My rating: 5 of 5 stars
ARC received in exchange for an honest review
5 “You are irreplaceable to me” stars
FANGIRL DOWN, FANGIRL DOWN!!!!
I simply adored this book. Not from the very first moment, actually, because for the first 10% or so Brandon was acting like a true jerk, but after that I couldn’t stop reading. Everything changed on their first real date, when we finally get to know why he made all the wrong moves with Skylar, and it’s a damn good explanation. Moreover, he showed Skylar and us readers another aspect of himself, a facet which was much more likable. He peeled away his mask and reveal a funny, charming guy whose only fault was not having social skills when it comes to serious relationships with the opposite sex. In truth, after reading his lewd preposition, I’d rolled my eyes and braced for what I thought was going to turn into an office-erotica, with the boss saying: “bend over my dest” and the girl answering: “with or without panties”.
It couldn’t had been further from that!
Skylar’s characters was a positive surprise. What I loved above everything else about her is that she didn’t put up with Brandon’s stalkerish-assholish behavior. All the time, I read of heroines who are supposedly outraged by these behaviors, but then are secretly flattered and do nothing to stop the hero from acting like a douche. Not Skylar. She told him off and kept pushing him away until he changed attitude. She set him straight. You go, girl!
This was her answer when Brandon propositioned to her the first time:
“You should have HR burn my file along with those goddamn shoes. I’d rather you didn’t have a way to contact me after I’m gone.”
Oh, and also this, so you know what I’m talking about:
“Oh my God! Are you some kind of creep? I don’t know what about me makes you think ‘cheap hooker’, but Jesus FUCKING Christ! I might be the daughter of a garbage collector, but that doesn’t make me trash, you got me, motherfucker? What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you always treat women like this? Did you not learn that no means no? Do I need to call the fucking cops?”
She’s confident, young but independent, and also skeptical of his motives. She’s a modern woman, who enjoys romance but who won’t put her heart on the line on their first date just because he’s a hot shot. I respected her for that.
“Um, no thanks. I don’t get into cars with strange men I don’t know who follow me by helicopter. Subway’s fine for me.”
So, yeah, she definitely made him sweat their first date. This chick got my stamp of approval.
Their chemistry was off the charts and they kind of did things in reverse when it came to the physical aspect. Still, instead of feeling meaningless, it was clear that for the both of them, it would turn into something deeper. It was also blatant that Brandon had never felt anything similar
before and it made him even more endearing to me, because he couldn’t get one thing right when it came to Skylar and how to court her. You see this big hot-shot lawyer and billionaire turn all insecure when it comes to the basics of dating.
Another thing that surprised me was how much time and pages were spent on building their relationship. Of course, being a romance, it is to be expected, but I always love it when the author takes time to delve deeper into the more domestic aspects, like days spent on the couch
or the occasional sexy moment that is not necessary to the narration but still gives you a better insight in the characters’ lives. On a side note, the steamy scenes were super hot and Brandon was a definitely generous lover.
Supporting characters were fun, too, from Skylar’s filter-less roommate to her family. They were well-characterized and unique. I loved her grandma, Bubbe, because she was super-realistic, always trying to feed Skylar, meddling and also giving wise advice. Her father was another interesting person, because his issues added a layer of suspense and a healthy amount of thrills to the narration, which was much appreciated.
Now, let’s discuss Brandon. He’s a lawyer, co-owns a law firm and is basically a genius on top of being a billionaire. Now, I don’t read many billionaires romances but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed how he kept trying to pamper Sky and always fucked up. Tending to the ones he loves by throwing money and gifts at them is who he is, because of the way he grew up, and Skylar, being the independent spitfire who she is, is so not okay with that. I’d say this is the main issue between them and I loved how Brandon finally got to understand that meaningless gifts and such couldn’t buy her affection. Still, he cocks up once and again, causing friction, angst, sparkles and powerful feelings, both good and bad.
“I’m not crazy, Skylar. I’m just at a loss here. My life… it hasn’t always been that great. I just wanted things to be like… the movies, you know? Like a dream. Because by the time I invited you to stay the night at my house, I already felt like I was dreaming. I wanted you to feel that way. I suppose I thought things like that,” he gestured helplessly back at the box on the table, “would help.”
Truth is, this book isn’t a smooth ride, because these two guys really fight a lot. Still, it feels like a smooth ride and that because even when they’re fighting, you can feel how much they care about the other, how in love they are. Also, and for this Ms French deserves tons of kudos, when they fight, they don’t run away. This is a pet peeve of mine. I actually enjoy seeing characters fight because I perceive it as a way to progress in the relationship, you know, actually talking about issues and trying to solve them. But I’ve also learned to dread fights, because 80% of authors have separation follow every fight. It’s like a trigger. If I read a fight scene, then I get nervous because I know it will result in separation and I hate that. Here instead, Brandon and Skylar may fight, also quite heatedly, but then they find a way to compromise or one of them yields. It was mature and it made my enjoyment even greater (it also led to very hot make up shenanigans, so that’s a plus).
“I’d give you my life if it would protect you and your family. This isn’t some trade, Skylar. I just want to make you happy. You love to play, and I love to hear it. I just want to make your life better the way you make mine better. I love you, don’t you see that?”
The only flaw in the book were some typos, which goes to say how much I enjoyed it!!! They still didn’t take anything away from the narration.
Oh, and another thing that shocked me but which I was probably expecting anyway was one plot twist involving Brandon. It was well done, but it was probably the only moment when I didn’t really like Skylar because with this happening so late in the narration, their relationship was solid
enough for me to bitch at her when she didn’t listen to him when he wanted to explain.
I’d also like to spend a couple words on the length of this book. Almost 450 pages. Now, for a romance, that’s quite a lot. Especially if you think that it’s only the first book (yes, there’s a sequel). To some, it may seem too much. To me, it’s synonym of heaven, especially given the way this book was executed. It never bored me, it never frustrated me with its length, because something was always happening, be it relationship wise, be it work-wise, or family-wise.
You’re it for me. So this is me, and if I have to write you an encyclopedia a month for the rest of my life, I’ll make it my life’s work to make you fall in love with me again. I know I can be that man for you, Skylar. If you’ll let me.
Last but not least, that cliffhanger slayed me!!!! Yet it gave me hope. Because it made things super interesting for the next installments, which will come out in a few months, I believe, and which I’ll be waiting for with bated breath.
I love you.
Do you love me yet, Red?