Title: Feels Like the First Time
Author: Marina Adair
Series: Destiny Bay #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 25th April
What’s wrong with a little white lie?
There are a lot of things Ali Marshal doesn’t do: pink anything, a day without chocolate, and Hawk, her sister’s ex-husband. Sure, he’s a sexy former NHL star who can make her pulse pound with just a wink. But he belonged to Bridget first. And no matter how long she’s had a crush on him, how great he’s always been to her dad, or that her sister is engaged to someone else now and Ali needs a date to their engagement party, she can’t give in to temptation. Can she?
It’s been years since his disastrous marriage crashed and burned, and Bradley Hawk has finally moved on. So when Bridget blows back into town with her new fiancé, throwing the engagement party of the year, he could care less . . . until Ali tells one little lie that lands him smack dab in a fake relationship. After one promise to be Ali’s date and two of the hottest kisses he’s ever had, Hawk can’t deny how much he wants her. But what happens when this fauxmance starts to feel very, very real?
Source: ARC from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley
I make no secret of my love for Marina Adair’s books, and even though I’m always a bit iffy on romances involving sibling exes and wasn’t overly enamored with the first book in this series, I was still excited to read this one. Hawk and Ali are definitely worth reading about and their romance is lovely beneath all the drama. Of which there is a lot. And that’s kind of what spoiled this a little for me.
Because while Hawk’s marriage to Bridget might have ended badly and not always been that great, they were married for five years. Five years! I expected the marriage to be something short and bitter and obviously a mistake that’s better best forgotten, but Hawk still has real feelings for Bridget – or at least thinks he does – for a good chunk of this book and, despite her engagement, it’s obvious Bridget has no intention of loosening her hold on him. Even though she’s the one who wrecked their marriage.
I was so confused about Bridget. She’s selfish and careless and knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to both Ali and Hawk, yet they both love her. They say they see her faults, but they also continuously ignore them because it’s just the way she is. Nope. Plus, Ali’s dad makes it worse. It’s not a compromise if only one person is always giving in. The more the story tried to make me feel sympathy for Bridget, the less and less patience I had with her stunts. She’s awful and should have been called out on her behaviour, not petted and cosseted and supported. She needs to grow up. (As does Ali’s dad, to a certain extent.)
Sadly, Bridget completely overshadowed the rest of the book. Which was pretty much necessary, because without her there is absolutely no reason why Hawk and Ali don’t get together in chapter one and live happily ever after forever and ever, the end. Having said that, I was a little confused about their relationship. They were supposedly friends before Hawk ever met Bridget and were possibly moving towards something more – in fact Ali at one point says he was her best friend – yet we learn pretty much nothing about their early friendship. I can’t even see how it came about, given their age difference. It felt like another bit of manufactured drama to explain why Ali never trusted relationships – because she broke her heart over Hawk when they were kids and he never even knew. Since they don’t even discuss it, this felt either utterly underused or completely superfluous.
Which is a massive shame. I would have loved to have read more about the deeper connection between these two. It’s obvious they’re great friends and know each other better than pretty much anywhere else. They have good chemistry and the way Hawk pampers Ali is downright adorable. They’re wonderful together and I loved the moments when it was just the two of them. Which are sadly few and far between, because even when they’re together the spectre of Bridget often looms large.
I was also annoyed at the way the book kept leading up to big showdown moments – the first family dinner, the “game” at the engagement party, Ali’s interview – and then jumped forward to the next day, or a few days later, leaving only sketchy recaps. For a book that’s full of family drama, it was strangely lacking in actual dramatics at times.
So overall, while I enjoyed this book and think it was a solid read with a lovely friends-to-lovers romance under the family drama, in terms of Adair’s work, it wasn’t a favourite. I blame Bridget.
Feels Like the First Time is out April 25th.
Visit Marina Adair for more details.