Cowboys of California, Book #1
Heat Factor: Definitely not closed door, but I wouldn’t say explicit either
Character Chemistry: I’m going to have to quit reading second chance romance because the “I’m so sexually attracted to you but I really can’t get over my emotional baggage” just does not work for me.
Plot: see above but toss in a healthy dose of amnesia
Overall: I’m not sure emotional maturity is a good fit for a second chance romance
Okay, so, unfortunately it has taken me this long to realize that second chance romance just isn’t my jam. In this case, the amnesia situation added a nice changeroo to the usual emotional baggage angst, but when it came to the point, the struggle is the same: We were too emotionally immature or something to deal with our problem approximately 6-12 years ago, and now we want to bang because we’ve still got the hots for each other, but we just can’t get over our emotional baggage.
I’ll move beyond the trope as-is for purposes of this review. As I said, the amnesia aspect was nice, because the entire time we were getting to know Evie and Zach we weren’t really dealing with the baggage aspect of their relationship, so the emotional drama didn’t come until much later.
That said, the drama didn’t come until much later. Evie has amnesia because she was pushed down the stairs by a rival (the rivalry is pretty one-sided) chef with anger management issues. Since we’re dealing with a second-chance romance, there’s also going to be drama surrounding the original breakup. But we didn’t get to any of that until the 70% mark. Until that point, while Evie was trying to figure herself out (she had complete and total amnesia – none of that hint of a memory in the back of her mind stuff when she interacted with new people), everything moved along with a fantastically un-dramatic level of emotional maturity. Zach kept apologizing for not managing their relationship better when they had their falling out, and Evie told him it was in the past and they needed to look forward. We didn’t even get a hint of what the problem was so we could stress out about what the reaction would be once Evie got her memory back. If I had known what the problem was–other than an ambiguous fight when they were basically teenagers (so, like, duh)–I could have been wrapped up in worrying about Evie feeling she’d been duped by Zach or something. But the first 70% of the book was so low key, I honestly thought that Evie would get her memory back and stick to her initial statement that they needed to look forward not back. I thought maybe the drama would be with the rival chef situation. The CRIME!
But even the rival chef shoving situation was low key drama. With crimes committed and restraining orders requested and (off-page) police involvement, there was room for teeth-clenching stress, but…nope. And these are chefs who work in the same sphere, so there could be workplace drama. Some drama. Any drama. It was not played up at all.
And since Evie and Zach have been pining for each other but denying it for a decade, they immediately wanted to have some smooching times, so I didn’t even get a lot of satisfaction from the development of their relationship.
If you’re looking for an even-keeled romance with light angst and an emotionally mature cast of characters, this is probably a good bet for you. Unfortunately, it just didn’t click with me.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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