I wasn’t sure the direction this story was going in at first. It started out dark and sad, then felt more like a contemporary romance, and then went into an interesting mystery plot. Though I wasn’t quite sure in which direction it was really going, it ended up being an entertaining read.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Two years after the death of her husband, a woman allows herself to have a relationship, only to find that someone is trying to tear them apart. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Getting Past the Pain
Summer’s trauma over seeing her husband murdered takes its toll, and it takes two years of therapy and avoiding relationships before she’s ready to move on. Her therapist tells her its time for her to live her life and find love again, her friends want to see her happy, and though Summer will never forget her husband, she realizes she’s ready to start something new with Evan.
Evan is a football player who Summer meets when she starts working with his team. While some of the other players hit on her, the only one she’s interested in and feels safe with is Evan. He’s a good guy who treats her with respect and doesn’t want to push her into anything she’s not ready for.
Evan and Summer solidify their relationship fairly early. This isn’t a situation where we wait for that all important declaration of love since it’s said fairly early and as far as their dynamic, there isn’t much conflict. They’re made for each other. But the tension comes from the outside. Things escalate from Evan’s evil ex trying to sleep with him to someone intent on actually hurting Evan, going so far as to do something that affects some of their friends and Evan’s teammate drastically.
There were two things I really enjoyed about this story. The first is the normalcy of everything. All of the interactions felt real, not only the interactions between Summer and Evan, but also between their friends and family. The author touched on grief and hope and starting over in a way that was genuine and heartfelt.
The second thing I enjoyed was the mystery and suspense surrounding who was after Evan. I figured it out early, but it was still fun watching it play out to see how the characters solved the mystery.
The Romance Factor
Because of the romantic tropes I prefer, this one didn’t push my romance buttons. While the characters were sweet and I enjoyed their relationship, the normalcy of it didn’t leave much room for romantic conflict, which is what I really love. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good book. It was and I liked it, but the romance was a little low for me. 2/5
The Steam Factor
Sexy times were low in quantity but high on quality. While not explicitly graphic, they were definitely open door and gave a good view of what was happening. 4/5
There are other things I could say about the book, but I really can’t do it without giving any spoilers. Readers who like a good dose of danger with their romance will like this, and even though Evan and Summer’s relationship isn’t my catnip, I think it will definitely strike the right chord with a lot of other readers. The writing was solid, and I would definitely read more by this author.