Heat Factor: It has a few moments but I wouldn’t say it screams “fire”
Character Chemistry: They just don’t have that connection that leads to a satisfying HEA
Plot: Wylie is a freelance beachside yoga instructor who ends up temporarily homeless after getting kicked out of her sublet. She strikes up an Instagram promotional deal with a food truck vendor and before long she finds herself forging ahead with a new life in a shared house situation, all while falling for Nolan (the food truck secret billionaire).
Overall: This book leaned into Smut Adjacent territory because the couple’s romance ended up taking a back seat to the sub plot.
I’m just going to come out and say it–Wylie as a character was challenging. She’s a beachside, freelance yoga instructor who sublets an apartment with no lease and ends up homeless. She’s only homeless for a few days and honestly has other options she’d just prefer not to turn to. She meets Nolan the Food Truck Owner and asks for free food if she promotes him on Instagram. Nolan kind of “rescues” her and arranges for her to join his giant mansion cooperative-type living arrangement.
On the one hand, I totally felt for Wylie–just because she didn’t spend years homeless and just because she had other choices doesn’t mean she walked away from living in her car unchanged–she was clearly profoundly impacted by the lifestyle and hardships she witnessed. I did feel that she kind of lumped herself in with the homeless community and I’m not sure that’s an entirely fair representation of her circumstances. Also potentially unfair is that one of the reasons she feels she has nowhere else to go is that she realizes none of her friends are the type to let her crash on their couch. She heavily hints to the head of her yoga teacher training program that she needs a place to stay and when the instructor doesn’t take the bait, Wylie is internally a tad huffy. Look, if you spend your whole life in the same city and have NO friends who aren’t also your clients, and NONE of those people are the type to help you in your time of need…isn’t it fair to wonder why that might be the case? And if you don’t ASK for help, why should someone be expected to bail you out?
However, this is all in the beginning of the book. So I was all for watching Wylie pick herself up and grow stronger. It’s just that I kept seeing that kind of lack of accountability in her emotional relationship with Nolan, too.
At one point, Nolan has begged her for a date and Wylie has continuously gone back and forth with what she says she wants and how she behaves with him. When they finally go on the date, Nolan has prepared a beautiful romantic evening complete with a private dinner in a museum…which Wylie decides is just too much luxury and she bails abruptly. At several points in their interactions, they seem to be on the same page, but after some internal emotional analysis, Wylie ends up stringing together something that I didn’t see happening textually and hard reverses on Nolan. As in, he says something completely benign, Wylie overanalyzes it doing logic acrobatics and then throws on the brakes and shuts Nolan down without her actions ever seeming to make any sense.
When her yoga teacher training goes out of business, she is aghast to learn that she has lost all her investment and can’t transfer the credits or get her money back–but this is exactly what happened with her housing situation. She doesn’t do her research and doesn’t protect herself, and then blames the yoga teacher (or the ex-roommate) when it blows up. Have you ever had a friend who keeps making partially-baked decisions and then is completely surprised when those decisions have consequences? That’s Wylie. She’s kind, sensitive, and full of heart–but she’s not quite fully grown into herself yet, and for her to have a healthy, sexy relationship with Nolan, that’s kind of a requirement.
So really, the part of the book I found to be the most engaging was the journey with the food truck. Nolan is a very wealthy man who wants to do some good with his money–he sees people who are poor and are eating really unhealthy commercially prepared food because it’s cheap, and he sees an opportunity there. He wants to create food trucks and then restaurants that prepare healthy, filling meals that are also very affordable. I loved this. I loved the way Wylie’s experience in the homeless community fires up a passion that ignites with Nolan’s passion, and that they’re able to create something good and life-changing for people who need a hand. It was really well-written and engaging.
I just felt that the plot around the food became something so much bigger and more fleshed out than the romance, and that in fact, the satisfying HEA I felt was more about the success of that business than the relationship between Nolan and Wylie.
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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