When life gave you lemons, you learned who stayed and made lemonade with you. Or something to that effect. And the day Ellis Hayes kidnapped me—or, he borrowed a yacht and didn’t know I was on board—he'd definitely been handed too many lemons.Todd's rating:
We faced a dilemma when I woke up hungover in the middle of the ocean. He needed to get the hell out of town to do some soul searching and decide whether or not to divorce his wife, and I needed to get back on land because humans didn't belong on the water. There was also better cell service on land, and I had my four-year-old daughter on vacation in Paris to check in with.
Then I remembered I wasn’t a complete tool. Ellis wasn’t doing all right, and we were practically family. I had to stay and make lemonade with him. Of course, me being me, seemingly un-dateable and complicated, I had to develop feelings for him, too.
This book had so much potential for becoming a complete and total melodramatical shit-show of suffering and angst, but it never ventured anywhere close to that territory, not even once.
I flat out loved Casey's sense of humor and banter in this one. Plus, if Casey had a thought, it popped right out of his big ole' mouth, completely honest and unfiltered. I *love* a good blurter and Casey reminded me a lot of Cole from Jaime Reese's "A Restored Man," my all-time favorite blurter, ever.
I also loved how level-headed and open Ellis was to his newly-discovered attraction to men. That's generally a huge point for drama (and fleeing), but I was thrilled to not have that happen this time around. For Ellis, being with Casey was truly an "Uncomplicated Choice."
The whole 'kidnapping' aspect of the story was funny, but slightly off-base, as said kidnapper (Ellis) didn't even know that Casey was aboard the yacht. It did, however, effectively put the MC's living in one another pockets during the entire time that their relationship took form and began to flourish. I'm a huge fan of that scenario. : )
I must say the one thing that did surprise me a bit, though, was after they docked back in Camassia, when Ellis was working things out, the *complete* lack of communication, after their openness and connection on the boat, was fairly shocking.
There was a huuuuuuge "WTAF??? Did I just fall into a very clichéd M/F plot line?" point at around 70% in the story. My jaw dropped and I even e-mailed my friends to piss and moan about it.
But nope! It was all handled with skill and with a minimum of theatrics. That plot point actually allowed the story to finish up *exactly* as I'd hoped it would. Love that!
In regards to the steamy bits, those didn't disappoint, either. There were enough sexy scenes to help convey the growing attraction, but not so many that I wanted to scream, "Jesus, Ladies! Can you put your dicks away for 2 goddamn minutes?" ;- )
I was pretty thrilled with the HEA that played out in the epilogue and also should mention that the kids were 'present', but not omnipresent. I'd actually be thrilled to find myself in a parenting arrangement much like Casey had with Lincoln and Ade.
I would like to bring up a point that my friend Dani mentioned in her review about this being a standalone book. While in theory, yes, the plot in this story does *not* require you to know anything from the previous books, I'd skipped the 3rd and 4th (M/F) books and *did* feel a bit lost at times at the mention of some characters from the books that I missed. Not to the detriment of the story, but it definitely fueled some confusion.
So between the humor, banter, and the feels, I'd have to rate this one a solid 4.25 stars and highly recommend it, especially if you've already read all (or even some) of the previous books.
My ARC copy of the book was graciously provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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