Loved it! Hated the cliffhanger!!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌏
Character development: 👨🏻👱🏻♀🧔🏻👩🏻👱🏼♂️
I have to say, I really hated this at the start, though since I signed up to read this as an ARC, I was determined to stick with it. I have read all the previous books in the series and must confess that I never liked Matthew Caldwell. I thought he was weak, stupid and not worthy of Brooklyn (his girlfriend in high school)
It didn’t help that Brooklyn always seemed to get the short side of the stick in just about everything in her life. Matthew had what I thought were stupid reasons for hiding his relationship with Brooklyn and treating her like she was his dirty secret. Sure he was being blackmailed, but the best way out of blackmail is to tell the truth and I thought he should have done that early on.
So when this book starts out with him as a high school football coach (because he has nothing better to do), and wanting to sleep with his best friend’s wife, I hated it all. I mean really? Totally ironic that in high school he did so much to conceal the fact that James’ girlfriend kissed him so that James wouldn’t do something to hurt himself when at the time he was the one that did nothing wrong.
Now for Matt to be hanging out with James’ wife when James isn’t home and wanting her, just makes me want to punch him in the face. Not to mention the fact that though he describes James as his friend, but still hates him underneath it all and blames him for all that happened before Brooklyn died instead of realizing it was the way Matt himself dealt with everything that caused everything. Plus he resents James for having the life he thinks he should have had.
I was so fed up with Matt that I put the book down for a few days and when I picked it back up I still felt the same about him. However, I also felt sorry for the guy. I mean he did the wrong things in the past when it came to Brooklyn but he knows it and he feels a ton of guilt even 16 years later for the way he treated her. He knows what he did even though he sometimes (in his head) blames James for things. So I wanted to see him get his happy ending.
Also it was nice to learn that Matt isn’t only a high school football coach. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It is just that he came from a wealthy family his friends are wealthy, so it seemed that for him to only be a football coach would point to him having a lack of ambition. So it was nice to find out that he is the CEO of the city’s largest financial firm, who volunteers as a high school football coach as well as turning a fixer upper New York brownstone into a nice home.
Matt has a friend named Tanner who is quite the character and adds quite a bit of comic relief to this book. He owns some type of sex club/matchmaking service or something like that and may or may not do odd things on Tuesdays and Thursdays which involve wearing a man bun and dressing up in crazy colored tuxedo’s.
Anyway, the more I read, the more I liked this book and Matt. I was so glad I didn’t DNF this one, because the story was good and there were all kinds of crazy characters in Matt’s life.
“It took me a second to recognize the little man as Nigel, Tanner’s houseboy. I hadn’t recognized him because today he was dressed in some weird lederhosen. All the other times I had been here he’d always been outfitted in a strange Victorian era butler outfit.”
Suffice it to say, I am so glad I kept reading and found this book to be a breathe of fresh air. It totally surprised me and it was so different from what I expected. The path the story took was so much better than the predictable way I had been prepared for. Tanner and Nigel were a terrific bonus to the story and I had no idea what to make of them. At one point I thought Tanner might be a vampire despite this not being a paranormal story.
Anyway, I ended up loving it and now am vexed with Ivy Smoak because I had to add all those other books about james, Rob and Mason to my TBR. I also really want a book about Tanner, I didn’t see one in her list so if there already is one, someone please let me know.