Hanging by a Thread is the third book in the Riley O'Brien Co. Series by Jenna Sutton. Each book is a standalone though the characters are connected. I have only read one of the previous books in the series, but I really enjoyed it and looked forward to reading this one. While I did like this book, I had some issues with the story that kept me from liking it as much as the previous book I had read from Jenna Sutton.
Bebe Banerjee is thirty years old and is desperate to lose her virginity and the fiance that she has never wanted to marry. Looking to make her parents happy, she agreed to the arranged marriage when she was younger and came to an agreement with her fiance. But when her fiance suddenly changes everything with an ultimatum and blackmail, she sets out to make sure that even if she is forced to marry him, he will never get her firsts. Cal O'Brien is the man she has wanted since she met him, but with them constantly arguing and insulting she knows that he could never be interested in her. But Cal has been just as interested in Bebe as she has been in him, although he never told her. When Cal overhears her conversation with his sister about losing her virginity, he offers himself up. But what starts out as an arrangement for her to take care of her V-Card quickly turns into more and both Cal and Bebe find themselves wanting something real together. But can Bebe get out of her engagement, and what happens when Cal finds out that she has been engaged the entire time?
I will admit that part of my issues here were with Bebe. While I liked Bebe at times, I never felt like I could relate to her. I did understand that she was so smart that she experienced a lot more at a young age academically, but that really stunted her social growth. She had little to no experience with social settings and men. But it also struck me as unrealistic that she would be 30 and never have even been kissed or gone on a date before. She was naive and rigid, and at times her thoughts were just plain odd and bordered on creepy if I am honest. (for example one of her thoughts was that scientist should clone Cal so that all women could enjoy him privately...seriously?) Cal was sweet and I really liked him. I thought that he was great with Bebe and they were good together. They got along really well, had great chemistry, and it was obvious that they had a strong connection. I did find the fact that they went from constantly arguing and insulting one another to sweet and lovey dovey to be a bit unrealistic as well though, and I would have liked to have seen more of a natural transition there rather than it just being like a flipped switch. I also hated that Cal got so mad at Bebe for never having said anything about her feelings for him and him being upset that she caused them to waste four years together, especially since he had felt the same way but never said anything. He had kept quiet and dated others during those four years when he had never told her how he felt. It was hypocritical and really irritated me.
Beyond just those issues though, I also felt like the big conflict in the story here (the fiance/arranged marriage) wasn't dealt with in a believable manner. It went on the entire way through the book, but when it came down to it's resolution, Akash and the arranged marriage just disappeared. It was referenced in one conversation with Bebe and Cal, but was never brought up again and we never saw any of the actual resolution. Akash and all of it was just gone as though it was magically resolved. There is no way that it would have just been over with one overcompensation between Bebe and Akash's parents...not buying that at all. So while I did have moments that I liked this story and things were sweet between Bebe and Cal, I also had a lot of things that just didn't quite seem plausible. I think if you are looking for a contemporary romance and don't get caught up in how believable or realistic it is, that this might be one worth giving a shot. Cal is great and he is definitely worth reading about. But if you are looking for something that seems more realistic and true to life, this one might not be for you.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**