This is one of those books that I was SO SURE was going to be an easy 5-star rating for the first half… and then the second half unraveled a bit. I absolutely LOVED the forced proximity, playful teasing, frenemies banter, chemistry, and blizzard banging. This hero is all kinds of sweet and caring, and these two just feel so young and (almost) in love. The first half is all about them evolving from frenemies to something more, and almost the entirety of it is spent with them alone together. LOVED that. So how did this lose a star for me? That bubble burst when they returned home, and this lost its luster. There was too much time apart in the back half, and I never fully felt the swoons – that true sense of love vs. history, appreciation and circumstances. I still loved about 75% of it though, and it was great being back in this world.
The story follows Gianni and Ellie, two people who have been in each other’s lives for years. Their parents are friends, but Gianni and Ellie have never been close – they’re not friends, not enemies, but something in between. They never seem to stop bickering. So when they get stuck in a blizzard and are forced to stay in a motel room overnight (with only one bed, of course), it’s the perfect opportunity for them to work out their differences. The time together puts their history and relationship in perspective, and they find themselves connecting in unexpected ways. They heat up the sheets during their amazing encounter, but it’s just supposed to be one night… until Ellie discovers she’s pregnant.
I love diving into Harlow’s work, and look forward to it every time. This easily reads as a standalone, with appearances by characters from a variety of series, but most of the focus being on Gianni and Ellie themselves. These characters are much younger than I’m used to from Harlow (23), so they felt a little naive and more carefree than other couples. They were all about the lust, with raging hormones that couldn’t be contained any longer. Gianni definitely felt very young – very much like a 23-year-old, sex-obsessed dude – and that added to their troubles along the way. I really liked Gianni though; he’s such a good guy, with a playful personality and a loving streak. Ellie was easy to like during the blizzard, but I had a tougher time with her in the back half, and she’s the main reason this loses a star from me. The forced proximity was so good, and the richness of their history just added another layer of depth to this romance.
The audio was excellent. Dual narration with two great performers who made it easy to binge. The vibe is light and sexy in the first half, with plenty of conversation and some steam along the way. The back half is a little angstier, but not too heavy for audio. And the runtime was perfect for listening in one day. Not necessarily a book that I would recommend for the office – it doesn’t take long before things heat up – but this is probably one of the least steamy books I’ve read by Harlow. The focus is conversation and connection, at least in the first half. Overall, definitely a solid audio listen, and I recommend the book as a whole.
The last person on earth I want to be stranded with is Gianni Lupo.
But thanks to the blizzard of the century, I’m trapped in a roadside motel room with that cocky bastard for two straight days.
With one small bed.
Some women might thank Mother Nature for delivering a polar vortex that maroons them with six feet of solid muscle, those deep blue eyes, that sexy grin–but not me. I’ve known Gianni Lupo all my life, and he’s never brought me anything but bad luck and trouble.
So when the tension between us explodes with enough fiery heat to melt my icy defenses, I should have known what the disastrous end result would be–
A big fat plus sign.
After the snow melts, I’m left with more than just memories of the night we spent keeping each other warm. And he might be a rising star on the culinary scene, but he’s got no idea how to handle this bun in the oven.
He says he wants to do the right thing, but I’m not about to spend the rest of my life feeling like someone settled for me.
But just when I think I’ve got Gianni Lupo all figured out, he gives me a taste of the man he could be, of the family we could become, of the way he could love me if I let him.
I’m terrified of falling for him.
But one taste might be all it takes.
Start the series today!
My new neighbor is a firefighter–and a scorching hot single dad–but I swear I didn’t set off that smoke alarm on purpose.
(And I was beyond mortified when he rushed in and saw me naked.)
Nothing happened, of course–because I, Winnie MacAllister, romance junkie and owner of a constantly broken heart, have sworn off men for one solid year.
Even protective men with chiseled jaws, bulging biceps, and deep brown eyes that make my breath come faster. Even former SEALs with broad chests and strong hands that make my skin sizzle. Even gorgeous, grumpy guys who have their hands full raising two adorable little girls and claim they don’t believe in love.
Until Dex kisses me one night, and I drop all my defenses.
(Also my underwear.)
He says he’s not gentle, and he’s right. He says I should take the dream job I’m offered in another state, and he’s right. He says he’s too old for me and could never be the man I deserve.
Dex and I might be twelve years apart, but the fire between us is the kind that will never burn out.
How can I convince him to give happily-ever-after with me a chance?
Read the 3-star review here
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like Ted, Lasso, Schitt’s Creek, and Fleabag. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the BELLAMY CREEK series, the CLOVERLEIGH FARMS series, the ONE & ONLY series, AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, and the FRENCHED series. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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