When Harlow Manning’s rocker father goes on tour, he sends her to Rosemary Beach, Florida, to live with her half-sister, Nan. The problem: Nan despises her. Harlow has to keep her head down if she wants to get through the next nine months, which seems easy enough. Until gorgeous Grant Carter walks out of Nan’s room in nothing but his boxer briefs.
Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He’d known about Nan’s reputation, but still he couldn’t resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow’s eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her
Before I get into the review, I just want to say that I strongly recommend reading all the other books in the series before reading this one. Grant’s story is tied in quite strongly with both Rush and Woods’ (and with everyone else in Rosemary Beach) and I really feel like they should all be read in order. There are a lot of characters too so it would be good to go in with a bit of a refresher on them first.
Emotionally, this was a bit of a complicated book because there were a lot of factors at play. Grant was an interesting character. I’d always liked him but I hated his choice to be with Nan in any capacity so, going into this book, I was looking forward to seeing him grow a lot and learn to appreciate a relationship with his heart rather than just his… other parts 😉
I’ll be perfectly honest here… I hate Nan. Absolute hate her. And as such, even though I liked Grant, I wasn’t so sure how strongly I’d be able to connect to someone who clearly had had such a tolerance for her. I loved Grant, but I did not understand the way he was with Nan. But what this book did was it really helped me see her through his eyes and get to at least see why he had been with her.
“Mine had been the arms she’d run into, and like a fool I had opened them up for her. Now, all I had was a lot of damn drama and a slightly damaged heart. She hadn’t claimed it. Not completely. But she had touched a place no one else had. She had needed me. No one had ever needed me…. As sick as it was, I had wanted to be her hero.”
Harlow’s initial reaction to him though was (understandably) kind of that she didn’t want much to do with a guy who could be involved with someone as horrid as Nan. And I have to say, I totally saw where she was coming from which sucked for him because, despite how hard he kept trying to fight it, he was falling for her.
I kinda went back and forth on my feelings though because I could both understand Grant’s fears and see what was preventing him from putting his heart out on the line even as I simultaneously just wanted to slap him upside the head and tell him to get his shit in order before he lost his chance with Harlow for good.
What I loved about Harlow was that while she may have been a little shy and generally preferred to keep to herself, she was not a pushover. She saw right through Grant from the first time she met him and was not going to be on the receiving end of any of his issues. She also had no problem calling Nan out on her shit either. And I just kinda loved her for it.
We also get to see a whole lot of Mace in this book (he was Kiro’s son and Nan and Harlow’s brother) and I absolutely loved him. I really hope we get a whole book on Mace in the future because he really stole my heart. He had that whole protective big brother vibe working for him when it came to standing up for Harlow and I can only imagine how he’d get when he fell for someone. And I have to say… even though I know I’m supposed to be rooting for Grant as the hero of this story, for a good while I totally agreed with the advice Mace was giving Harlow….
“My advice is to stay the fuck away from [Grant]. Guys that weak aren’t the ones worth sticking around for. When a guy gets the attention of someone like you, he’s supposed to understand his luck. Not toss it away. He doesn’t get it. Find a man that understands your worth.”
He wasn’t wrong. See, the first half of the book was kind of interesting because… it’s rare to read a book where you actually don’t even think the hero is worthy of the girl yet. And truly I didn’t think Grant deserved Harlow. Not at first. He had a lot of growing up to do and a lot of things to come to terms with before he could give his heart over. And the thing was that I understood and respected that. Not everyone just takes a running leap and jumps into a relationship with their eyes closed. He had valid fears but they were ones that he needed to get over before I could respect him as someone worthy of Harlow.
But I will say that while Grant did mess up (a lot), I have to give that guy credit because he knew how to give a great apology. I mean, gosh — it was hard not to forgive him. It really was. I kinda just had to.
“I may have pushed her too far away,” …
“Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe you never stood a chance to begin with. But is she worth trying?”
I nodded. “Yeah, she’s worth begging.”
A big part of the story was actually Grant facing his fear of loving someone and opening himself up to the potential pain of losing them. Having seen first hand how devastating the loss of a life could be, he was determined to do anything and everything to prevent himself from ever experiencing that loss.
“…all I could think was what if I loved someone that much and I lost them? How could I live? … I decided I never wanted to be that vulnerable. I never wanted to love someone that much. I never wanted to face losing the one person that owns me.”
I felt that of all the lines that described Grant best, it was this one…
“You’ll find out you can trust me. I’m not a bad guy. Deep down you know that. I just made a very bad decision.”
Now, the second half of the book had some really cool revelations and twists to it that I loved – specifically regarding the beautiful backstory development with Kiro which showed me a whole new side of him. I’m not going to lie, I teared up more than once and thought it was a wonderful addition to the story.
The ending is a cliffhanger. Grant and Harlow’s story is still unfinished. I literally turned the page and then realized… there was no next page. *sniff* But, if you’ve read this series so far (which you really should before reading this book), it’s nothing outrageous — I mean, it’s the same type of cliffhanger you’re already used to from this series so if you’ve handled them ok so far, you’ll be fine with this too.
I have to say that all of Abbi Glines’ book have this insanely addictive quality to them. They kind of just compel you to inhale them in one sitting — which was what I did with this one. I read it start to finish without stopping and am now looking forward to the next one!