One of the nice things about this book is that it’s about two successful, independent professionals. They’re not spies, military heroes, or foreign royalty. They’re businesspeople, and though they’re quite a bit more wealthy and sophisticated than most thirty-somethings I know, the author made me believe in them as real people.
A year ago, Angela Davenport broke up with Jeff Maxwell, believing that he was in love with another woman. In the intervening year, a lot has happened to Angela – her beloved cousin died in childbirth, and Angela adopted her cousin’s baby daughter, Kayleigh. In spite of her struggles with her career and single motherhood, Angela never forgot her love for Jeff.
Then he comes back – wanting to apologize, to make amends, and to get her back. Jeff realizes that letting Angela go was the worst mistake of his life, and there’s nothing he won’t do to change her mind about him.
But it won’t be easy. Angela has serious issues. Not only is she furious with Jeff, but due to her upbringing at the hands of a cold and unloving mother, Angela doesn’t believe that she deserves love. She blames herself for her failed marriage, her failed relationship with Jeff, and even for her cousin’s death. She is terrified that she will be an unworthy parent to Kayleigh. Angela wants to keep Jeff at arm’s length because she’s angry with him, but also because she’s afraid and unconfident.
I liked both of these characters. They are both extremely flawed, but their hearts are good and they earnestly try to do what’s right. I haven’t read this book’s prequel, No Commitment Required, but Jeff seems to have been something of a villain in it. In this book, he wants to make amends, not just to Angela but to the other friends he hurt. It takes courage to do that, and I respected him. Angela, too, is courageous in taking responsibility for Kayleigh, and for her attempts to have a relationship with her icy mother. Both characters do their best, but they both sometimes give in to their fears and insecurities. There is plenty of chemistry between these two, and their love scenes are hot.
Author Glass has a gift for writing realistic, hip, modern dialogue. The repartee in this book is snappy and a bit profane, and often very funny. Several quips made me smile, as when a female character turns to her brother and says, “Way to go, dip-weed.”
My problem with this book is that the internal conflict between Jeff and Angela, while realistic, just doesn’t seem strong enough to keep them apart for the whole book. That’s when the author resorts to plot contrivances to keep things going: a too-convenient reappearance by Angela’s ex-husband, a doozy of a Big Misunderstanding, and a crime-novel climax that seemed out of place in a story that had, until that point, been about emotions.
Those things left me a little unsatisfied, but I’m still pleased I read this book. I like my larger-than-life spies, cowboys, and adventurers as much as the next girl, but it’s nice to make the acquaintance of real, believable people in a romance. Thanks to the author’s skill at creating them, this is a novel that I am happy to recommend.