Skylar Nixon tried so hard to be an actress. She moved to New York right after high school, and although she went to countless auditions, they never panned out. Her last effort was a reality show called Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) – and the producers had a very specific role they wanted her to fill. Her performance was edited to make her seem even worse than she was, and now nobody wants to hire her. Not even after she moves back home with her tail between her legs.
Sebastian Pryce was his high school’s typical weird loner. He was super smart but constantly made fun of for his OCD. He, too, moved to New York after high school. He became a powerful attorney and got engaged to a real city girl. But he didn’t want that life. He didn’t like that life. He pushed his fiancee away and quit his job. He moved back home for a simple, quiet life.
On one of the worst days of her life, Skylar literally faceplants on the beach in front of Sebastian. At first, she doesn’t recognize him, but he recognizes her. After all, Skylar was Sebastian’s secret crush for a good decade. When Skylar realizes that this beautiful man is that Sebastian Pryce, she’s intrigued. She wants to get to know him better. But why does he keep pushing her away?
I flew through the first 50% of this book without regard to time (and was consequently very tired at work the next day). I loved both characters and I thought it was so great that Harlow chose to portray a hero with mental illness as someone not only worthy of the heroine’s affection, but also someone that she would fight for! I appreciated the depictions of Sebastian’s anxiety and OCD. So often, romantic heroes are these infallible, perfect gods. So, in that way, Sebastian was very refreshing to read about.
The second half was good, but not great. It felt like Harlow was unsure of where to take the plot, so Skylar and Sebastian just had a lot of sex. And don’t get me wrong – this book is very hot. Like, where-are-all-the-fans-in-my-house hot and can-I-crank-the-air-conditioning-up-a-bit hot. Harlow knows her way around a sex scene, that’s for sure. But there’s a chunk of chapters in this middle of this book that basically consisted solely of sex, and it got a little tiring, even for me.
Still, I loved this book, and I just wanted to take Sebastian and protect him and his insecurities and his poetry and his list of things that will be hard for him that he’s still going to do so that he doesn’t become a slave to his anxiety or his compulsions. Even though he’s this buff, beautiful lawyer, he still feels like that awkward, weird kid that everybody made fun of and my heart just broke for him.
As a side note to any readers of Frenched, Lucas and Mia play a fairly big role toward the end of this book, and I might have actually squealed with delight when they showed up.
I have some more unread Melanie Harlow books on my shelf, and once I finish my new wave of ARC’s, I am so excited to fall in love with more of her characters.
Final rating: ★★★★☆