BLOG REVIEW: Bad Boy Valentine by Sylvia Pierce

22yo bakery owner
is shocked to see her ex-con ex-boyfriend, 24yo Hero,
She hasn't seen or talked to him since he went to prison 8 years ago
because he refused to do so. She's stuck with him as her contractor
for the renovations she desperately needs to make on her bakery, before the big public-media event coming soon. They both work on keeping it only professional between them.
But their close proximity and their unresolved feelings & memories of their past
try their limits.
Hero's guilt & regret over how he handled things with her keep him from getting too close.
Until one day, when their desires really get out of hand
But again Hero backs off right after. What's keeping him from pursuing her?**

My 1st Pierce book and it was just ok. It's a 100+ novella. The writing was good in general: sexual chemistry, emotionality, and flow. Sex scenes were explicit & steamy too. But I didn't like that heroine did the chasing & Hero was so passive.

All through the book, heroine was the one that instigated the discussions & Hero would either stall or refuse to answer. Even sexually, she did the pursuing & Hero either slowed it down or stopped it. I like my Heroes to an alpha male who pursued heroine because he wants her so much. This Hero did want her but didn't think he was worthy of her. Or maybe she wasn't  worthy enough? I don't know. His words said one thing but his actions (the lack thereof) spoke louder. I understood his reasons for feeling unworthy of her now was partly due to his regrettable actions 8 years ago:

      -------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to read the book's details-------

On the night that got Hero in trouble, heroine sensed that something bad was going to happen & asked Hero to stay with her instead of meeting up with his trouble-making new friends. He went out and promised to be back. What she didn't know until the end of the book (because he didn't tell her & she didn't ask anyone) was that he was the driver of the car that his money-stealing & people-beating friends used to get away from their crime. The cops chased their car but Hero didn't stop until they were caught. All 4 of them went to prison, with Hero getting the least sentence since he didn't actually do the theft or the harming. Heroine found out about it from Hero's uncle, who just told her that Hero was in jail & packed up all his stuff out of his shared apartment with heroine. He and heroine had been together for 6 years (heroine was a virgin with Hero) and had been living together for months.

Hero knew his friends were trouble but got suckered in to being their driver that night due to the money he'd be paid. He needed the money to pay for their late rent & utility bills that he didn't tell heroine about. 

         ------------------------------------------END SPOILERS---------------------------------------

However, why refuse to talk to her? What did she do to warrant such terrible rejection? So, he made a huge mistake & hurt her & their romance in the process. I get that. What I didn't get was his passivity. Was she not worth fighting for? It annoyed me that he didn't man up & try to redeem himself. He just acted mopey & helpless. His lack of groveling showed his immaturity, pride, and more concern for himself than her. That's not my kind of Hero.

Hero really wasn't an terrible person. He's actually a decent fellow. But he needed to grow up some more. He did realize the errors of his ways 8 years ago and faced up to his real motives to doing what he did. But he was still too self-concerned in a self-effacing kind of way. If it wasn't for heroine chasing after him, he would've left her for good (again) that 1st day they saw each other again.

I pitied heroine but felt annoyed with her too. She was still very hung up on Hero. Kudos for her to move on with her life & becoming more of a success in her bakery. She also dated several men. But she remained celibate because no man turned her on enough like Hero did. I'm not sure about Hero's celibacy because there was no mention of what (or who) he did during his months out of prison. Heroine was independent and strong on 1 hand but doormatty, when it came to Hero. She was a different kind of doormat though. Hero kept on rejecting her and told her he couldn't be with her. Yet, she'd chase after him repeatedly. She wanted him so much she didn't mind crumbs he'd throw her along the way to rejecting her. A little kiss her, a little grope there before he'd stop & say “no”. I wanted her to have more self-respect but she wanted him more. Towards the end, Hero did (finally!) explain what happened to land him in prison & his reasons for doing so. He also did show up for her at the end, when she needed him on Valentine's Day. But she forgave him too easily & didn't make him work for it.

Their HEA(happily ever after)? Not sure. I believe they love each other and think they'll try to make it together, especially with heroine's efforts. But she might get tired of being the one doing the fighting for their relationship. It really depends on how much Hero will grow up and be a partner with her. His love for her, so far, has been easily swayed by life pressures. Their future conflicts will likely highlight Hero's big problem with pride. He might even run away again. But I hope he'd choose his pride over her.

I limitedly recommend this book.

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