This is my first book by this author and after reading it the only question I was asking myself was 'why is this my first book by this author?' This is a really great read in terms of characters, story telling and romance. I think this is the fourth book in the series but it's a standalone so you don't have to read any of the others. After reading this installment, I'm eager to get my hands on the books of the supporting characters that came before the one.
In this book Tiffany is the young Mother of 3 small children. Tiffany has been barely surviving an abusive relationship with her husband when she meets her Prince Charming. Charming happens to be Tiffany's brother-in-law and oh yeah, he's a giant a-hole more commonly known as Blake. Because Blake's brother, and Tiffany's husband, has put Blake's family through so much with his erratic and abusive behavior over the years, Blake is highly suspicious of a woman who claims to be married to him. Blake is even more suspicious about the kids Tiffany claims to have who he are not with her the first time he meets her. To "protect" his Mother from any more drama brought on by his brother, Blake pays Tiffany $20k to take her kids and go away. It was totally tragic. One year later, Tiffany's crazy husband has terrorized Tiffany and her children out of their home and back onto a collision course with Blake.
This author builds these characters so well that you really get where they are coming from. Blake and Tiffany discover that they are both the victims of Phil (Tiffany's husband) but over the years they have learned to deal with it in different ways. Blake has learned that he needs to be in control of everything and that the best way to do that is with money. At the same time, Blake feels intensely guilty about a great many things and is constantly punishing himself. Blake is not really enjoying life. Instead he's just consuming it and growing colder. As for Tiffany, there was a little bit of a discrepancy in her character. The author tells us that she was the kind of person that was so concerned about pleasing people that she suffered for it. At the same time though, when we meet Tiffany, she is tough and resilient. Whatever inclination she had to please people seems to have already cleared up. What I loved about Tiffany is the story of how you can become a stranger to yourself. You can spend so much time surviving and taking care of other people that you actually don't know yourself anymore. There are scenes in this book where Tiffany is trying to rediscover her own body that I just thought were so well written and fascinating.
Blake discovers that the survivor in Tiffany is the part that he loves and wants. Unfortunately he doesn't know how to stop trying to use his money to control everything. Because of that, he builds all sorts of walls around his relationship with Tiffany that he comes to regret but can't figure out how to take down. For Tiffany's part she understands what Blake is doing. She knows how important it is to protect yourself. The question is just whether she can deal with Blake's issues her own and three kids. The answers are a developing romance between two people and a journey for self love that you should definitely read.
**ARC provided by Publisher**