In Molly O’Keefe’s latest, a hero with a hardened heart and a heroine with a will of steel face off against each other. Tiffany is a struggling mother of three young children who is trying to divorce her abusive husband and keep her kids safe from his abuse and destruction. When said shitstain ex tracks her down after being served with divorce papers and trashes her apartment, she’s at rock bottom and needs to ask for help. When she inadvertently runs into her ex’s brother Blake, the last person in the world she wants to witness her low point, life gets even more complicated.
Blake and Tiffany do not have a pleasant history. The last time they met, he was in full asshole mode, assumed she was a con-artist using her kids to fleece him for cash, and paid her off to keep her from hurting his family. He’s spent a significant portion of his adult life cleaning up after his shithead brother and trying to shield the rest of his family from his brother Phil’s bullshit and he’s unapologetic about it. Seeing Tiffany again makes him realize that he may have screwed the pooch where she’s concerned and he becomes determined to fix things.
Blake is one seriously fucked up dude. He compartmentalizes the people in his life and makes everything transactional so that things don’t get messy and emotions don’t get in the way. This is a shit way to live and a shit way to treat people. His loved ones put up with it because they know why he does it and they genuinely care about him but even they are approaching the end of their ropes. If he wants happiness and joy in his life, he needs to unfuck himself and he needs to do it fast.
Tiffany is a phenomenal heroine. When she’s offered money to disappear and never bother her ex’s family again, she of course takes it. That money will keep her babies safe. Who gives a shit what those assholes think of her? She does not put up with Blake’s shit and it’s beautiful. Tiffany is a great mom who is struggling to keep the reality of her life and her shitty choice in spouses from hurting her kids. When she can’t stop it from affecting them, she really aches. It’s easy to root for her to be happy and safe. It’s a little less easy to root for Blake but he works for it.
Tiffany and Blake’s unlikely romance is messy and raw and complicated. They’re undeniably attracted to each other but there’s so much conflict to deal with – Tiffany’s abuse history, Blake’s insane need to control everything, the animosity and pain between them. Somehow, though, Molly O’Keefe soldiers on through and delivers yet another emotional, complex, and intense novel with flawed difficult characters.
Tiffany: After fighting for a new life, I don’t want to play the victim anymore. However, with three kids to raise, I’m getting desperate enough to make a deal with the devil. My estranged brother-in-law, Blake, says he just wants to help, but he’s been trouble since I met him. I don’t know if I can believe this kinder, gentler Blake, and there’s a friction between us that has turned into the sweetest chemistry. He could be my salvation . . . or my downfall.
Blake: I haven’t always had Tiffany’s best interests at heart but I’m ready to make up for my sins. Besides, I can’t help admiring her: The girl’s a genuine survivor, tough and lean, with eyes of steel. But the more I get to know Tiffany, the more I want her. Every inch of her. Which means I’m about to make a bad situation a hell of a lot worse.
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