By Kaily Hart
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
For Nash Carmichael, this downtime was meant to be like any other. Pick a random city and settle in for some much needed R&R—of the adult variety. Except Nash didn’t count on meeting Lexi. He’d written her off as too young, too blonde and too “cute” for his brand of entertainment…until her smart mouth intrigues the hell out of him.
Alexis “Lexi” Ryan might be outwardly tough and plenty sarcastic, a byproduct of her crappy childhood, but it’s pretty much all for show. Fact is, she’s got a big-ass problem—one she’s kept from everyone, one she hasn’t been able to solve on her own. So how then does the hot, gorgeous, “it’s just sex” guy manage to zero right in on it? And somehow fix it?
Nash’s only permanent place is a storage unit he hasn’t checked in over five years and that’s just how he likes it. The sex with Lexi is plenty hot and dirty—just how he likes it—but it’s sweet too, and not just that. Soon he’s trying to remember why he vowed never to be pinned down by anything or anyone.
The preview blurb didn’t line up as succinctly with the actual story as it could/should have, but that aside, I enjoyed reading this novella. Lexi was genuine, outspoken, sassy and relatable. She wasn’t a rich snob or experiencing angst or harboring some deep-rooted problem. (The texting threats Lexi had been receiving seemed to be tossed in there for effect. If this had been a longer book and not a novella, it may have served a more effective plot role.) Nash was a big, handsome, arrogant and obnoxious guy. When these two first met, the sparks flew. Even though they didn’t know one another and sort of fell into being together through a chance meeting at the bar and subsequently were bounced out, they always seemed to click in a believable way. They were likable together. The author teased out various pieces of their histories and upbringings as the story unfolded, and it helped to weave credibility into their actions and reactions and built up to their consequent relationship. When it came time for Nash to leave, seeing their story come full-circle – from Nash’s initial brush-off of Lexi at the airport when he landed to now having a difficult time walking away from her – left me wanting him to admit the “L” word or at least promise to return. But no. The reader is left hanging, a bit frazzled and let-down at this point, but Hart provides a moving and rewarding finish in the final chapter.
I would have liked for the author to include some sort of farther extending conclusion related to Nash and Lexi considering the depth of their admissions to one another at the end of the final chapter. Are they going to move in together? Are they going to get married? Nash is staying in the area with Lexi and starting a business with Jake, but tell me more or hint at more. By this point in the novella, I’m sold on these two having a HEA and I want to know what happens next! Positively, the epilogue hints at a future story focused on Nash’s service buddy Jake. Hart appears to be a very good writer and the series promises to offer multi-layered characters with personality and emotional storylines.
The “huh?” part?
I was a bit perplexed by how distant Lexi acted towards Nash when he returned home in the final chapter. It turns out she reacted this way because Nash had been injured during his latest tour and she hadn’t known about it (which she wouldn’t considering the circumstances of his mission). Actually, though, both characters appeared drained emotionally at this point in the story, and considering their backgrounds and upbringing, it may have actually been a pretty real reaction if this had happened in real life.
The entire chapter/scene when Nash returns from his most recent tour to reunite with Lexi and professes his feelings for her and admits that’s he will no longer be serving but going into private practice with his buddy Jake.
I really enjoyed it. You can’t help but like Nash and Lexi. They’re funny, she’s sassy and feisty and he doesn’t know exactly how best to deal with it, they both are feeling emotions they didn’t expect, and it’s really well-written. It’s a fast and easily enjoyable read.
Original review posted on Amazon and Goodreads on May 11, 2016.