Unlikable characters and hyper-hormonal behavior are the norms in Never Enough, which is only saved from an F grade by how well the author captures life on the road among modern bullriders.
Brock Shaw has been a bullrider for years. Life has become a series of motel rooms and fat purses – and long-distance phone calls with his five-year-old son, Blayze, who’s in the care of Brock’s mother. To return home is to confront the tragic death of his wife, for which he blames himself, so instead he buries himself in the rush of roping killer bulls.
Elsewhere, ex-design-firm owner Lincoln Pratt is trying to talk her book editor best friend Kaylee Holden into leaving Georgia for Hamilton, Montana with her – mostly so Lincoln can escape the looming shadow of her overbearing father. Eventually, the promise of fresh horizons and better living does the trick with Kaylee, and when they arrive to move into their new house, they meet with Ty Shaw Jr., Brock’s brother, to whom Kaylee becomes instantly attracted. It turns out that the house being sold belonged to Brock – it was his and his late wife’s family home.
Kaylee and Lincoln soon fall in with the Shaw family, so by the time Brock comes ambling back, pissed off that Lincoln’s getting close to his son, she’s ready to fight for her new home. Love – or at least lust – blossoms between them. But will that be enough?
Never Enough has one of the more annoying hero/heroine duos I’ve encountered in a while, featuring a childish heroine and an irrationally angry, emotionally immature man.
Kaylee gets so horny, she literally drools when she sees Brock’s brother. Literally. She dribbles on her shirt. I spent the whole book waiting for her jeans to implode under the pressure of the steam heat she was exuding. This is not charming and is in fact the kind of odd behavior that only works in gonzo comedy productions like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Lincoln is so indiscriminately horny (and being horny, I should add, isn’t a crime, but there should be something special between two romance protagonists that make me feel that the tingling in their pants is at least somewhat special) that I honestly believed that any cowboy in tight jeans who made a pass at her would’ve ended up in Brock’s position, even Brock’s ex-best-friend and nominal rival for her affections.
Kaylee and Lincoln’s dialogue is so painfully immature that it felt like the author had repurposed most of their behavior from YA novels. If your almost-thirty-year-old heroine describes sex as “putting the p in the v” then I have to wonder what sort of alien universe they escaped from.
For all of Lincoln’s protests that she wants to be her own woman, to break free of Atlanta and her father, she spends very little time thinking about interior design in this story and certainly doesn’t possess the artist’s eye most interior designers have.
Meanwhile, Brock’s been beating himself up over his wife’s death (which naturally involves getting drunk a lot and banging buckle bunnies on the road while alternately wanting to drag his kid around with him and wanting to leave him alone with his mom for weeks). When the reason behind this is revealed, one is forced to slap one’s face and wonder why he’s perpetuating the very pattern of selfishness that he thinks killed his wife. But in the end, it’s another one of those “I-loved-her-but-she-might-have-loved-another-guy-more-we-stupidly-rushed-things-and-even-though-I-rushed-it-with-you-it-doesn’t-matter-so-she-don’t-compare-to-you-baby-girl” romances.
This is the most instalove instalove I have ever seen, as Brock falls in lust with Lincoln’s picture, then gets super angry because she’s trying to help his son figure out what his dead mom was like. The mere sight of Lincoln makes Brock hard in his jeans even though no woman has ever been good enough for him since his unapproachable wife. Lincoln is also the kind of woman who calls the hero a “cocksucker” flat-out on-page, adding a gross dash of homophobia to the eminently resistible mix that is her, and permanently turning me against her. Of course, Lincoln’s mere presence tempts Brock to domesticity. Of course, the author pulls the ‘we fucked using two types of birth control but the heroine took an antibiotic’ kind of babies ever after ending, the sort that in real life nominally results in an abortion or a lot of angst just so the hero can get over his emotional scars.
The supporting characters aren’t that interesting, though Kaylee is at least funny in fits and starts. Blayze has a foul mouth and has a lisp that is spelled out phonetically on the page. Oh yes, this is as annoying as you think it is.
Never Enough might have been decent had it been a little more careful and a little more uniquely written. But as is, I had more than enough of it by the middle.
Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo
Visit our Amazon Storefront or shop at your local independent bookstore