Book Review: Heart Breaker by Erin McCarthy

I’m not entirely sure if this can be completely considered a second chance novel. I mean, it is, but it’s even different from most of the ones I’ve read recently. Which isn’t to say it was bad, just different. Also, the couple in this book seriously win the Hot Mess Award of the week.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A songwriter duo who had a volatile relationship is forced to work together in seclusion in order to get their next album written. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Epic Breakup
Jolene and Chance are huge in the media spotlight, one because they’re a top Nashville singing duo, and two because they were sweethearts who ended with a messy breakup. When they come together in the beginning of the story, they outwardly can’t stand each other, even though underneath the surface they still have feelings for one another. Their breakup involved Chance being seen with another woman, guitar being thrown in a pool, and a lot of yelling, so yeah, there’s some bitterness on both sides. But per their contract, they have to make another album together. Sucks to be them.

Rough Starts
I was a little skeptical at first. It was a second chance story with a pre-existing relationship, and I normally like my stories to be about that first exploration and relationship of a couple. Also, I wasn’t crazy about how the book started. It was a lot of them thinking of how hot the other one is and fighting the fact that they wanted to get going on that horizontal two-step even though they both know it’s probably a bad idea.

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Finding the Story Mojo
But the second part of the book picked up, and I realized by the end just how much I enjoyed this story. First of all, there’s a major opposites attract thing going on. Jolene wants the fame and the glamour of Nashville. Having come from a poor family, she now enjoys the excess her fame gets her. Except when she’s half naked and without makeup, she likes the perks of the paparazzi as well. Her career comes first, at least at the beginning.

Chance sees her as something of a fame whore. He wants quiet fame. After being the son of a drunk father who was country music royalty, he wants to stay behind the scenes and write the music, not be in the spotlight. Jolene sees him as contrary and unbending, another factor that lead to their breakup.

Sex Cabin in the Woods
Being put in a secluded cabin to write country songs together isn’t necessarily a great thing if you’re trying to reign in your hormones, so of course they start rekindling their relationship, which means some sexy times first, and later the realization of how much they care for each other. Once things got past the constant ogling, I loved how these two evolved together. At the beginning, they’re young and hot headed and all sorts of diva, but getting back together helps them realize a lot of the mistakes they made and to see things from a different perspective. They actually grow up, and I thought this story had some awesome character development.

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The Romance Factor
It was hard to find the romance at the beginning, but it eventually came together and it came on strong. I went all sorts of girly when Chance told Jolene he loved her. But even that didn’t resolve everything, and there was more conflict to get through, which you’d think would detract from the romance. Nope. It just made it stronger. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Sex is the first thing that brings them together and the doorway through which they let all the other feelings through. It was steamy, though not overly frequent so as to take away from the story. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Happy endings are satisfying, and this one felt really satisfying because Chance and Jolene had to work for it. The character development nailed it for me. I really want to see Jolene’s sister (who’s a snarky pistol of a character) be featured in a future Nashville Nights book, so here’s to hoping that happens. Either way, I’ll definitely snatch up the next one when it comes out.

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