Because of Sydney is a spin-off from T.A. Foster's Kissing Eden Series. Fans of the series will recognize the main character Mason, who is Grey's uncle. While new readers can certainly pick this one up and read it as a standalone, I think it is best read following the Kissing Eden series. There is a lot between Grey and Mason that is just briefly touched on here, and I think it is best to have that knowledge while reading this one so as not to feel as though part of Mason's backstory is missing or glossed over.
Mason Lachlan is used to knowing what he wants and getting it no matter what. He is set to develop a new resort in one of the biggest land deals Padre has ever seen. But when he meets the young reporter Sydney Paige, he quickly becomes the focus of her story. Mason hates reporters, and he knows that Sydney could end up ruining his deal if she pushes too much. Yet he can't help but be drawn to her despite knowing just how badly things could go if he pursues her. Sydney needs this job, and she will do whatever it takes to get in good with her boss. But when the lines start to blur, she finds herself torn between her job and Mason. Can Mason and Sydney find a way to explore what is between them while also being successful, or will their feelings get in the way and destroy everything that they have each been working for?
If I am being honest, it was hard for me to get into this book. I had read the Kissing Eden series, so I always expected Mason to end up with Taylor. I felt like the author had started to develop that connection and that while it needed work, it was something that could have turned into such a great relationship. So for me, it was hard for me to like or support Sydney from the start. Not that she wasn't likable, although she did have her moments, but I just felt invested in Taylor and Mason. Because of that, I really feel like I was at a disadvantage to accept these two. Mason's reason for breaking up with Taylor is that he could tell she was looking for more and he didn't want any commitment, yet he immediately gets into a relationship here with Sydney. I felt like he should have been able to own up to his feelings, and the fact that he just apparently didn't want a future with Taylor. That wasn't at all a part of his reasons for dumping her, considering that he said that he liked her and they had a good time together but that he was just looking for casual fun. Mason was more wishy washy here than I had seen him before, and it didn't fit with the same guy from Kissing Eden. While I enjoyed seeing him developing a relationship with Eden and Grey and how they were becoming closer as a family, I didn't like it in regards to Sydney. One minute he is pushing her away and the next he was pulling her closer. It happened on several occasions, and I just didn't care for it. How he could go from wanting a one night stand and basically daring her to follow through on it, to wanting her to spend the night, bringing her breakfast in the morning and inviting her on a trip within a matter of hours was beyond me. And this is all the first day they met! Sydney for the most part was likable, yet she also was pushy and fit the description of the typical annoying reporter. Getting in people's business and not really caring what it takes as long as she gets her story. She got emotionally involved, and then would react to things accordingly. Because of that her communication skills with Mason were lacking and she did some really immature things. I thought Mason was a part of the communication issues as well, but Sydney's actions were worse to me.
While this is a standalone story, there is a lot to Mason's background when it comes to his family and I felt like that wasn't as well developed here as it could have been. The reader doesn't really find anything out until about 70% of the way through this book, and even then it felt brief and not thoroughly explored. I think that readers that are looking for depth and want to really see more into Mason and why he is the way he is should start with Kissing Eden in order to really get the full picture. I wanted that to be a bit more explored here, especially for those that are just getting to know Mason. While Because of Sydney doesn't end on a cliffhanger, the ending was rushed and abrupt and things were left open for more. I'm not sure if the author has plans to write more for these characters, but it definitely felt like that was her intention. The storyline with Sydney's sister was also left open, so i'm sure something is in the works. Honestly, I am not sure that I will continue reading about these characters as the last few books have just been okay for me. While I loved the beginning of the Kissing Eden series and some of Foster's other books, the last few haven't been my favorites. I might give the new ones a shot just to find out what happens with everyone, but I am not sure that I would have started this series if I would have known how things will play out.
**ARC Provided by Mark My Words Book Publicity**