The Cider Bar Sisters, Book #4
Heat Factor: Once they jump in bed, boy oh boy do they jump in bed.
Character Chemistry: Sierra swears up and down that it’s not serious, but thinks that her next boyfriend is going to have a lot to live up to.
Plot: Jake falls in love with Sierra at first sight. Too bad she’s dating his former boss and all-around bad dude, billionaire Colton Sanders.
Overall: If you’re looking for fun and sexy, Jackie Lau doesn’t disappoint
Sierra Wu’s family is disappointed in her. She’s no longer an engineer; instead, she sells greeting cards. She’s 34 and divorced and lives with a roommate. But she does have one thing going for her: she’s dating a billionaire! It’s pretty exciting! He buys her fancy clothes and jewelry and sends a limo to her house whenever they go on a date to the movie theater that he rents out just for the two of them.
Too bad, this one time, some dude named Jake came up to her, and was like, “Your boyfriend is a jerk. FYI.” And now she can’t stop thinking about him! (Jake, not her boyfriend.) Now Sierra is caught between two men, one of whom represents stability and prestige and maybe her mom being proud of her for once. The other one, let’s be honest, just gives her major pants feels. What’s a girl to do?
Colton the billionaire eventually shows his true colors, but Lau is smart about how she goes about tearing him down. There are hints that Colton is shady, but Sierra decides to end her relationship with Colton before Sierra and the reader get direct confirmation of his sleaziness. Because of this, Sierra is not simply reactive but rather had already been doing the work in deciding what she actually wanted out of a relationship when she dumps Colton.
Jake and Sierra’s relationship is also really well done. For Jake, it was love at first sight: as soon as he sees her, he thinks, “I’m going to marry this woman.” He acknowledges that his feelings are intense and perhaps inappropriate, and Lau does a nice job of writing a character who pushes against the boundaries set by his love interest in a way that shows his interest without going full-out creep. For example, when he visits the store she owns, he gets more in her personal space than she is really comfortable with; but when she asks him to leave and not come back, he complies. In the first chunk of the book, Jake is continually processing his feelings and how to behave appropriately while attempting to court a woman who is not that interested in being courted. (Luckily, it mostly involves him leaving her alone, and them running into each other by happenstance.) Once they start sleeping together—Sierra rebounding from her billionaire boyfriend with a vengeance—the dynamic of Jake wanting more and Sierra setting boundaries continues. Throw in some truly banging sex scenes, and we’ve got the perfect setup for catching feelings but not wanting them to be real.
I should note, explicitly, that both Jake and Sierra have difficult relationships with family members, though Sierra’s are much more pronounced. The scenes of her going to weekly dim sum with her family are truly cringeworthy, and readers who find toxic family members difficult to read about should consider giving this one a pass. And they don’t magically get better. Rather, Sierra’s growth arc is about her accepting her self-worth, and part of that acceptance is her starting to limit her interactions with her family.
As with other of Lau’s books that I’ve read, the story starts tropey, but shifts about midway to more “realistic” fiction focused on the emotional fallout of the tropey setup. The emotional beats are excellent, and I loved the development of Sierra and Jake’s relationship. A fun, sexy, read.
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.
Looking for something similar?