Three men and a baby is the core of this story, and who doesn’t want to read hapless guys juggling a cute kid? Great premise. But the love was a little harder to come by in this tale of a teacher and an ex-marine.
Addison is our unemployed teacher. She needs a job, and it just so happens Collin needs a nanny for his baby daughter. They meet in a bar where he’s pushy in offering help to her and her very drunk buddy, but Addie’s not having any of it and leaves him in her dust. They meet again when his sister, Lia, her sort-of friend, brings her to interview for the nanny post. But again our H&H don’t hit it off.
Despite the mutual attraction, neither likes the other. In fact they’re quite rude every time they meet. Collin hasn’t has sex in eighteen months and blames that for his mood swings. Addie needs money as she’s being evicted but she doesn’t exactly make it easy on herself. She’s brittle, and not very chill, snapping her fingers in Collin’s face and barking at him.
Collin was a marine, and is now raising his motherless daughter, Chloe, with the help of two buddies who were squad mates. Even between them they can’t cover Chloe’s needs at all times, and help is required.
Addison ends up in his employ, of course, but it takes a winding path to get there, and the story didn’t always feel perfectly balanced. They took a long time to get to know one another, and though there was a sexy spark, it was more on Collin’s side. I wanted more talking and bonding with some happy ‘yes, I like you’ moments earlier on.
When there were opportunities to connect them more deeply, they sometimes sidestepped. For example: Addison is in an accident. Collin sees her car surrounded by flashing lights, pulls over and freaks out about a previous accident he’s been left damaged by. He doesn’t go with her to the hospital. She insists he doesn’t, but he really should’ve gone. Then he should’ve brought her flowers and food when she was home. Instead he turns up the next day to take her out for breakfast, which is great, except she doesn’t want to go and is trying to conceal her pajama-clad self from him.
He mooches in her room, looking at photos then asks a question about her family – but the short version of the story as he’s hungry. He doesn’t enquire about how she is, whether she’s in pain or if she slept okay. He’s not the most emotionally aware of men.
In fact the only time the accident was mentioned was at the cafe where he whined about her flirting with the EMT. Which he then sulked about. I get that he’s meant to be the brusque cave man type, but telling me he’s all horny for her and likes seeing her holding his daughter doesn’t make me love him when he treats her badly. I wanted to like him, but it was difficult in moments like this.
Similarly with Addison – she fancies Collin but shows the opposite in her behaviour, actively avoiding him and being snappy. I’d liked to have known more about her back story earlier, so I could understand her life and why she was reticent to build relationships. Once I knew what was going on, I felt empathy for her, but by that point I’d already been wondering if they were ever going to work as a couple.
Collin and his two buddies, Gavin and Max, worked well sparking off each other. The bromantic male bonding and how they handled the baby between them was the best part of this story. Their dialogue made me laugh out loud and I’m intrigued to know what’s going to happen in Max’s story which looks like it’s up next. He’s hot, and always chasing (and catching) women, but it looks like his heart belongs to Lia.
I’ll read on in the series, as there were aspects of the writing I liked, though I’d really love to see more love and affection before the end game.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Heather Van Fleet
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca