Cale is the third and final book in the Walk of Shame series by Victoria Ashley. While it is a standalone story, the characters are interconnected. I hadn't read the previous books and I didn't have any problems understanding anything, but I think I did miss out on getting to know these characters a little bit since this is a short novella. So while I liked some things about this book, I think I might have enjoyed the story more had I read the previous installments.
Cale and Riley have been best friends for years. Both had feelings for one another beyond friendship, but they never said anything to each other. When Riley leaves town to be with her grandmother, they promise to keep in touch. Cale vows that he will save himself for when Riley returns. Now years later, they haven't spoken to each other since a few years after Riley left but Cale has never gone back on his promise to Riley. Though Cale is a stripper, he is also a virgin. With Riley finally headed back to town, Cale is determined to finally make her his. But Riley has been dating someone for years and though it might be over, he isn't willing to let Riley go either. Who will Riley choose, the man she has always wanted or the man that she has a history with?
I liked Riley and Cale, but I don't really feel like I got to know either of them that well. I think the length and not having read the previous books is to blame here, because there really wasn't that much of these characters here. Cale and Riley had a great friendship and a clear connection, but I don't feel like we really got to see it develop or strengthen. These two pretty much just jumped right in, and there wasn't any build up. They started having sex almost immediately, and from that point it was pretty much all they did besides Riley trying to make up her mind on who she wanted to be with. For all the longing and sexual tension that these two had because of their years as friends only, I felt like it was unrealistic for them to change their whole relationship that quickly. I felt like I had missed a huge portion of the story, and I had to go back and check to make sure I hadn't actually missed it.
Overall, this one was sexy and I liked the characters together but I just felt like the execution here could have used some work. I would have liked to have seen these two settle into their friendship again after so many years apart and watch it build to where things finally were able to make that transition to more. I feel like we missed a huge portion of the story, and it was one that I very much wanted to see. If you are a fan of the series, you will enjoy seeing familiar faces and might have a better connection with these characters than I felt by just jumping in with this book. I wouldn't recommend reading this book as a standalone because of that, but I really couldn't help myself with that blurb and cover.
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