You know what? I liked it, but I also think it should’ve (and could’ve) been about 200 pages shorter. Zapata is known as the queen of slow burn romance, and I love the way she writes the subtle shifts in relationship dynamics, these tiny moments that build up the intimacy. That’s all still here in this superhero-themed romance, though I could’ve used a few more romantic breadcrumbs along the way. The romance gets sidelined by the suspense in the first half, so it’s not until 400+ pages into the book that I actually felt the attraction and romantic interest… which is a very, VERY long time to wait for any sort of payoff. And it kinda felt abrupt once we finally got there, which is crazy in a 600+ page book. So I was intrigued and interested in the story the whole way through (I honestly had no idea where it was going), but this would’ve been MUCH stronger if it had taken fewer detours on the way to finding that HEA.
The story follows Gracie, a woman who has been living on the run. She never stays in one place too long, and that has made her isolated and lonely. So when she stumbles upon a superhero in distress, it’s a shock to the system. Everyone knows The Defender as this invulnerable, powerful hero, but he just seems like a broken, grumpy man to Gracie. She can’t deny him the care he needs, even if The Defender seems to be a blunt, uncaring jerk. And as the two spend more time together, they get to know each other in a way that Gracie couldn’t have anticipated. Showing your every fault to a superhero – and having him show his as well – is sure to make the shine wear off quickly.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because the journey is all part of the fun. But I can say that it’s a story of “what happens when a superhero needs rescuing?” We see the man behind the mask, and he is one intense grump, for sure. It took awhile for me to actually like the hero, though there were moments when I could see his potential. Though superhero-focused, this is still very much a Zapata romance; it’s got those tender moments and a slow tearing down of emotional walls. We also see these two progress from strangers to friends to (finally) lovers, all from Gracie’s perspective. I do wish that there was more romance sprinkled throughout, and I honestly would’ve preferred the entire suspenseful portion in the first half be removed. It was tedious and VERY drawn out, and it did nothing to advance the romantic relationship – if anything, it just pushed them further into the friend zone. I seriously considered DNFing about 250 pages in, but knew that if I powered through a little longer, the romance would be waiting on the other side. So I’ve definitely got some concerns about the actual storyline, but there’s a whole lot of good stuff buried in the pages. That’s why a shorter length would’ve benefited this, while taking little/nothing away from the relationship. But this is certainly unlike anything I’ve read, and that is always a good thing.
Of all the things that could have landed in her yard… it had to be him.
For most people, finding a half-naked superbeing in their yard might be a dream come true.
Unfortunately for Gracie Castro, it’s the exact opposite.
Especially when he’s grouchy, rude, and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon.
But when a hero of mankind needs you, you do what you have to.
Even if it compromises everything you know.
And totally changes your life.
About the Author:
Mariana is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Amazon best-selling author and reached #7 on Amazon’s Author Ranking in 2016. Her book The Wall of Winnipeg and Me was a #1 Amazon Overall Best Seller, and was chosen as a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award nominee and also included on Amazon’s Best Books of 2016 for Romance. Wait for It reached #2 on the Amazon Overall Best Seller list and stayed in the top 100 for six weeks; it was chosen as a 2017 Goodreads Choice Award nominee in the Romance category. Dear Aaron was a top 10 Amazon Overall Best Seller and stayed in the top 100 for six weeks. From Lukov with Love was a top 10 Amazon Overall Best Seller and a finalist in the romance category for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards. Luna and the Lie became a #1 Amazon Overall Best Seller. The Best Thing was a top 10 Amazon Overall Best Seller and a 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee in romance. Hands Down was also a top 10 Amazon Overall Best Seller.
Mariana Zapata began writing love stories soon after she learned how to spell. She probably shouldn’t admit that she started sneaking romance novels from her aunt’s bookshelves way before she was old enough to even understand what it meant when a man flipped up a woman’s skirt. (Don’t tell her mom.)
Mariana is a native Texan living in a small town in Colorado with her husband and two beloved (and emotionally manipulative) Great Danes, Dorian and Kaiser. When she’s not pretending to write, she’s reading. You can usually find her burning somewhat edible experiments in the kitchen or cracking jokes at the expense of her family members.
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