He Said Never
He Said Never is another wing added onto the ever-expanding Corisi Billionaire extended universe, the bread and butter of Ruth Cardello’s rapidly expanding empire of contemporary romances. I loved the first three books in this series, and while I can’t say this instalment of The Lost Corisis hits great heights, it provided me with a perfectly decent contemporary to read.
The amazingly named Riley Ragsdale has been stood up by her blind date – again. She’s so desperate to figure out what the heck is going on with her multiple strike-outs with men that she even calls upon her new chauffeur, Mr. Tuttle, for emotional support as she spills her guts to him. With her future seemingly ensured thanks to her connection to the Corisi family, Riley should have everything she wants, but she’s lying to her mom about not seeing her dad’s side of the family because he made her mom’s life miserable when they were together. The chauffeur and swanky new penthouse have been pressed upon her by her half-brother Dominic, who wants to fold Riley into the bosom of the Corisi clan. Maybe she’ll find love after encountering the handsome Gavin while getting herself some coffee. They share some pleasantries and she feels something, but figures it’s a fleeting meeting.
She doesn’t know Gavin Wenham, whose family has gone through a bit of a crisis period recently. Two dead relatives means Gavin’s father desperately wants his son to be happy before it’s too late. He’s withholding control of the mega corporation that Gavin has made the center of his world until he (Gavin) turns up with a fiancée.
Gavin and Riley certainly like (and want to bone) one another. But Gavin is determined Not To Fall In Love. He is a One And Done Kind of Guy. As he and Riley agree to pose as an engaged couple, will Riley ever be able to tell the truth to her mother, and will Gavin stand up to his father?
He Said Never is, like many of the Corisi books, about family drama and falling face-first into true love even though you work hard to resist it. I really enjoyed Riley in this book – she spends much of it walking a tightrope between pleasing her mother and wanting to know the Corisis, all of whom can’t be as awful as her dad.
Gavin, meanwhile, can’t understand why his stable, strong dad is freaking out about his marital status. He’s never been a family man, and while I bought that he’d want to be after meeting Riley, I wondered what might have happened had their romance caused him to reach this conclusion more organically.
The tension in Riley and Gavin’s will they/won’t they romance is decent but not incredibly, well, tense. They adore each other so clearly that there’s little conflict in the stock ‘oh no, Gavin doesn’t want to be married, no really, this is why he keeps shooting Riley heart eyes all the time’ plot. But they’re cute together – the banter is great, and Cardello’s sense of humor is as sharp as always. And her vivid settings – this time Massachusetts – always spark to life.
If you like your romances heavy on the family drama aspect of things, then Cardello is probably already a household name to you and He Said Never will definitely be your cup of tea.