*This is a standalone, you don't need to read the other books in the series first
I can give you my honest opinion that this is a good read but with one major qualifier.I feel like I've read a variation on this exact book several times. It's a hybrid between forbidden love and a second chance romance. Violet grew up with Jeremy and Cain. Cain liked Violet first but was to slow on declaring his feelings, his best friend Jeremy was quicker on the trigger and wound up with Violet. In part because Violet didn't realize Cain had feelings for her, she was willing to choose Jeremy. Jeremy meets an untimely end while enlisted in the army. Cain returns home to find Violet 6 years out from her relationship with Jeremy and struggling to find new love.
The story is about Cain battling his feelings for Violet and mostly doing a very poor job. For example, he pushes her away and is cold but the minute he sees her with another guy proceeds to lose his mind. As a result, Violet spends the majority of the book in a state of confusion about what it is Cain wants from her. Cain is clearly attracted to her but he's holding back.
I guess, at some point I started to feel like Violet. I just wanted to yank Cain by the collar and scream WHAT THE HELL MAN? I mean his mood changes and indecision just got to be overwhelming. At one point he is telling Violet to strip, the next minute he remembers he wants to keep his hands off her and he is telling her to get dressed so he can go for a jog. At another minute, he is sweeping in to rescue Violet from an awkward situation, in another breath he's telling her he's just doing it because it's what Jeremy would have wanted. I get it, I really do. It must be heard to date you dead best friend's ex-fiance but at some point we really needed Cain to pick a plan and stick to it.
For Violet's part, she was a pretty decent character. She was just as frustrated with Cain as I was. The connection between the couple was clear. The sexual chemistry was off the charts. The problem I had with Violet is that she didn't seem to be able to figure out what Cain's issue was so she could just sit him down and hash it out.
I have to say, it wasn't the fact of the barriers between the couple that got to me. What made this book just good but not great for me was the length of the angst and the back and forth that Cain was going through. When I got past the 50% mark and all the sexual tension between the couple had not turned into actual sex, my patience started to really wear down.
At the end of the day I can tell you that this was a good book but it's not going to be an unfamiliar theme or story line. While the main couple is intriguing and well depicted, the internal struggle over whether they should be together drags on for a few too many pages. Oh and if you're reading this book because you're into MMA books, I have to tell you that I didn't really see this as being an MMA book. There is some fighting but of the MMA books I've read, this was really light on the MMA stuff.
**ARC provided by Publisher**