It's hard for me to review this book properly right now, because even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, it ends with a lot of unanswered questions AND a tentative HFN.
I need to know what direction the sequel will take first (and there better be a sequel!), before I finally make up my mind.
Because one of my most loathed pet peeves reared its ugly head at the end:
a fucking love triangle
So it could go either way at this point.
"Ford took a deep breath and released it in a sigh. “I have never had a successful relationship. I keep picking these guys who are bad for me, or maybe they’re not bad for me, but somehow I turn them into guys who are bad for me.”
“You’ve had one bad ex. I get that he was an asshole, although you’ve never told me exactly what happened there either, but one bad relationship does not mean every relationship you have is doomed to be bad.”
This dialogue pretty much sums up my feelings towards Ford. Good Lord, if whining burned calories, he could hide behind every supermodel.
Nash was a sweetheart though, and he pretty much saved the story for me. Hell, he WAS the story for me. He was sweet, patient and passionate; perfect boyfriend material. And he put up with Ford and all of his stupid mixed signals when I would have kicked him to the curb a long time ago.
The "Cate 'I'm ALWAYS making all of my couples break up in the last third of my books' Ashwood" trademark felt even more forced and contrived here than usual. But since I was expecting it, it didn't bother me as much when it actually happened.
The criminal case follows the serial killer plot from the first book and it turned out much darker than I expected it to be. Some parts of it were truly heartbreaking. But the mystery lover in me outright HATED the conclusion to the case (if that's what it really was?). It seemed like Ashwood drew a random name out of a hat and just went with it. There were no clues, no hints and honest-to-Goddess, I had to go back and look up who this person, who appeared for half a page max, actually was.
But all in all, the writing was solid, the characters and their behavior and reactions were believable (but so very frustrating at times) and the criminal case was suspenseful (though quite unsatisfying in the end).
Oh, and the epilogue SUCKED!
"Adam watched him go, feeling the happiness radiating from him. It was in that moment, pants around his ankles, in a kitchen that looked like an IHOP exploded in it, he realized he was completely, totally, utterly in love. He waited, anticipating the fallout that accompanied such a heavy realization, but it never came. The panic never set in. The terror never took hold. He felt... good. Better than good."
I'm a little puzzled, because I shouldn't have enjoyed this book as much as I did. There were too many things that would normally annoy the ever-living fuck out of me:
So I have no idea why I wasn't as annoyed as I should have been; the book kept me fairly entertained. Maybe because Sam and Adam's connection was so passionate and strong. Maybe because Sam never put Adam under pressure to come out. Maybe because the sex scenes were so well-written. I dunno.
So I'm giving this book 4 weak stars, but 4 stars nonetheless.
Thanks to Julie & Elsbeth for the BR!