It took me a couple days to get my thoughts on paper because I just couldn’t write this review directly after reading Ten and Caroline’s story. I was in a dilemma; I couldn’t decide how much I liked the story versus how much I should like the story. I say that because this genre is not one of my usual ones and reading the story reminds me that I’m still a bit of a prude when it comes to teenagers and sex. The thing is, though – Linda Kage’s writing style is such that she captures my attention even with a topic outside of my norm.
I’ve read the first 4 books in the series and I enjoyed all of them. Like book 4, this one has a tad more sexual content than the first 3. The antics of the men of the Forbidden Bar are a nice change of pace for me, and I hope for you. Most romance that I read, the H/h tend to be insulated in that relationship without mention of friend or foe, but Kage’s ‘Forbidden Men’ series, thus far, very much includes all the boys and girls of the cool kids club. In this case, the majority of the cool kids are starters on the college football team.
Finally, our own foul-mouthed Ten, best friend of Noel from book 3, gets his HEA. The only issue with his HEA is the person with whom his interests lie – Noel’s sister, Caroline. If you’ve read Book 3, which I would recommend, you probably thought Ten was the biggest douche ever – I know I did. He’s crass, has very little if any filtering and is probably one of the most loyal people you’ll ever meet. Yeah, the thing about that is, 2 out of 3 in the negative still makes it negative and he’s still those things and somehow, someway – I’m reading this story and thinking what an as*hat he is and yet I’m still in his corner biting my nails hoping that this manslut finally figures out what he needs to do to get his girl.
I understood exactly why Noel didn’t want Ten to go out with Caroline; most men would NEVER want their best friend, especially someone with Ten’s wandering ways, with their little sister. Especially with her history and the fragile home life that Noel tried to build on for his younger siblings. I’m not gonna lie, I was disappointed that Ten and Caroline chose to pursue their relationship the way that they did, but I guess that’s understandable because really, generally speaking, when is the last time a teenager made a sound decision that was not based on feeling good at the moment?
Caroline is not my favorite heroine, she’s smart and fun but there’s something about her that didn’t sit well with me. She definitely learned how to be sneaky from her first relationship with Sander. Then again, maybe it was her introduction in Noel’s story that made me expect her to be a bit more ‘mature’ about any decision concerning sex – again I had to remind myself that she’s still a teenager. There were moments where I thought she was clearly the softer side of Ten, but her claws would come out and that would startle me a bit but then they would retract and sweet Caroline would reappear. I especially enjoyed the scenes between her and Noel. She’s trying to assert her independence while he’s trying to protect his little sister.
All of the characters from the other installments are all present and it’s nice to see them again but keep in mind that the time frame between these stories is very short and some of them are actually parallel. I’m not sure how long this series can go on with these kids still in college.
Before I go, compared to the first three-quarters of the story, the last quarter of this story reads very quickly. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see that last bit of conflict expanded more – it seemed way too easy. Overall, I thought this was a solid read using multi-dimensional page-turning protagonists with ginormous amounts of laugh out loud moments and a sweet amount of acerbic dialogue (thanks Noel).
Happy Reading folks!
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
A Perfect Ten
by Linda Kage
Release Date: March 30, 2015