🤩 Q: do you like the brother’s best friend trope?
I’m the oldest of my siblings & I always wanted an older brother. The idea of a big brother’s best friend wasn’t even on my radar then but now—I’m very happily married but I really like the trope 🤣.
Emma Salah’s Dirty Tactics puts a spin on it. The hero & heroine have known each other since adolescence & have secretly had feelings for each other since then. Before the book begins they’ve kissed a couple of times—once recently—& our heroine Reagan wants more but the hero Zac says no.
She’s going to make him want her. He wants to make her lose interest. Which one will win?
It took me some time to warm to Zac. Sometimes he comes across as have my cake & eat it too. But at least Reagan is aware of what a dick he occasionally is.
And let’s talk about Reagan for a sec. A sports agent who has to fight for her career, she pursues what she wants when it comes to Zac, too.
The family dynamics in this read are thoughtfully complicated & Zac’s inner conflict feels realistic. Zac wasn’t always my fave but he has a lot of work to do & by the end he understands & embraces that.
Dirty Tactics is steamy! & the heroine is a go-getter & that’s a thrilling combo in my book. Just check out the content warning before you dive in.
Past abuse of hero & his mom. The hero deals with fallout with both parents on the page.
Dirty Tactics is available now. Thanks to Carina Press & Netgalley for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
There are some writers who really get the emotional stuff—who open up their characters & reveal the intricacies of what makes them human: fallible & lovable—and Jenny Holiday is one of them.
Like @b.andherbooks noted, Paradise Cove is a pretty emotionally devastating romance. It’s also touching, sexy as hell, & hopeful.
Physician Nora just temporarily re-located to Moonflower Bay. Almost immediately she meets the handsome, dependable Jake Ramsey, who’s still reeling from his infant son’s death & his subsequent divorce years earlier—& who doesn’t want to get past the former event at all.
Eventually & beautifully Nora & Jake become friends & then BFFs...even if the whole town is shocked by that development. And somewhere along the way they start sleeping together, both of them asserting that it’s sex & friendship only.
Jake & Nora are truly admirable characters who give so much of themselves to others. If Fixer men is your kink then you’ll love Jake and if competence porn is your thing you’ll love both leads. The chemistry between them is hot & take no prisoners, & their friendship gives me all the warm fuzzies.
Holiday’s taken on a huge project with this book, incorporating grief on and off the page, & it feels nuanced & sincere. But I did feel like some of the big moments in Nora and Jake’s relationship—how they come together, how they break part, & reconnect—kinda feel like whimpers in some ways instead of having the full emotional effect I would like. That’s maybe because the grief they’re dealing with, that Jake in particular is so ravaged by, is so tremendous & understandably has a huge effect on any entanglements he has with others.
Paradise Cove is a stunning entry to Jenny Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. Maybe most of all, I’m just glad to see this couple get their HEA.
death of child (off page); death of grandparent (on page); heroine cheated on by former partner (off page)
Paradise Cove is out on 07/28. Thanks to Netgalley & Forever Publishing & Grand Central Publishing for my complimentary e-ARC & the latter two for my finished print copy; all opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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