Book: At Second Glance
Author: Vicki Ballante
Editing: 19/20 (Two mistakes spotted, nothing distracting.)
Final Rating: 4.5 stars!
This book had a refreshing take on the erotic romance genre. A majority of the books I've read lately are filled with lust-on-tap, psychotic loons posing as Alphas, and insta-love. This book, though sizzling hot, maintained a sweet, funny, almost-wholesome edge to it. The couple's attraction, internal conflicts, and road to reconciliation were grounded in reality - difficult choices real people have to make. Everyday issues they have to overcome: low self-esteem, communication breakdown, assuming the worst, loss of faith, and fear of failure.
Merryn - I related to her in so many ways, and I'm sure most women who've ever loved someone with all their heart will. How she blamed herself for the break-up.... Maybe I wasn't good enough; maybe I didn't fight hard enough; maybe I wasn't pretty enough. And when a second chance comes knocking? A barrage of "What ifs?" The terror of opening your heart to the same person who trampled on it, made you feel worthless, even if it was unintentional. We get to see her grow, build her confidence, and learn to love herself before she can love anyone else. It was a joy to see her embrace her sexuality and not apologize for it. To see her get out of her head and live a little.
At times, the seesaw of her emotions and introspection became a little repetitive, rehashing the same fears, and slowing the pacing. But let's be honest...how many of us don't overthink things when we're scared out of our minds? Again, realistic. Relatable.
Kirk - Funny, handsome, strong...with a deep love and new-found respect for his lady. Yes, they both had faults that resulted in the divorce, but this sweet man decided to fight for his woman. Even when she wavered, he had enough faith and love for the both of them. Refusing to give up on her. He, too, grew. From enjoying a fast paced life and wanting everything his way, to learning to compromise and listen.
The overall story - I enjoyed it! Especially when Panda and Hedge interacted. And when their true identities came to light. How they tried to fight the magnetic attraction...but found themselves gravitating towards each other. Again, and again.
The hot sex.
I loved how they didn't gloss over who they were. How there were no psycho tendencies. No needless angst or bitterness.
But yes, I wished for more dialogue. Not about the divorce per se, but about personal stuff, so we could get to know them out of work and the bedroom, e.g., do they have other family? Parents, brothers, sisters? How did their upbringing factor into their character traits? Didn't any of Kirk's post-divorce serious relationships pop up? What about the latest date? Would've loved to see them discuss the past and misunderstandings earlier, then deal with these questions and others to keep the stakes escalating.
But otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel and will be looking forward to the author's next release. I recommend it. *Thumbs up*
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