First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…
What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.
No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.
I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.
Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.
Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?
First, let me say that before reading this book I was unwavering in my love for Gray Grayson. I was 100% sure that, no matter how endearing or cute, or hilarious, or romantic or hot Finn would be, no one would top my Cupcake.
Secondly, let me admit Finn may have just done that. Forgive me Gray, but Finnegan Mannus is simply too amazing for his own good.
Now, let’s proceed with order. This story started right with a bang. The idea of the nude photoshoot added a sprinkle of awesomeness, hotness and intimacy to their first encounter. Even though it’s not love at first sight (thank God!), it’s clear from their banter and from the sparks flying around that these two have amazing chemistry.
I also loved how the angst levels were set on “really low”. Only the last section of the book made my heart ache, but given how we have both POVs, it was clear that even when they weren’t together, they wanted to be and they needed the other. So it made even the ache bearable and kind of bittersweet.
I can’t move. All my brainpower has gone south to take orders from my rising dick. And said dick is insisting that we get closer. He wants a formal introduction
Being in Finn’s head was hilarious and it made me crack up with laughter as much as it made me swoon. There were moments when he would describe what they were doing, or looking at Chess doing something and in my mind I could taste the golden atmosphere of happiness. That feeling of completeness and rightness and utter joy he was feeling. Callihan is a pro at portraying smitten guys 🙂
I mean, read this:
“I’ve never been walked home by man without him expecting something, Dr. Phil.”
“You’ve been walking home with the wrong men, Chess.”
At first, even though they feel the attraction, they both agree on just staying friends. Finn is not the relationship kind of guy and Chess thinks he’s only a player. And I loved how Finn showed her time and time again what an incredible guy he is instead. He truly goes out of his comfort zone for her, and he may not know that he’s heading towards relationship territories, but when he gets there he couldn’t be happier to finally share something so special with Chess.
Chess, or Chester, is a unique character. She looks bad-ass with her tattoos, dyed hair-tips, but all she craves is stability, a safe harbor where to rest. They are very different people, but somehow they work perfectly together.
“Don’t coddle me,” I mutter, even though I can’t find the strength to move away. “I don’t need it.”
Finn hums in his throat. “Yes, I know. You’re a total badass. But you’ve got this wrong. You’re coddling me. I have needs woman.”
A broken laugh escapes me. “I’m already regretting my confession”
“Yeah?” My voice is a rough mumble in his sweater.
“Shut up and let me hug you.”
I cannot decide whether my favorite parts were when they were doing just random stuff like eating catfish or going to a costume party or when Finn went 100% into swoon mode and came out with stuff like this:
Hey, Chess, I don’t jut want you. I need you. I need you so much it hurts. I’m pretty sure if you leave me it will end me.
She makes me grateful for every sunrise. Because I wake up knowing she’s in the world.
As I said, there isn’t much angst going on inside the relationship, but things happen around them which they are call to face. Finn was her rock when she needed him and Chess helped him come to terms with something that happened in his recent past. Now, I’m not going to spoiler anything, but I’m going to say that there’s a scene in which, usually, the heroine would have flipped out, freaked out, thrown a tantrum and dropped the hero for the lame misunderstanding. And instead, Chess did the most mature, selfless and wonderful thing of all: she helped the person who was causing her pain. I know it sounds super cryptic but if you read it (AND YOU SHOULD!) you’ll know what I mean and you’ll be awed by how things got resolved, because it’s so unconventional and yet so adult and human it humbled me and made me love her character, and this book, even more.
“Finn, what am I going to do with you?”
His smile is an easy glide, but his eyes hold mine a beat too long. “Keep me. I’m pretty sure I’m good for no one else.”
See the nerve on this guy? How dare he be so wonderfully cute and sweet like this? In his mind, it’s clear that Chess is his one and only, but the knucklehead that he is, he doesn’t actually make her understand it through words. Men. It was fun, though, seeing this big football player, charmer by nature, being brought to his knees by this girl who, at first, he writes off as anything special and who will eventually change his life.
I kind of want to put up a commemorative plaque. ‘On this site, Finnegan Mannus gave Chester Copper five orgasms and reduced her to tears of pleasure.”
“I believe you were the one tearing up.”
“It was an emotional moment.”
We don’t get to see all the previous characters in the series. There’s only Dex who has a active role. Drew is mentioned in the end, but doesn’t really do anything. This bummed me at first, but then we’re introduced to this new cast of fun, boisterous football players and it compensated. I’m really curious about Jake, especially after what happened in the end, and hope he’ll get a story too!
The style, as usual, is flawless. It’s fast paced, there’s never a dull moment, and when you read the words “the end” you want to throw a fit because it’s over and it feels like you lost two friends. I wanted their story to never end.
“Finn… You don’t fight fair.”
“I never will hen it comes to you, Chess. You’re my girl and I’m your guy. Fate knows it. I know it. Now get on with the program.”
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.