A love story penned by Elle Aycart never disappoints, something about her trademark style of romance making me ache in anticipation every single time I am about to start reading one of her books because there’s not a doubt in my mind that she’d overload my senses and leave me squiggling in my seat from the sheer sexiness of her words. I have been waiting for a long time to read Max’s story and all good things definitely come to those who wait because this book was everything I hoped it’d be…and so much more. The perfect fusion of sweet and racy, with well-timed injections of humour and suspense, I loved every word in it. And I am now desperately besotted with another Bowen brother, another incorrigible dirty-mouthed alpha male—this one just happens to look like a mouth-watering Viking.
“I’ve been in the dating arena long enough to know that when your date starts talking about themselves in the third person, it’s time to hide.”
Annie Griffin is a single woman in her mid-thirties who dreams of settling down and marrying the man of her dreams, even though her dating history has amounted to one disappointment after another. But she remains an optimist, an ‘active dater’ who is willing to persevere in her search for the love of her life, even if to find him she’d have to kiss many a frog. Annie’s life comes to a standstill when she finds herself pregnant, compliments of an impetuous one night stand…with an escort.
“I somehow envisioned embracing motherhood differently. Not at thirty-five, without a partner, and knocked up by a gigolo who might or might not be named Luigi.”
Max is the youngest Bowen brother, and the last bachelor in this family of genetically blessed men. A professional stuntman, a daredevil, an irrepressible heartbreaker who loves playing the field, he wears his singlehood like a badge of honour, envisioning commitment and long-term relationships only somewhere very far on the horizon. When he runs into Annie at his brother’s wedding, any spark that might have ignited otherwise between them is quickly doused by an unexpected bout of morning sickness, coupled with the frustration from finding herself on another failed date to add to her already lengthy list. But their connection is immediate from the start, even with the wrong bodily fluids exchanged between them, both surprised by how easy it is to talk to one another and how effortless it is to be in each other’s company.
“… he was such a shameless flirt. Gorgeous, charming, easygoing. Pity when it came to women, he has the attention span of a hummingbird on crack.”
When Annie finds herself temporarily without a place to stay, Max offers her his home, a housesitting arrangement suiting them both while he’s away working on location and while she adjusts to her new condition. But every time he comes back home, he finds new reasons for liking the witty, down-to-earth, funny woman sleeping under his roof. And for wanting more with her.
“I’ve watched you come apart in my arms. I’ve held you while you slept. I’ve felt your baby kick. No, I haven’t f*cked you. My dick hasn’t been inside you. But don’t be mistaken; we do have an intimate relationship.”
As they start tiptoeing in the lukewarm waters of a friends-with-benefits arrangement, Annie struggles with the eight-year age difference between them most of all, fully aware that their priorities in life are nowhere near being aligned to one another, not to mention her impending single motherhood never letting her forget that she would soon be responsible for more than just herself. And yet, their attraction and affection for one another keep taking root, making Max more and more aware each day that that some things in life cannot be planned and that when the right woman comes along, you sweep her off her feet and never let her go.
“I’ll erase them.”
“Your reservations. I will blast them out of the sky. Every single one of them.”
I will be honest with you, this story had me at ‘pregnant by a gigolo’, knowing that the element of an unexpected and possible single parenthood would pull at my heartstrings from the get-go, but this story is so much more than just a formulaic scenario of an incorrigible bachelor falling for the single mum. This is a story of two people becoming friends first, of loving each other platonically well before their attraction kicks in, of a man finally finding someone he could no longer imagine living without and who makes him want to be the man she deserves to have in her life, and of a woman who blossoms emotionally the day she allows herself to fall head-over-heels in love with a sexy, over-protective ‘Viking’, age differences and self-imposed inhibitions be damned. I loved the slow-burning pace of this love story, the way we get to witness the gradual evolution of their relationship—from friends to lovers, from lovers to each other’s forevers—and I couldn’t get enough of the sizzling chemistry between them, not to mention the explosive sex scenes that were simply perfect start to finish.
“I noticed when I went to your bedroom … that you have a yoga swing hanging from your ceiling. I didn’t know you practiced yoga.”
“I don’t. That’s a sex swing.”
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, every aspect of it pleasing immensely the romance junkie in me, while making my heart race for all the ‘right’ reasons. If a well-written, sexy, feel-good love story is your thing, look no further.
“Love me? I’m a simple man, Ace. I don’t ask for much.”