When Annabelle Martin takes her friend up on a job offer in her advertising agency in Arizona she leaves cold and dreary Boston for what she hopes will be the kickstart she needs. Moving into the guest house of recluse Nick Daire, Annabelle decides to push all his buttons and break all of his rules. She imagines him to be an elderly curmudgeon and is shocked to discover he’s young, hot, and in a wheelchair. Always a fixer she jumps in to change his world view and finds herself falling in love as well.
This had all of the plot points I love in a novel. Enemies to lovers, a feud with a co-worker, and a heroine who always comes out on top, so why didn’t I like this one more than I did? There was certainly a lot going on with the plot but in this case that probably helped move things along and kept me from getting bored. I just really didn’t feel the love between Annabelle and Nick. Yes, they were both attractive and attracted to each other, but there was just something missing for me and I can’t put my finger on it.
Let me tell you a bit about the characters. Annabelle is a graphic designer who has all the skills. Landing a job as Creative Director for her friends agency, she has to reign in her “always late” tendencies and start being a boss. When she finds that one co-worker who resents her getting the job she doesn’t fall apart or get mad, instead she quietly observes, which is good! That guy is truly rather dreadful and is an obvious villain in this novel. This plot point does allow us to see a different side of Annabelle. Not the sexy neighbor but the take charge boss who isn’t afraid of a little conflict. Annabelle shows that take charge attitude in going after her handsome neighbor as well, which is a smart move because he was never going to go there with his bad attitude. I actually thought her character was fun and bright. A great heroine in what should be a fun romance.
Nick is going through some health issues and has taken a hit to his self confidence. Having to rely on a wheelchair because he’s afraid his leg won’t hold him certainly doesn’t keep him from having sexy times with his new neighbor, but boy did he start out a grouch. As the author let’s us get to know Nick a bit we get a back story that has some rather unsavory things in it. Prior to his bad health he wasn’t a very nice guy. Without going into all of the details, I’ll just say that despite him showing remorse for his actions he doesn’t really do anything to contradict what we’ve learned. His long lost sister shows up and he doesn’t react well. The only good thing about this guy is how Annabelle makes him feel and his flashbacks to his love for his sister. OK, I think I just figured out why I didn’t connect with the book. I didn’t really buy into Annabelle’s feelings for Nick. He had his redeeming moment in the novel but it wasn’t enough for me to shelve all of his bad traits.
Jenn McKinlay is a wonderful writer and I’ve read many of her books that I have enjoyed before. This one just didn’t connect with me. It may be that it’s the perfect book for you though so please take my opinion with a grain of salt and if this sounds like your kind of novel, please pick it up and read it. I, however, can only give it a 3.0 rating.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalleyand the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.
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