Published by Berkley Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Best Friends Sister, Contemporary Romance, Love to Hate, Millionaire/Billionaire Hero, Romance, Sports
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Love can take some time to break in...
Teagan O’Brien, heiress to the Riley O’Brien & Co. denim empire, is anything but a spoiled rich girl. She’s worked hard to secure her place in the family business and can hold her own, in and out of the office. Only one man has ever been able to get under her skin—sexy football star Nick Priest. Years ago they crossed the line from friends to lovers, but he left her heartbroken. Since then, she’s been determined to keep him at arm’s length—no matter how tempting he looks in his jeans...
Nick has fortune, fame, and looks that make most women hot and bothered. But he doesn't have the woman he really wants. He knows he screwed up when he walked away from Teagan, and now that he has a second chance, he’ll do whatever it takes to win her over—no matter how tongue-tied he gets...
So this book stood out to me because it had two things going in it that I love: a second chance romance and our hero is best friends with our heroines brothers. So there was something that really stood out to me while reading this book, I’m not sure it played any role in whether or not I enjoyed the book, but it stood out nevertheless. Both of these characters are, well, loaded. And because both of them are basically rolling in money there is a lot of brand name dropping and shopping trips where no one ever has to wonder if they are going to be able to eat after buying such expensive shoes. While I don’t mind a rich character, I like when they still have some parts of their backgrounds that I can identify with (you know from my normal, average childhood/adulthood). Yes they did have some family issues (him more than her), but when it came down to the day to day of how they lived their lives, or even kind of their outlooks on life, I didn’t really feel any connection. They both never wanted for things growing up, and while yes they both work hard, there is kind of like this permanently ingrained sense that they don’t have the same day to day worries that I do. I mean Nick never had to worry about even feeding himself or buying his own nicknacks because he had someone who did all of that for him. And Teagan’s college experience involved living in an expensive condo she owned in a building with a doorman, with two bedrooms so she could have a home office (I don’t know about your college experience but that certainly wasn’t mine).
Anyway, once I stopped reaching for personal similarities between me and them, it made it easier to enjoy the book, although it probably played a role into why I wasn’t like super connected to them. So this is a second chance romance, so when the book starts, we meet Teagan and Nick and they have already had their moment in time, it ended badly, and now they don’t really interact. Only of course Nick wants to make it right with her and get their happily ever after, Teagan really just wants him to go away and leave her alone. We do kind of travel back in time and get to experience their relationship from beginning to end, which I did enjoy, because it explained a lot about why Teagan felt the way she did about Nick.
All that being said, I was a little bummed out about how everything in the book (and I mean like a huge amount) is so focused on the sexual element. Here’s what I mean, Nick sees Teagan across the room for the first time in while and there is like five pages of how he wishes she was naked with him somewhere. Nick and Teagan are going on a historical tour in Salem and are in a cemetery and all they can think about (both POVs is each others respective body parts). I felt like so much was made of the sexual attraction and how much they wanted to jump each others bones that you kind of miss out on the whole deep emotional connection the two of them ended up having. And when the book started getting heavy it felt like I didn’t get to have as much of an emotional response as the situation warranted because I had miss out on building an emotional bond to their relationship. Don’t get me wrong these two have great chemistry, and they did have some hot scenes in the book (although there was more than one occasion when I thought Nick was way to pushy), but lots of sex does not make me pull for a couple to be together. I will say this though, the writing was pretty good and the storyline was good too, so I will for sure give this author another read, I just wish it had been just a tiny bit more character driven than sex driven.
San Francisco—Present Day
Blunder. Gaffe. Misstep. Error. Snafu. Although plenty of words described the huge, life-altering mistake Nick Priest had made, none of them quite conveyed his stupidity. He’d had a chance with Teagan O’Brien, but he’d blown it. That was his biggest regret, and he had a lot of them.
As he stared at her across the ballroom, he had to remind himself to breathe. Her long, red dress clung to her curvy body, just tight enough to make every man in the room wish his pants were a little looser behind the zipper.
She reminded him of a starlet from the 1950s with her abundant breasts, narrow waist, and round hips. He’d had the pleasure of shaping those hips with his hands, tonguing her rosy nipples, and sinking into her luscious body, although pleasure didn’t really describe what he’d felt when he had been with her.
She laughed, her deep blue eyes glinting in the light from the chandeliers, and her date leaned closer, licking his lips as he got an eyeful of her tits. Nick clenched his hands into fists, barely controlling the urge to ram the fucker’s head into the wall.
For more than a year and a half, he had been trying to persuade Teagan to give him another chance. But she hated him with all the passion she’d given him during their one and only night together.
He thought about approaching her but discarded the idea. She had become a master at avoiding him, and she would find a reason to excuse herself immediately.
Forcing himself to relax, he settled more comfortably against the wood-paneled wall. He wasn’t trying to blend in. He knew that was impossible.
His face and form were highly recognizable from years of playing pro football, and most recently, appearing in commercials for Riley O’Brien & Co., the nation’s oldest designer and manufacturer of blue jeans. Since he’d thrown his lot in with the company, he had figured he ought to attend the annual holiday party. Plus, he had known Teagan would be here.
This wasn’t the first O’Brien celebration he had attended. He’d known the family for about fifteen years. He had played football with Quinn O’Brien at the University of Southern California, and he had formed friendships with both Quinn and his younger brother, Cal.
The O’Brien brothers were Nick’s best friends, two of his favorite people. But his absolute favorite person was their little sister, Teagan. He’d known her almost as long as he had known Quinn and Cal, and before he’d messed things up, they had been friends. Best friends, in fact.