Perfect book at the perfect time. This is only my second book read out of Talia’s backlist (we are on a first-name basis apparently) and it was just as good as I’d hoped it would be. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but I probably will now that I’ve met some of the other characters and liked them, and vibe going on here. I don’t know if they will live up to this one, though. I was thisclose to giving this book five stars. Maybe if (when) I re-read I will bump it up.
Don’t come here looking for empty, airy fluff, though. It is full of angst and emotions, even though it does in the end feel like a warm hug and have a HEA (and is full of humor, even when our characters are sad or bitter). One half of our main pairing is Olu, and he has some serious issues in his head. Here’s a sample of his self-hatred and issues with intimacy and trust at the beginning of the book:
“parts of him are clinging to me like slime”
“I don’t know if he tastes sour or if it’s simply how I feel. We fall onto my bed and I resent it when we land. I’d thought taking him to my flat would help, that the disgust might not follow me here the way it follows me into hotel rooms and nightclub toilets.”
And then we have Griff, who is kind and sweet and loves plants and animals, but who lives in the body of a huge bear-man, and who has been ostracized in his small town since he was a kid, born to a single mother the town also didn’t like.
“I look like God forgot to turn off my ‘grow’ switch. I look like I shouldn’t be allowed to hold children or small animals in case I snap their necks—that’s what a guy I once slept with told me.”
“‘That was a one-time thing.’ All my things are one-time things. No one ever keeps me.”
What’s so great about Talia Hibbert books—aside from how great she is at characters, and how funny she is—is that love and romance never fix her characters or their problems. Instead, she writes characters who shore up each other’s weak spots, who complement each other. The pleasure of this book is watching these characters interact with each other and get to know one another, and just like each other, at the end of the day. Um, the smut was pretty great also. I’m a lot harder to please on that front lately, and this book delivered for me. Talia knows how to write sex scenes where the emotions and the bond between the characters are the center, not their bodies or the acts. Those things don’t mean anything to me without the former.