As 2022 comes to a close, I’m celebrating my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and this debut easily makes the list! I’m such a second chance romance hater that it took about a dozen other readers recommending this to me before I finally dove in. And I’m so glad that I did! It’s got great tension, a unique vibe that switches between light and angsty, as well as a rich history between the characters (he’s her brother’s best friend and the whole family despises him now!) that gives it some extra bite. I absolutely loved the writing style, and I’m eagerly anticipating more from this debut author in 2023 – I loved it.
You’ll find my original review and some quotes from the book below!
I loved this SO MUCH. I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about this book for months, but – as a second chance romance hater – I just couldn’t bring myself to dive in. Finally, I decided to give it a try… and I couldn’t stop once I started reading. The crackling tension, playful banter, and electric chemistry had me absolutely hooked, and I was so completely invested in watching this couple find their way back together. Their resentment builds until it reaches its boiling point, and that had my eyes glued to every page. Yes, it’s a second chance romance. But it’s also a love story about two people who were always meant to be together, and they both messed up the first time around. As the story unraveled and we learned more details about the situation, I couldn’t help but hurt for them both. Pair that with sizzling chemistry and tons of proximity in present day, and this was just such a compelling read. I devoured it at an alarming rate, and I’m definitely looking forward to more from this debut author.
The story follows Piper, a woman who runs into the last person she ever wanted to see again – her high school ex, Sam. For years, Sam was her brother’s best friend, and for a short time he was also her everything. But insecurities lead Piper to push Sam away, and the events that followed destroyed them both. Coming face-to-face for the first time in years, Piper realizes that Sam is still the same ambitious, infuriatingly handsome guy, while she is back to living with her parents and struggling to get her voice acting career off the ground. So when the audition of a lifetime turns up, Piper is shocked when Sam offers to be her partner. Narrating a spicy audiobook with the ex she’d love to forget might be the last thing she wants, but it’s exactly what Piper’s career needs. It’s only through spending time together in the present that Sam realizes how monumentally he messed up in the past… and how he’d give anything for a second chance.
I’m a reader who hates nine out of ten second chance romances, but once in awhile there’s one that goes VERY right. This is that one for me. The history between Piper and Sam adds so much to the story, giving it great depth and a TON of tension – both sexual and otherwise. It’s a surprisingly spicy book with a rich and swoonworthy love story at the heart of it. I loved that Piper and Sam were in nearly every scene together – the constant proximity forced them to confront their past and work through it, while building something entirely new in the present. I also loved that I could empathize with both characters about the break(up) in the past. It’s kinda/sorta a Ross/Rachel situation, but it was also easy to see where they both messed up. And it was easy to love both characters in present day, while understanding how their relationship has fundamentally changed who they are today. It’s the kind of story that deftly navigates tender moments as well as tense ones, with a vibe that’s emotionally charged yet also (mostly) lighthearted. And when this couple finally gets things right? It’s magic.
I’ve got ninety-nine problems and my brother’s snarky, smart-mouthed best friend Sam is tangled up in every last one of them.
When it comes to firefighter Sam O’Shea, absence—and a regime of tactical avoidance—has been working for me juuust fine. But when the audition of a lifetime falls in my pathetically broke lap, and he’s the only one who can help me land the job, I’m willing to make a deal with the devil if it means I can kickstart my career as a narrator for audio books.
The problem? We’d have to actually do the job. Together. And then we’re told it’s for an erotic romance. Narrating steamy lines in a tiny studio with a man who lights a fire under your skin? An occupational hazard. Accidentally inciting a town scandal when your erotic audiobook clips wind up on the radio? A crisis. And falling for the one man I promised my brother—and my heart—I wouldn’t touch?
A disaster—and temptation—I can’t resist.
About the Author:
Romance author Livy Hart has two children, too many Funko Pops, and a husband who’s workin’ on the railroad—literally. She currently resides in Dallas, Texas where she enjoys long walks on the concrete and people-watching at malls so big they have their own zip codes. When she’s not writing, she’s bickering with her KitchenAid stand mixer, road-tripping to her sleepy Florida hometown, or sipping espresso on her Nonna’s porch.
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