Readers will be charmed by the growing connection between a young woman lacking gumption and the man who inspires her to live life to the fullest in this just-released contemporary romance. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Virgin Daiquiri by Elise Faber, along with my impressions of it, then get ready to add this second installment in the Love After Midnight series to your bookshelf!
I’d spent my life watching everything happen around me.
But never actually living it.
Sheltered. Naïve. Shy. The top three adjectives to describe me. Well, that and awkward.
From the first moment, I’d met him, my filter had disappeared. The things that passed through my lips when I was with him were the thoughts that passed through my mind, but also the things I’d never dreamed of saying aloud. But he seemed to like them, and I couldn’t stop. Not when he was also gentle, kind, and protective. As well as the most beautiful man I’d ever laid eyes on. A total winning package, and one who was into me.
But I was me.
More comfortable on the edges, better at observing rather than living. I’d pushed my boundaries just once, had really gone for what life was offering me, and that had ended about as well as an elephant trying to parachute with a tissue.
Horribly. It had ended horribly. So I wasn’t going to be ready to try again. Not ever.
Even if Brent made a very convincing argument to just suck it up and go for it.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
The Love After Midnight series continues to roll along in a tale featuring an interracial romance between a man weighed down by the guilt of his past and a woman demoralized by her ex. With both seeking to start over they form a connection amidst the backdrop of the Christmas holiday in a tale that warms the heart before leaving readers with an unexpected epilogue that leaves them waiting in breathless anticipation.
Brent Collins is a perfectly imperfect hero weighed down by the guilt of loss as an honorably discharged veteran who witnessed the death of his best friend and other men under his command. The incident left him emotionally lost with chronic back pain serving as a constant reminder of him not being good enough in his own mind. Add in a childhood of religious castigation and you have a man constantly feeling unworthy, a man who keeps himself from committing fully to another out of fear. From the moment he meets Iris though there's a sizzling connection between them, a connection that has him desperately wanting to be with her. It's a difficult journey for them as both suffer from self-doubts that led to a bit of heartbreak late in the story before reaching an empowering conclusion that put a smile on my face. Through everything Brent is an immensely appealing hero who charmed me through his words and deeds, said everything a delicious book boyfriend would say as he helped Iris regain her self-esteem. He's sexy and supportive and I look forward to seeing more of him in the next book after the jaw-dropping conclusion readers are left with after The End.
Iris Hannigan grew up in a small town on a journey with one man who she had a whole life planned out with before discovering his chronic cheating. The discovery left her broken and betrayed, not only because of his actions but also the actions of so-called friends. Leaving all that behind she's now starting over as a curvy woman with a successful bakery who still has moments of uncertainty that leads to an awkward (yet sensual) first meeting with a gorgeous bartender. Iris is teeming with naïveté and self-doubts when she first meets Brent, but his sure and steady reactions were a solid start to their sweet and sexy connection. Iris is a likable heroine, someone you can easily see as a friend, and I enjoyed her love of baking that was a display of love and friendship coming from her that had me rooting for her every step of the way. She and Brent's connection was instant and from there their interactions turned more sensual, along the way allowing for hard truths to be revealed about their pasts that binds them together even tighter.
This was a quick read full of heart and soul, a tale of starting over that brought two people back to the land of the living after keeping themselves closed off from the possibilities. This story had a good flow on a whole but I was a bit frustrated by the speed bump thrown their way late in the story as it felt unnecessary and melodramatic. Despite that small quibble I enjoyed the romantic journey between Brent and Iris as they were good for each other, supportive and caring towards each other. Surrounding this pair was the couple from the previous book, Brooke and Kace, who were an equally entertaining addition with a continuing romance I was happy to revisit. They were equally supportive friends who helped Brent and Iris work through their issues on the way to HEA. While this novella stands strongly on its own I recommend reading the previous book in this series as everything comes to a head in the next installment after an unforgettable conclusion to this emotionally engaging romance.
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
USA Today bestselling author, Elise Faber, loves chocolate, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and hockey (the order depending on the day and how well her team -- the Sharks! -- are playing). She and her husband also play as much hockey as they can squeeze into their schedules, so much so that their typical date night is spent on the ice. Elise is the mom to two exuberant boys and lives in Northern California. Connect with her in her Facebook group, the Fabinators or find more information about her books at www.elisefaber.com.