21y.o. waitress had no choice but to quit her diner job and move out of her apartment in Chicago.
Although she hadn't had any contact with her dad in the last 5 years, she was attending his funeral.
requiring her and Hero to hunt down clues around town for whatever he's left both of them. While being handcuffed together the whole time or else, forfeit the money. She's not happy about having to be handcuffed to the spoiled rich guy the girls in town call "the Woman Whisperer".
Part-time employee Hero isn't thrilled about being with stuck-up and cold heroine either, no matter how gorgeous she is.
But he's desperate for whatever it is heroine's father left him. And so is she.
What they thought was going to be a quick task ends up being frustrating
uncovering the truth about the rift between her and her father.
and exposing a depth in each other neither expected.Forging a connection they no longer want to resist.
I was briefly introduced to Hero and heroine when I read Best Kind of Broken (review here). I was intrigued by the inimical relationship of these 2 hotties who were handcuffed to each other and wanted to know more about them. This book gave us their full story & I enjoyed it. Hero and heroine didn't like each other because of what they've heard about the other. Although they grew up in the same small town and Hero worked at her father's house since they were both 13, they had no interaction until the present time. I liked the transformation of their relationship, from judgmental strangers to open-hearted lovers. The progress was a combination of humorous, sexy, rude, sweet (sometimes too sappy), and heartbreaking. A lot happened in their 4 days being handcuffed together. All in all, the book covered about 5 days of Hero and heroine's relationship (minus the epilogue). Five days seemed premature to develop a meaningful romance but this one was believably written. I think a big part was because Hero and heroine both came with such strong views of and dislike for each other and they were able to quickly see how differently the other actually was in reality. I liked that Hero and heroine confronted each other and talked things out as well as avidly observing the other's actions. It gave credence to the dramatic change in their views and feelings towards each other. it corresponded to the growth we got to see in their characters. Talking openly does change things. Even within a day.
Heroine had a different kind of insecurity than most women. She was insecure because she was so beautiful that people judged her immediately as cold, bitchy, a man stealer, and snotty. She was objectified by both men and women. She resented her beauty because of it but couldn't escape it. So she didn't trust easily. She also became a loner because of her family and financial situation. She took care of her drug-addicted mother and worked hard to help ends meet, after her father cut both her and her mother off financially and personally. At meeting Hero, she was jobless, homeless, and family-less. Both her parents died within months of each other. She had no one in her life. What I liked about heroine was that she transcended her crappy life situation with her practical and strong attitude. She didn't whine and feel sorry for herself. Instead, she held her head high without being prideful. She viewed herself as able to surpass her troubles and was willing to work whatever respectful job came her way to support herself. She really could've taken the easy way out and used her beauty/body to get out of her financial hell-whole. But she had dignity and wasn't willing to sell it. And it's her sacrifices and maintaining her dignity through the wretched few years of her life that made what she found out about her past poignant:
------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details------------
Heroine thought that her father shut her out of his life 5 years ago. She also believed that he only minimally supported her and her mom a few years after their divorce and then none at all the last 5 years. She was very bitter and angry with her dad for many years and even ignored his phone calls in the last few years. She had no clue he had cancer and didn't even get to talk to him before he died. It confirmed his loss of love and care for her. His handing down his estate and possessions to the town added fuel to her bitterness and pain of being rejected by him. Even in his death, her father still had the power to hurt her. So, going through the scavenger hunt to find the money he may have left her, was a difficult emotional task for her. If she didn't need the money so much to survive and give her a future (i.e., pay for nursing school), she wouldn't have done it.
Getting to know her father via Hero's viewpoint of him and the shared opinions of the townspeople confused her. Reading the letters her father and mother wrote to each other the last few years both hurt and relieved her. She realized she misjudged both her parents. Her father had always wanted heroine and her mother in his life. It was her mother's idea to divorce her father and resist his invitations to reconcile. It was her mother's idea to cut him off from both of their lives because she wanted to be single in Chicago and continue her drug use. But she told heroine it was her father who rejected them. It was her mother who ran through the trust fund heroine didn't know about and put them in poverty. Her mother blocked many of her father's correspondence to heroine the last 5 years. Her mother died never informing heroine otherwise. Her mother killed herself via drug overdose, leaving heroine on her own. Her father, on the other hand, may have thought heroine didn't want a relationship with him. But that didn't stop him from singing her praises to the townspeople and always thinking well of her. Heroine's knowing the truth after both their deaths made it more poignant because she couldn't get closure by talking to them. She could only reconcile the truths within herself and forgive and be forgiven in absentia.
This was another major change in heroine's life. It's the kind of change that redirects a person's life. Fortunately for heroine, Hero was on her side.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like Hero. He was a young man who lived a hedonistic and non-committal life and he had no life direction. Unlike many romance Heroes, Hero wasn't ambitious nor was he successful in his career. In fact, Hero had no career. He held several part-time jobs to make ends meet. He was pretty much an irresponsible, Porsche-driving player in the beginning of the book. The only thing he admittedly had talent for was charming the pants off a woman and sexually pleasuring her. Thankfully, we saw more of him and there was much he was hiding from the world.
------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details------------
Hero's spoiled-rich kid and man-ho persona smacked us at the start. Then, it dwindled from there as we got to know more of him and understood the reason for his exterior persona. I liked that Hero was portrayed more realistically as a 21-year-old man. His good-time, part-time working, and aimless life seemed average for an American 21-year-old male in 2014. What wasn't average was what he was hiding:
1. Hero may be living in a mansion in a wealthiest part of town but it was under foreclosure but just hasn't been listed yet. The house was vacant of almost everything but his bed and clothes because he had to sell their possession to pay for his and his dad's living expenses and an injured man's medical expenses.
2. He may be driving a Porsche but its' payments were delinquent and just got repossessed by the bank.
3. He wore spiffy and expensive clothes he was really dead broke and only had $40 to his name until payday. His clothes were not new and he took good care of them to maintain his rich-boy image to the world.
3. His dad was wealthy but, after Hero's mom left him for the town's married preacher, he lost his livelihood and squandered all their money, uncaring of debts accrued.
4. His dad became a bitter alcoholic after their mom's divorce. He was currently in jail for severely injuring a man in a car accident while driving drunk and he didn't feel that bad about it.
5. Hero had to work several part-time jobs to survive and pay for the $50K medical expenses of the man his dad injured because he took responsibility for what his dad didn't. He didn't make enough to pay for the car payments and even to eat. His work as a kitchen help at the restaurant was mostly so he could eat that day.
6. Hero may be a charming and cocky man-ho but he was insecure about his worth as a person and found sexually pleasing women to be the easiest way to felt valued. He was afraid he was only good for sex and was a loser in everything else.
There were a few people in his life, heroine's dad included, who saw past his exterior and liked him for who he was. That helped prevent him from going over the edge when his life got tougher, especially within the past year when he felt depressed and suicidal. Like heroine, Hero survived on determination to not be knocked down by his negative life circumstance.
What quickly drew Hero and heroine together was their similar circumstances. They were both judged to be someone they were not but they kept up the image anyway to ward off anyone from finding out the truth: that they were broke, alone, and made great personal sacrifices for their parents. Their similarities connected them deeply. It made them feel understood by the other and pretty much eradicated their previous misjudgments of each other. Even though it had only been 3 days, they got to know each other quite well and felt meaningfully connected after the truths about each other and their past were revealed. It heightened their physical attraction to each other so that, when they finally had sex, it was emotionally driven. The problem that arose the next day, when Hero talked to his father, was characteristic of his age and his insecurities. The good thing was that heroine and Hero's friends weren't going to let him get away with it. Since he wasn't foolish, he grabbed at his chance with heroine and they get an HEA(happy ever after). The epilogue (3 months later) let us see that they're both on track in improving their lives. Together.
I recommend this book.