By | February 8, 2019

Once upon a time, there was this pampered rich girl who was kind of full of herself. She really only cared about appearances and hiding all her dark, ugly secrets under the guise of an opinionated snob. But then Eva Mercer got pregnant, shot by a psycho, and kicked out of the only home she knew. Now she’s broke, unemployed, and has to start anew with a newborn to raise. But how?
On the other side of town, sexy, tattooed orphan, Patrick Ryan, can’t get a break. He’s out on parole for defending the last damsel in distress while trying to help her support her child, but all he wants is to find his one true love. He knows this woman by scent, smile, and laugh, but he’s never actually met her. He doesn’t even know her name. He just knows she’s the key to fixing everything.
One kind of hero can save you from physical harm. Another can rescue you from a different kind of doom. To reach their dreams, Eva and Pick can save each other. But first, they must open their hearts and learn how to trust.

This is my first book from Linda Kage, and I’m sad to say it wasn’t really a winner for me. I adored the hero of this book though, and I do think he’s a good enough of a reason to read this book, but because everything else – from the convoluted, overdramatic plot to the romantic connection I didn’t really feel or get – didn’t work for me I honestly can’t bring myself to rate this book even 3 stars. For me, this is one of the books where it starts off REALLY good, but by the time I got to the end I was docking stars left and right and just wanted the book to be over already.
The first 20% of this book was a solid 5 star read for me, and I was so giddy thinking I found another winner. The hero Pick is an orphan who’s got a heart of gold, but has no sense of direction in his life. At this point, he’s eerily given a glimpse into his future, a future where he sees himself happy with kids and a wife he calls Tinker Bell. This vision gives him the motivation he needs to live life and search for this girl so he can finally have the happily-ever-after he’s always wanted.
“I wanted it so damn bad I could taste it. I wanted that future and happily-ever-after. And if I never found that girl, if I never found even a portion of those glimpses, the disappointment would probably kill me.�?
It was a strange beginning, but it gave the story a fairy-tale spin that was quite unique and atypical and I wanted to see where it would lead. Fast forward ten years later where Pick now works at a bar with his friends, still the softie like he was back then but he’s had no luck in finding his ‘Tink.’ To protect his childhood friend Tristy who’s a druggie and her baby, he marries her to give her life insurance. But then…wonders never cease because the day he marries Tristy he finds his Tink, the heroine Eva Mercer, who’s pregnant and escaped from her toxic family.
“If fate had really labeled Eva Mercer as my soul mate, then why did we come from worlds so far apart it was frankly a miracle we’d ever crossed paths?�?
At first I was really with the whole fate and soulmate idea, and it actually touched a hopeless romantic nerve in me I never thought I had. But then, it just kept dragging and dragging and there were two main things that kept me from believing in Eva and Pick’s romantic connection. One was that he kept making Tink remarks and alluding to the vision he’d seen, so often times I wondered if he was falling in love with his fairytale Tink or the real Eva Mercer.
Another thing was that there was SO MUCH SIDE CHARACTER DRAMA it took up the first half of the book and left me wondering where the romance was. At first I really enjoyed seeing the side characters show up because it gave me some background info since I hadn’t read the first 2 books, but it got to the point where they completely overshadowed Eva and Pick. I actually thought about putting this book down and jumping in Mason and Reese’s story since I wanted to know more about his gigolo background and also Noel and Aspen’s story because of the student/teacher dynamic. It’s a serious problem when I’m more interested in the side characters than the main characters.
Even with all that going on, I still liked the book more than I disliked it and continued on hoping there’d be a bigger focus on Eva and Pick in the last half of the book and for a couple of chapters there was. But then I was so disheartened to read more drama resurfacing. Here’s a brief list that doesn’t even include all of it:
1. Tristy drama
2. Parental rights over Tristy’s baby
3. Eva’s psycho ex-boyfriend (this was supposed to be tied up but apparently not)
4. Eva’s toxic family (this was supposed to be tied up but apparently not)
5. Side character Mason’s past showing up AGAIN (this was supposed to be tied up but apparently not)
6. Drama blowout at Pick’s bar, combined with Eva’s dad and a woman from Mason’s past
Please…give me a break.
It just seemed like anything that could possibly go wrong in the world had a spotlight in this book and I mean…is that necessary? Rape, abuse, drugs, violence, suicide, etc…and more are all heavy themes in the story and when you combine that with the author’s flair for drama and then the side characters who completely overshadowed Pick and Eva, where was the romance?! I bookmarked the place where there was finally Pick and Eva alone time by the way, and you want to know where that spot is? At the 70% mark. Seriously…I honestly can’t fathom their romantic connection, nor was I even close to being impressed with the over-the-top storyline.
Prior to writing out this review, I thought I dug up enough positives to give this at least a 3 star rating, because believe me, I TRIED. But as you can probably tell, the more I wrote this review, the more aggravated and annoyed I got and I had to bump down the rating. When I rate a book, I take the whole story in consideration – plot, characters, writing, etc…and even though the hero was amazing and the fairytale twist at the beginning fascinating, those two positives just aren’t enough for me to give this book even a 3 star rating. However, there are many readers who enjoyed this book so don’t let my one not-so-glowing review sway you from reading this book. I just simply didn’t love it like everyone else did…and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Rating: 2.5 stars!