Let’s just get this out of the way, I really enjoyed it and I think it is going to end up on a lot of best of/favorites of 2019, including my own.
I went into this book with minimal expectations as I haven’t read any of Talia’s recent works. It was very good. Not a ton of fluff that wasn’t relevant to the story. To quote myself from a tweet from the other night when I was talking about this book “The story is solid. The chemistry is amazing. The emotions are off the chart.”
CW: Disabled heroine who suffers from chronic pain, abusive ex, class issues
Chloe Brown is feeling lost and like she needs a “life”. She’s let life pass her pass a little while she was coming to terms with her chronic illness. Red has paused his life after things didn’t go as planned. He’s the super at her flat. Their relationship starts out a quasi-enemies, but quickly changes to friends to lovers and then just lovers.
Here’s one thing to know about Chloe and Red… They lie to themselves a lot. About how they feel. This is basically my catnip. I love it. It makes their realization of the truth so wonderful and fulfilling to me.
Chloe has a sharp tongue. I loved it. Red is swoon worthy and an expert caretaker. This book is filled with masterful examples of how consent can be sexy and can and should be given multiple times.
I want to quickly mention that Red’s ex girlfriend was abusive towards him. I don’t know that I have seen this in a book before. I thought it was handled incredibly well. She isn’t vilified as Red talks about how the relationship didn’t work. He talks about it and carries the baggage from it but does it in a way that doesn’t depict her as the evil bitch of an ex.
This book is angsty, but in the best ways. There were some moments at the end where I had to take breaks. I don’t often cry while reading and I didn’t here, but I was distressed for these characters. I felt their pain. I needed them to fix their mess. But even though they fix their mess, they aren’t perfect. They remain flawed people who love each other deeply.
Here’s a few quotes that I enjoyed in this book.
“Fine. Throw a tantrum, if you must.” “Throw a—?” Red’s incredulity was quickly cut off by a growl. “I’m not doing this with you.” She blinked down at him. “Doing what?” “Arguing. I don’t argue with people.” “That sounds dull,” she murmured. “You—just—hurry up before I lose my shit, would you?”
“Feeling a pulse of pleasure inside her, like an echo. Worrying, as always, because she felt so achingly close to him, but she didn’t think he felt the same. He was the one who’d said, after all, that he wouldn’t make things complicated. When he’d whispered those words, she’d honestly thought she was okay with it. But that, obviously, had been the horny demon inside her telling lies to get what it wanted. Because now she’d come, and suddenly she was complicated again—complicated and getting dangerously attached.”
Will you answer me? You don’t have to.” But he would, because he loved her. The thought froze him for a second before he sank into it like a feather bed. Before it became the comfort that helped him figure out how to speak. He loved Chloe. He loved Chloe like a blank canvas and a finished piece and all the exhilarating, painful, stop-and-start moments in between. He loved Chloe like tearing through the night on his Triumph, feeling alive in motion when he couldn’t feel alive inside. He loved Chloe like every glare she shot him was a kiss and every kiss she gave him was a breadcrumb-sized piece of her heart in his hands.
She missed him. She missed him so much that she was starting to hate him.
And one last one, after the black moment and they are working to resolve their mess. Chloe declares her love but knows that even if it doesn’t work out with Red, SHE WILL BE OKAY.
I need you. I’m desperate for you. I’m something without you, and I’ll survive without you, but I don’t fucking want to, so Jesus, please don’t make me.
Please authors, I would love to see more of this in books. I know the romance is central to this genre and I love it. But also, make it explicitly clear that the characters will be okay even if love doesn’t work out.
I really enjoyed this story. Grumpy heroine who is more than the sum of her parts. Soft boy hero. Characters that get in their feelings and got me in my feelings. I recommend this book. I know it has a high price point, but I think it is worth it. A few people mentioned to me that they recommended it to their library and that is a budget friendly way to get access to the book.