With great chemistry and a memorable meet cute, this absolutely started off on the right note. I love a good strangers to lovers romance, and these two are FIRE together right away. The closed-off, cynical hero complements the upbeat, optimistic heroine in a way that makes him a better man – and I loved how he changes during their time together. It’s rare that two characters have this much chemistry right away, and that made the first half of the book fly by. I was less enamored by the second half, though I don’t have any major issues. Something about the way the hero treats the heroine in the back half (like she’s naive and in need of someone to steer her in the right direction) rubbed me the wrong way. Part of that was an intentional choice on Brooks’ part, but I didn’t love it. But this still made for a great introduction to this new-to-me author, and I was leaning towards a 5-star rating for much of the book.
The story follows Garrett, a finance guy who goes out of his way to avoid commitments. Garrett has loved and lost, which has left him with some emotional scars and anger that bubbles beneath the surface. When his phone is damaged and he runs into a bubbly, sunshiney woman who is also getting a new phone, Garrett thinks she’s cute but a little clueless. When their phones are accidentally mixed up, it doesn’t improve Garrett’s opinion of the mystery woman. And when he discovers that Angela is the new client he’s supposed to consult with, well… it gets complicated. Another complication is the way Garrett begins softening towards Angela, and how she has him rethinking his aversion to intimacy and connection.
I really loved the phone swap, and the way these two opposites clash at the beginning. It certainly lights some sparks early on, and I enjoyed seeing Garrett out of his element. Angela is a relationship girl, so she has no intention of giving in to the attraction that burns between them, even if Garrett is very tempting. That created some conflict, and is one of my favorite parts of the book. Garrett is an interesting character, and I would’ve loved more focus on his growth and development. He openly admits that he has anger issues, and has even sought therapy to try to get them under control. I really appreciated that, though his anger raised a few red flags for me – especially paired with the fact that he thrives on control and makes Angela feel weaker. That’s ultimately what loses this a star from me; I seriously enjoyed a significant portion of the book, but a few things made me uncomfortable. The ending could’ve been better. Still, I loved Brooks’ writing style, and I can definitely see myself continuing with the series – we meet some intriguing characters along the way.
He shouldn’t have kissed me. But I shouldn’t have liked it.
Garrett Cooper is grumpy. Bossy. Rude. We’re supposed to work together to save my family’s hotel, but sparks fly every time we’re in the same room. And not the good kind.
Things get off to a rough start between us, and that’s on me…partially. Something to do with humiliating him after too many cocktails, and him pushing his grumpy luck too far.
In my defense, I didn’t know who he was at the time, but you better believe he left knowing who I was.
The next morning, he waltzes into our business meeting—grinning like a Bond villain—and embarrasses me in front of my father and uncle.
I hate him for it. Even more than I hate him for being inexplicably handsome on the outside and absolutely hateful inside. Tall, dark, and evil has never been my thing.
When Garrett kisses me to prove a point, I should hate him for that too… I want to… But I don’t.
Before I know it, an inappropriate text conversation becomes an X-rated phone call, and things have to stop there. He’s my last, best chance at saving my family’s hotel.
But they don’t.
Now this grumpy, growly man who doesn’t do relationships is feeding me strawberries in bed.
What am I supposed to do with that?
It’s time to put an end to this.
Maybe after one more kiss…
About the Author:
Abby Brooks writes contemporary romance about real people in relatable situations. With equal parts humor and heat, her books provide an emotional smorgasbord readers love. You’ll laugh, cry, and cheer her characters on as they chase down their happily ever after.
Abby lives in Ohio with an amazing husband, three fabulous kids, and a kind of okay dog. In her spare time you’ll find her messing around outside, dancing in the kitchen when she should be paying attention to cooking, and enjoying the company of her family.
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