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New Release Review! YOU CAN’T BUY LOVE by Melanie A. Smith (Life Lessons #3)

You Can't Buy Love cover

Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can pride …

Julianna Magnusson is tired of working her tail off at her thankless job as a nurse practitioner for the cardiac unit at Rutherford Hospital. Tired of having little to no time for her own life. But most of all, she’s tired of pretending that she’s happy about it all. So when her boss insists she attend the annual hospital charity gala, spending a ton of money on a dress to impress a bunch of stuck-up snobs doesn’t exactly sound like her idea of a good time.

Still, ever the dutiful employee, she makes an appearance. Only to meet a handsome stranger named Noah who stops her from drunkenly confronting the man who owns the hospital about all the issues at work. Then Noah does so much more, giving her a night of passion that she’ll never forget. Still, Jules has no intentions of taking it further. As timely as meeting him was, Noah is many things she’d never want in a man: Clearly elitist, arrogant, and bossy, he’s nothing more than a one-night stand.

Which was a great plan until he turns up at her hospital with a mind to shake things up in a way that could affect her career and her decision to write him off, igniting an epic battle between them as the chemistry that sparked the initial attraction transforms into a battle of wills. Their clash could jeopardize everything Jules has worked for — or, if she can look past her own pride, it might lead to everything she needs. In the fight between what we think we want and what life has in store for us, what wins?

Review:

Maybe you can’t buy love…but OMG, those abs…! 😉

I really enjoyed Julianna’s story. I loved her loyalty to her friends, and her dedication to her job–and that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for both, no matter who or what was threatening them (liquid courage not necessary, though it made for one heck of a meet cute…though perhaps “cute” isn’t quite right? Meet steamy-as-heck? Is that a thing?)

Jules and Noah had fantastic chemistry going on here, though it was definitely complicated by their conflicts elsewhere–who his family is, their jobs, her pride and prejudices–and I’ll admit that I was a bit taken aback by how fast they tended to go from fighting over work issues to, ahem, doing other things together. (Not complaining, exactly, because–whoa. Pass the fan and an ice cube or two, please! And yes, one type of passion can definitely lead to other kinds. It just seemed to be a really abrupt transition–maybe twice, I think?)

As with the other books, we only see Jules’s POV here; like her, we don’t know exactly what Noah is doing a lot of the time or what his motivation is until everything is revealed toward the end. There were times that Jules’s anger with Noah felt a bit out of proportion, which was frustrating–though once we know why (through a somewhat clunky plot device, but it worked) it made more sense and I was willing to give her a pass. 😉 With all of that going on, I’ll admit I might have been a *bit* concerned about Ms Smith’s ability to pull everything back together for a suitable HEA at a point or two. An unnecessary worry, thank goodness, but she did have me going for a bit there!

You Can’t Buy Love is the third book in the series, but it should work just fine as a standalone–really, the only spoilers for the other books are who ends up with whom, but you can get that from reading the book blurbs, so it’s not really a mystery. Reading all three will definitely give you a better feeling for the characters and their place of work, though–plus, they’re all really good!–so I definitely recommend adding all three to your TBR if you haven’t already 😀

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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