Spicy and sweet, this brother’s best friend/single parent romance is cute but ultimately a little forgettable. I liked the concept of two single parents who are brought together by the death of the man who connected them. Suddenly business partners after years of barely knowing each other, these two are both grieving and not in the right headspace for love when the book begins. There’s some great tension, cute family moments, and sexy banter paired with a whole lot of spice. Personally, I thought the relationship went from zero to one hundred – I was surprised when the first hookup happened, and even more confused when love was suddenly on the table. I had whiplash. This misses on some of the smaller things but delivers on a low angst, steamy story with a bittersweet edge. It ended up landing somewhere between three and four stars for me, but the excellent audio made it fly by.
The story follows Rhodes and Rylee, two people who become a major part of each other’s lives after Rylee’s brother passes away. As her brother’s college friend and business partner, Rhodes never had a reason to interact with Rylee – until now. Both single parents who are grieving the loss of a loved one, they quickly find things to bond over, even as they clash constantly. It doesn’t take long for Rhodes to realize that he’s attracted to Rylee in a way that he didn’t anticipate, and the fact that she is also a single parent makes the situation all the more complicated. Rylee isn’t ready to jump into something serious – certainly not with a guy like Rhodes – but he’s determined to do his best to win her over.
One thing I really like about Rae’s work is that her heroes are usually smitten pretty quick, and this was another instance of that. I loved that Rhodes was all in, and he was a very likable character. I also liked the sexual tension, banter, and plentiful spice. I just… felt like something was missing the whole time. There wasn’t that wow factor to hook me; the story is actually low angst and kinda soft for the most part, but the relationship development seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. Not sure if I zoned out during some of the important moments or what, but I just didn’t keep up with the changing feelings. There’s nothing specific that I didn’t like about this one, it simply didn’t deliver on the romantic vibes I was hoping for. Plus, neither the brother’s best friend nor the single parent tropes felt like they were utilized to their fullest, so I was disappointed in both. I had a decent enough time reading this, but I do think that I’ll forget all about it sooner rather than later. So it’s a low 4-star/high 3-star read for me.
The audio was good! I enjoyed both narrators, and the audio made the story much more immersive and interesting. Joe Arden’s voice is great, and he gives an excellent performance. Not really a fan of the way he voiced the kids, but everything else was really good. I’d never heard of Avery Caris prior to this, but she also did a good job. Her voice is easy to listen to, and the audio allowed me to get drawn in. The runtime is perfect for bingeing in a single day, and light enough that it worked well in the format. I can’t recommend this one as a workday listen though, because it’s not a slow burn, and the spice is blush-inducing. But it’s a very solid audio performance, and I do recommend the format overall.
USA Today & Amazon Top 5 best-selling author Harloe Rae delivers an unforgettable romance packed with heart, emotion, and steam. Meet Rhodes Walsh—a broody single dad/bar owner—while he clashes with Rylee Creed—a grief-stricken single mom determined to fulfill lost dreams—on their road to happily ever after.
I didn’t expect to see Rylee Creed after her brother’s funeral.
That’s the initial reason my jaw hangs slack when she walks into Bent Pedal a month later.
The loss of my friend hit me hard, but that’s nothing compared to the crash she’s endured.
Grief and misery still shadow her every move.
But she’s not alone.
A little boy about the age of my daughter clings to her side.
Their shared pain is too ripe, salt in my raw wounds.
I assume we’re about to make a deal and go our separate ways.
But this bar was Trevor’s pride and joy.
She wants to honor his final wishes.
How can I possibly stand in her way?
Simple. I don’t.
Our paths collide after that point.
The journey forward is messy and complicated, much like us.
Maybe there’s an exchange to be made after all.
Rylee just has to willingly accept the wager.
Then I’ll trade her broken heart for mine.
About the Author:
Harloe Rae is a USA Today & Amazon Top 10 best-selling author. Her passion for writing and reading has taken on a whole new meaning. Each day is an unforgettable adventure.
She’s a Minnesota gal with a serious addiction to romance. There’s nothing quite like an epic happily ever after. When she’s not buried in the writing cave, Harloe can be found hanging with her hubby and kiddos. If the weather permits, she loves being lakeside or out in the country with her horses.
Harloe is the author of the Reclusive series, Watch Me Follow, the #BitterSweetHeat series, Ask Me Why, series, Ask Me Why, the Silo Springs series, Left for Wild, Leave Him Loved, Something Like Hate, and There’s Always Someday. These titles are available on Amazon.
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