Locked in with the town bad boy . . .
Most women would be scared, but Gabriella’s only worried about resisting Cruz Walsh, who’s even hotter than he was back in high school. Cruz was wrongly accused of the high-profile crime for which he was imprisoned; Gabriella’s desperate for the scoop that will get her career off the ground and get her out of Sweet Hill, where everyone still remembers her as “Flabby Gabby.” Being stuck in a supply closet with Cruz is the perfect opportunity to land an interview. What Bri doesn’t count on is Cruz taking “up-close and personal” to a whole new level.
If there’s a silver lining to the hell Cruz went through, it’s that losing his freedom put everything in perspective. Maybe starting over someplace new would be easier, but after years locked up, Cruz values his family—and his true friends—more than ever. So he’s back home, facing the gossip, dodging reporters . . . and face-to-face with Gabriella Rossi. They’ve both changed: Bri wants a story and Cruz just wants her. Another thing he’s learned? Don’t let a good thing slip away.
How have I missed the rest of this series? (No worries, this worked just fine as a standalone, but still…mid-read I realized that Beautiful Lawman was already on my Kindle; I’m going to have to bump it up the TBR ASAP!)
I enjoyed Cruz and Gabriella’s story. Their reunion meet cute–locked in a janitor’s closet–was a fun one, and I liked the star-crossed lovers aspect of their story. I do love it when a character who was less-than-popular as a teen grows up to get together with the person they crushed on in high school–definitely one of my catnips! I also loved that Gabriella seemed to come to terms with her body image perception issues by the end of the book, both in the past and today. The secondary characters–Gabby’s grandmother, niece and nephews; Cruz’s sisters–were also a lot of fun, even though keeping our hero and heroine from “sealing the deal” seemed to be one of their main goals as characters 😉
(They finally manage to get it done, thank goodness. But OMG, there were So. Many. Interruptions!)
There were some aspects of the story that stretched believability just a bit (why on earth didn’t Cruz ever make a move on Gabriella in high school? Would mean girl Natalie from high school still go out of her way ten years later to call her “Flabby Gabby” like no time had passed?) and others that didn’t quite feel finished (the specifics re: the crime Cruz did jail time for–maybe they were given in book 4, but not everything was explained here and I still have questions), but overall this was a highly readable story that had me increasing my TBR by four books before I had even reached the epilogue of this one 🙂
Rating: 4 stars / B
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.