Let me first say that a kaleidoscope plays a significant role in this book. It's almost a character in itself. And everything
having to do with the kaleidoscope was amazing. How Deck got it, how he felt about it, what it meant to him, what it represented, what happened to it, Deck's plans for it, the scene at the end... *sigh* It was truly special and I absolutely loved it. It was perfect.
Now for the rest...
Kristen Ashley has a horrible habit of having her female characters kidnapped. It's like, her go-to conflict. Emme got kidnapped, Nina got kidnapped, Faye got kidnapped, Lexie got kidnapped... there's probably more, but it's 5am and I've forgotten half of what I read now. It's tiresome. I read the book with this feeling of dread, just waiting for Emme to get kidnapped again
. Kristen Ashley is a damn decent writer, so I'm confused as to why she constantly resorts to same thing again and again. I'm sorry, but kidnapping is not
that common. Child abductions by parents? Hell yeah, that's nearly a quarter million per year in the United States alone. Adults kidnapped by their lover's enemies? Not so much. Moving on...
The threat here kinda takes a back seat and the focus is on a) mundane relationship-developing moments, and b) Emme's neurosis. There are a few scenes that feel like filler, usually sex scenes that there's no lead-in to. It's just a new scene, two days later... sexy times... then a week later, totally unrelated scene about installing windows. It was a bit weird. As for the threat, it was mostly nonexistent. The bad guy was free to cause a lot of chaos, but all he did was steal something. He was a very weak villain. I wouldn't call this a romantic suspense at all.
As for Emme's neurosis. Holy shit, this girl is fucked up. Deck tries really hard to help her, but she's just not having it. Total disconnect. Complete denial. She'll recognize how fucked up and broken her thinking is, but she makes no effort to correct it or deal with it. I had a hard time liking her. I don't like characters that are satisfied with being miserable and alone. Nobody should settle for that, much less actively campaign to stay that way. But she eventually came around. And she certainly had her moments, even before coming around.
Deck was a great character. He made a couple mistakes, tried to avoid making more. He was totally alpha, but incredibly sweet and endearing. And of course, he spoke in that same manner that Kristen Ashley has all her Colorado Mountain men speak. Half the sentence is missing... they never start a sentence with "you" or "I", they just skip it and start with a verb. It's a very odd way of speaking, but recognizable to KA novels.
If you read my reviews for Kristen Ashley's previous books in this series, the issues I have are always the same. Overuse of the same words, the same plot devices, the weird dialogue... You'd think I'd get tired of reading these books because of that, but here I am again. And I'll probably read the next book if there is one.
Overall, I liked it. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but Deck has turned out to be one of my favorite heroes in this series and the kaleidoscope part was incredibly touching. I would definitely recommend it, but I'd suggest not reading it soon after reading any other book in this series. The similarities are too obvious.