I received this book for free from NetGalley, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Copper Ridge #6
Published by HQN on June 28, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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Can the golden boy of Copper Ridge, Oregon, get a second chance at happy-ever-after?
Ranching heir Colton West knew his wedding would be the talk of the town. But he didn’t expect to get left at the altar—or to escape on the next flight to Vegas with Lydia Carpenter, the woman who gets under his skin like no one else. The only thing crazier than honeymooning with Lydia is waking up married to her. So why does he find himself entertaining his new wife’s desire to stay married—and fantasizing about a real wedding night?
As Copper Ridge’s prospective mayor, Lydia can’t risk a divorce scandal so close to election time. But pretending to be blissfully in love with her new husband is more confusing than she’d thought. For a man who’s always rubbed her the wrong way, Colton suddenly seems to know exactly what to do with his hands. And his lips. Now Lydia’s wildest mistake could turn out to be her luckiest move, if they’re both willing to take the ultimate gamble…
Normally I don’t start having “which book do I love more” debates until a series hits the double digits in installments. So while I anticipated that Tough Luck Hero, book 6 in Maisey Yates’ Copper Ridge small town contemporary romance series, would be a solid read, I didn’t expect it to launch into battle with Brokedown Cowboy for the top spot in my readerly affections as far as this series go. But heck if I didn’t fall in love right alongside the characters in this book!
The story starts out like a Katy Perry-Carrie Underwood mashup, considering the two main characters wake up married in Vegas, with no clue as to how exactly that happened. And a speedy dissolution of their hasty marriage is quickly taken off the table, thanks to a couple of complications: one being that Colton is the hometown king trying to hold his family together, and the second being that Lydia is the upstart running for election in a conservative little seaside town against the long-unopposed incumbent mayor.
I had some immediate concerns about this story when it was introduced. The first was that the idea of Colton marrying Lydia on the rebound after being left at the altar would be hard to dispel and would cast a shadow over any affection that might develop later. The second was that the marry-in-haste-repent-in-leisure-then-fall-in-love-amid-plans-of-divorce trope was done, done, and done. The second was that a couple of characters who one day woke up married also now only woke up attracted to each other, which had me worried that the attraction would seem forced.
I wasn’t a handful of chapters into Tough Luck Hero when all these issues were discarded in the face of the shiningly honest, frequently funny, and occasionally raw romance that emerged between Colton and Lydia. Lest I forget to mention it, this read is steamier than fresh-cooked apple pie, and yet also at its heart, just as wholesome.
But I need to stop talking about food now, especially since this book had me hunting up recipes so I could make my own “revenge” zucchini bread, even if I didn’t have anything to avenge. Back to the story, though, the chemistry between Colton and Lydia really builds over the course of the first half of the novel.
Their passion is like a potion held at boiling point for long enough that when the couple finally comes together, it’s explosive. It’s not just that they both have stupendous orgasms, it’s like the whole book has one—it’s that cathartic. Then this scene of combustive intimacy is followed by awkwardness and denial and the whole process starts up again. If this book were a symphony, I would say that it rose to crescendo at that point. And I don’t know the word for the quiet that comes after that point, which grows with as much tension as what came before but with more urgency, because now we know the highs and it makes the lows that much more sonorous.
It could be argued that there was a touch of deus ex machina toward the end of the book, and I understand why it had to happen as far as the series was concerned. But what made any issues with this development negligible was the fact that instead of taking this and running with it, the author took her characters on a journey to truth and redemption regardless of it. And that’s something I had to admire.
Tough Luck Hero is a masterpiece of feels. What’s better is that both the hero and the heroine grow as characters, not because they have fundamentally changed their personalities or who they are in any real sense of the word, but because they have changed their worldviews and it helps them become the best versions of themselves. That was such a wonderful gift from the author to her readers that I ended the book with a smile on my face and a hunger in my belly for more of this series.
Feel Factor Rating:
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