Good story, not sure I like the writing style!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌍
Character development: 🤬🤯☺️😲
The heroine: Chloe Pierce – daughter of a very famous actress and one of the best tennis players to ever play the game. Her Mom’s best friend, Corey is a ruthless billionaire but she calls him uncle and they have a special bond.
The Hero(es): Judge Oakley – runs a program to get suburban kids out of their homes computers and video games and into nature. He loves hiking, sports and his job. He is a flirt and attracted to women who care about how they look.
The story: Chloe and her family have recently gone through major upheaval and she is the type of person that tries to make things better for everyone around her rather than focus on her own issues. When she meets Judge, he flirts in the most unconventional way which does nothing but make her angry with him and they bicker like crazy.
Though when push comes to shove, Chloe is just as attracted to him as Judge is to her. When Judge is worried about her, she can’t deny how much she would like someone to lean on and someone to take care of her for a change. But she knows that things like that always end so she doesn’t want to get used to something like that only to be let down by someone else in her life.
I liked how this book was set up, it went back and forth in time and was told from multiple POV’s including Chloe, Judge, and her uncle Corey. I loved that we got to hear Corey’s voice and I liked him from the start. I felt for him when he expressed guilt and sorrow for something awful he did years before, and for the unrequited love he has always felt. Then I felt even worse for him when Chloe was so angry at him.
Granted I didn’t read After the Climb before reading this. That was the 441 page prequel to this one. It was the story of Chloe’s Mom (Imogen/Genny), her best friend (Corey) and childhood sweetheart (Duncan/Bowie). From the reviews I have read about that, Corey is the villain so I am kind of glad I didn’t read that first.
One thing I thought was odd was that Judge was calling Chloe nicknames like “baby”, “sweetheart” and “honey” before they even went out on a real date. It wasn’t insta-love, but I just thought it was odd. I know some guys just use things like “babe” for all girls they are with right from the beginning, but it just seemed to me that using all the relationship nicknames before they are really in a relationship or even really know each other is a little to personal too soon. But that is just a pet peeve and doesn’t detract from the book at all.
I haven’t read a Kristen Ashley book in years and I found that in this one, especially at the beginning, I had trouble understanding some of the sentences. I don’t know if it was because many were passive and had a lot of comma’s or if I was just overtired (which might very well be the case). But I found myself reading certain sentences or paragraphs over a few times before I understood what it was saying.
“From the drawer where I locked my purse, I unearthed the file a man apparently named Rhys Vaughan (though, who was named that? it was so perfectly kickass, it sounded like something a bunch of romance novel readers would come up with) had amassed for me.”
Also, I know the heroine was wealthy and semi-famous and runs a fashion store and so I would expect some of the character development/world building to be describing her fashion sense. But it got to be way too much. Every time she got dressed we got the whole shebang about every item of clothing she was wearing, her shoes, her handbag, what jewelry and make-up she had on, even to how she styled her hair. I think if maybe every third outfit was mentioned like that it could have cut out quite a bit of unnecessary filler content.
I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.