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Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief scene of aracnophobia (fear of spiders), mentions of bullying (in the past), mentioned horseback riding accident (in the past), brief discussions of death, talk of divorce, talk of adultry (cheating), sexual content
“You hooked me at Toy Story.”
We’re finally back with the fourth book in this series! This was an absolutely adorable slow burn romance! There were so many details that had me smiling and geeking out over what was about to happen next. We get to see cameos of previous characters from the past books which is always such a joy to see. It was just a really great to return to this series and meet some new characters while seeing the ones we’ve met along the way.
“People can be complicated. We can also be ridiculously simple.”
We follow Zane Penn, who’s a little in over his head. Not only is he in a bind of trying to find a new place to move into, but at the end of the month his green card is about to run out and he’ll have to return to New Zealand. Unless he can get married, that is. Enter Beckett who graciously opens his home and offers Zane a place to take harbor. Beckett is a professor at the local collage and is still healing from a divorce, but Zane is determined to help Beckett heal and believe in love again. Even if it means he loses his heart and falls head over heels for Beckett in the process.
I really enjoyed Zane and Beckett as our main characters. They might just be my favorite out of this whole series. They have amazing banter and the chemistry between them is so thick you could cut it with a knife. There were so many memorable moments between that really stuck out with me. I think my favorite would have to be the cinnamon standoff. That was such a fantastic scene that I don’t think I’ll ever get over. I truly believe these two characters were meant for each other. And can I just say how rare it is that we get romance stories where one of the characters is a divorcee. It’s so rare to have story like that and I’m really glad the author decided to take that and make it a part of this story.
Some of the themes in this book were fantastic like Zane discovering his self-worth and leaving an employer who constantly put Zane down about his work. Zane did a lot of work to figure out his own worth and chase after what he really wanted. Even by the end of the book he was still working on himself. I think my favorite theme has to be the one centered around Beckett. There’s a whole theme of of healing after you’ve been devastatingly hurt by someone you once loved. Beckett’s theme constantly sucked the air out of my lungs because watching everything unfold, watching Beckett rediscover love, and watching him a safe harbor with Zane was absolutely everything. And seeing Zane be patient, never giving up on Beckett was literally everything. The soft, healing moments Zane and Beckett have with one another was so wholesome, and everything.
“I was supposed to be charming your pants off. Yet you’re literally charming off mine.”
I did have some issues with this book though. I think the biggest thing was this book really being a slow burn and it was even emphasized throughout the book that it was a slow burn. Most of the steamy, spicy scenes didn’t happen probably till the 75% mark within this book. That’s how much of a slow burn this is. I think that was my most frustrating thing about this book because it just gave a feel of running circles around the actual romance and chemistry. The other thing I struggled with, that I actually had to research and ask a few people about, was the constant reference of ‘Kiwi’ throughout this book. I was so confused and I’m glad I actually researched and talked to a few people because I probably would have been very clueless if I hadn’t. For those who don’t know, like myself, Kiwi is in reference to those who are from New Zealand. I had no idea about this and now I do, but oh, I was so lost and confused for a hot minute with that being constantly repeated throughout the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book. As always, I have a wonderful time reading about this characters, reading their independent stories and seeing the cameos, and of course, I’m eager to finish this series. I think we have one last book in the series to read (excluding the novellas in between each book). If you haven’t checked out this series, I strongly recommend doing so. There’s so much lgbtqiap+ representation throughout this series and I just love this series with my whole chest.