Release Date: Jan 1, 2020
Heat Level: Sensual
My first Clayborn book and while it turned out to be a decent story it took a bit to hook me in. I usually don’t give books longer than a couple chapters, but I soldiered through.
What through me off about this book? The heroine. Meg Mackworth is a hand-lettering artist. Yep, I guess it’s a thing and could see where people with money would get custom journals, invitations, etc. She’s got a ton of baggage, including putting secret messages into some of her work… sometimes. She’s also super horrible at dealing with confrontation. She’s almost a bit of an unreliable narrator, holding parts of herself back from the reader as much as the people around her. It’s quite genius from a writing prospective, but not so much from the reader one. Since this story is told completely from her point of view it gets a little more frustrating.
Which left me in the lurch when it came to the hero, Reid. He’s a math guy, a math genius to be honest. With a knack for picking out patterns and issues in a numbers world, he stumbles upon Meg’s secret and confronts her about it. Since the hidden message was in his wedding program, the wedding that got cancelled. This hero was different, in a big way. He’s not over the top, very understated… outside of the heroine constantly describing him as hot. Even though there are also a million descriptions of what he wears, I honestly could never form a picture of Reid in my head. Just realized that, and as a reader who likes to be fully involved in my imagining not picturing the hero is not a good thing. Final thought on Reid, not alpha, more beta, and often awkward.
The plot itself is one-part romance, two parts women’s fiction. The heroine has a lot of growth and different challenges she must face to reach the end goal. There’s a bit of an enemies to lover’s trope at the start, but that quickly evolves. Also, this story is a slow burn, not sure how I keep selecting books with the slowest developing romances, but I do. As for the letters and lettering parts of the story… I found them boring. Sorry, but I am not interested in how letters are made or how to draw them. It’s not a fascinating topic for me.
Overall, I eventually became invested in Meg, seeing her growth and watching her relationship with Reid turn into a fledgling friendship to love. That’s what kept me turning the pages, though part of the journey made me wanted to skim parts. If you really enjoy Kristen Higgins or Susan Wiggs this book might be the one for you.