reservations before starting this book regarding her, because usually I relate better to practical girls rather than to dreamers. Yet she was perfect the way she was, not too boisterous or in your face as I’d feared. Instead, she showed many vulnerabilities too, but without denying her fiery spirit.
Together they were the perfect match and have easily become one of my favorite couples. Even with the issues they met down the way, the way they resolved them, it was never too angsty or too surrealistic or drama-llama-like. They were human characters with their flaws and everything. Still, I loved how, after a first moment in which both of them denied their feelings, it was Nate who pursued their relationship with more strength (hero-chaser, you’re my weakness). Sure, he was also very confident about her feelings for him, but the things he gave up to be with her made me swoon really really hard. Also the final issue was well-dealt with (which in my world means that no one did anything overly stupid and that no one was right or wrong. It was just a shitty situations,) and the separation didn’t last very long, meaning it made me one happy reader.
Will I keep reading this series? Considering, I’ve now read book 2.5 and 3, I’d say reading 1 should be a given.
Would I recommend it? Abso-effing-lutely (this is me trying to curb the cussing not to give Amazon any ammos against my review). This was the best of the series so far and I loved every single second of it. I’ll finish with some quotes, because I’ve found out nothing convinces me better to read a book than reading snippets of it.
[Nate saves Ava from a bar creep’s avances by pretending to be her boyfriend, and Ava, playing along, calls his Porsche an import. Then they have this conversation.].
Blue eyes searched mine. “I need to say something. What’s your name?”
He just nodded. “I’m Nate,” he said in a voice that was starting to make my skin hum. “Here’s the thing, Ava. A Hyundai is an import. A Porsche is an unparalleled feat of European engineering wrapped in sex.”
“What are you doing for the next ten hours?” he muttered between kisses. I pulled back, my mouth still tingling. “And a really great answer would be me.”
My eyes roamed the room for any available high-top. I stopped halfway.
“The fuck he’s here,” I muttered darkly, spotting the last person I wanted to see at a table flanked by equally good-looking bookends.
Note to self: do something about karma. Because apparently I blew up an entire planet in my past life.
I’d been so focused on Nate, I hadn’t gotten a good look at the guys with him. When I did, angels sang. Sitting next to my least-favorite mistake was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.
He was blond with a rugged jaw and a suit as sleek and tailored ad Nate’s. His blue eyes said, “I save puppies in my spare time.”
“Abby’s an old family friend,” I went on for not good reason. “We’ve known each other forever. You know how these things are.”
“Is that like an arranged marriage? Does she come with goats? Or do you bring the goats?” Her eyebrows drew together like she was trying to figure it out.
I swallowed and chuckle. “I’m not sure.”
Ava’s eyes glinted up at me with mischief. “You can’t be a very good lawyer if you don’t know who brings the goats”.
Surfers trying to show off were one thing, but lawyers on the basketball court were a different breed. There was a desperation to it, like everything mattered just a little too much.
Is there such a thing as lawyer basketball porn? I’d totally buy it.
“I found it, you know. Your comic collection.”
“Huh?” He sounded startled.
“Mhmm. The one on your top shelf. It was cute.”
“You mean manly.”
“Let’s go with cute.”