Title: Fool For You
Author: Rina Gray
Series: Crush on You #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 18th July
Sports journalist Melanie Foster has achieved most of her goals: Bomb.com job—check. Tomboy-to-smoking-hottie makeover—check. Convince her best friend, Damien Richards, to slide a ring on her finger and father her two-point-five kids—not so much. When she activates Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, she never imagines her BFF already has plans to stroll down the wedding aisle with another woman.
Damien’s in the middle of crisis mode. The non-profit for young athletes at which he volunteers is in financial trouble. He’ll pull out all the stops to rescue the organization that saved his life after his career-ending injury—even if it means sacrificing his personal happiness.
But when he finally wakes up to love and the very non-brotherly feelings he’s long held for Mel, it just might be too late. Damien must convince her that he’s worth the risk and turn the tables to show her he’s the one ready to be a fool for love.
Source: ARC from Crimson Romance via NetGalley
For the most part I really enjoyed this friends-to-lovers romance. I wasn’t sure at first, because I’m not the biggest fan of a woman breaking up a relationship essentially because she fell in love with the hero first. However, Mel’s a sports journalist and Damien sounded interesting, so I thought I’d take the risk anyway.
So glad I did, because I actually really liked Mel. Yes, she loves Damien, yes, she’s biased when it comes to his fiancée, but for the most part she’s smart and confident and fully capable of handling herself and her life. Admittedly, her relationship with Damien is helped out immeasurably by the one-dimensional fiancée, who is clearly no good for the hero, but at least Mel doesn’t go out of her way to split them up, she’s just there, being her awesome self and waiting for Damien to open his stupid eyes.
And he is stupid. In fact, there were times when I wondered what Mel saw in him at all. Here’s this woman who he flat out adores, who is perfect for him in every way and he has incredible chemistry with… but he’s going to marry someone else. The way he treats Mel, it’s so damn obvious, even to him, how he feels, but he persists with being dumb, just because… To be honest he has no good reason, because the things that elbowed him into the engagement don’t really play a part in any of this.
That’s where some of my enjoyment wavered. I really liked Mel, I liked when she and Damien were together, just the two of them, and I loved both of their careers and life-goals. But despite a strong start, Mel’s career fades into the background, while Damien’s charity work is basically forgotten until right at the end when all the loose ends need to be tied up. I loved both of these aspects of their characters and would have loved more of them throughout, just to keep the depth going and make them about so much more than their tangled love life.
Urgh, the way that ends too… I’m not touching that with a barge pole. Everything that happens after the time break was just too much. Damien handles it all terribly, Mel behaves with dignity, until suddenly she doesn’t and turns into a whiny brat when actually, for once, Damien did a good thing. The final ending is pretty cute, though.
So my feelings for this book are somewhat mixed, but mostly positive. If you’re looking for a fun, easy contemporary with a friends-to-lovers theme, and don’t mind the occasionally one-dimensional prop character to stop things getting too out of hand, then give this a go. It was undemanding and enjoyable and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author – especially since I need to know more about Mel’s best friend and her pranks.
Fool for You is out July 18th!
Visit Rina Gray for more details.