Release Date: Jul 14, 2020
Series: Romancing Manhattan
Heat Level: Sensual/Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
After All is the third and final book in Kristen Proby’s Romancing Manhattan series. In this final book we finally get the story of Carter Shaw, a widower that’s had to hold down a career as an attorney while balancing his role as a single parent. Through it all he’s had the support of his assistant Nora, who picks up the slack of caring for Carter’s daughter Gabby when necessary. After being stranded together during a snowstorm, feelings and attraction begin to emerge between this attorney and his assistant. Could combining business and pleasure work out for these two?
Readers of the series will know Carter as the husband to Darcy who has passed away due to cancer. Carter has been accepted into the family as one of their own and never seemed like an outsider in previous books. I was excited to read his love story since he was such a tragic figure to me for the whole series. I like that Carter is genuinely trying to be a good dad and hold down his job, but just can’t seem to keep it all together. This felt so relatable to me as a parent and is definitely how many of us working parents feel as we struggle to balance it all. Nora is a recent divorce with some trust issues, which were completely understandable. I loved how she cared for Gabby and supported the girl not out of obligation but out of a true love for her.
The lead up to these two getting together and being snowed in it’s probably one of my favorite tropes. I always swoon for forced proximity especially with a snowy backdrop. Proby has written some awesome sexual tension in previous books, but the push/pull between Carter and Nora may become my personal favorite dynamic. I loved that these two were older adults, that felt like real people with real concerns and issues. They didn’t feel like vapid children having meaningless sex. Both Carter and Nora have a lot of emotional baggage to unpack if they want their happily ever after, and I felt like Proby did a good job of giving them the space to do that.
In general I usually steer away from books with kids in them because a lot of authors struggle to write children in a convincing way. Proby does a good job here with Gabby, and the issues she struggles with feel grounded in reality. I like that Nora and Gabby had their own relationship separate from Carter. That being said it does still frustrate me in romance novels when we spend a lot of time talking and worrying about the kid in the book because it takes time away from the romance.
Even though this book is part of a series and the other characters in previous books make appearances Proby manages to write this story in a way that it can be enjoyed on its own. I would suggest the other books in this series since I have enjoyed them quite a bit, and it only added to my enjoyment of this book. Proby always manages to write contemporary romances that have enough angst, heart, and steam to keep me engaged and this book was no different. Fans of her previous work or of authors like Lauren Blakely, Melanie Harlow, or Vi Keeland will enjoy this book.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review all opinions are my own.
Carter Shaw is widower with a pre-teen that he is trying to control. His assistant, Nora, more than helps him out. He couldn’t even imagine life without her. For months, he has been trying to hide the fact that he is attracted to her.
Nora doesn’t look at Carter like anything but her boss until an almost kiss occurs and she can’t stop thinking about him. When they are stranded together in the office one night, they learn they have a lot in common. Nora agrees to date Carter and things get complicated.
After All is a bit sugary for my liking but it tickled my romantic side so I found myself reading this in one sitting. This is the last book in the series but it is a true standalone. I didn’t feel lost while reading the book but I do believe that reading the other books in the series would have added a bit more enjoyment. I do look forward to going back to read the other books in the series.
Carter is so out of his element when it comes to dating. His family has to step in to give him guidance when it comes to dating Nora. I found it adorable that he didn’t know how to navigate that world.
While I did enjoy the overall story, I felt the drama at the end was merely manufactured to give some sort of angst but it was so minor I kind of wished the author didn’t even bother. For example, I’m not sure why Gabby’s behavior suddenly shifted so quickly. Her justification is poor and it came out of left field. Then there’s the office drama which is obviously from the first scene. If everyone knew there was an issue, why didn’t they stop it earlier?
Overall, this book is more on the sweet side and I would definitely recommend it for fans who don’t mind a sugary contemporary romance.