Brothers Jude and Ryan McAllister are inseparable. When Jude stepped in to raise Ryan after the death of their mother, it became the two of them against the world. But the scars it left were bone-deep. Then Lizzie Price comes along.
Lizzie hopes Ryan’s kindness can help heal her wounds from a toxic relationship. But when she meets Jude, their powerful attraction makes him difficult to resist. The problem is, Lizzie doesn’t realize Jude and Ryan are brothers, and they don’t know they’re falling for the same girl.
By the time the truth comes out, everyone is in too deep. Ryan is in love, Jude is in denial, and Lizzie wants both brothers. All of them agree that no one deserves to get hurt. But love and desire have a way of testing even the strongest bonds.
I cannot believe this book is a debut work because it is an absolute triumph and Victoria writes like a seasoned pro. I am blown away by the complex characterization, witty prose, intense emotional connection, and the overall exemplary execution of this story.
I hope to God we don’t have to wait too long for the next book because I am already DYING to read it, especially after that little sneak peek we were given at the back of this book. I’m also really happy to read that the other brother is getting a book too because I would’ve been upset if there was no potential for him to get a HEA.
I don’t like giving away spoilers in my reviews so I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free even though it’s quite difficult to talk about the relationships without giving anything away.
Lizzie has relocated to start afresh after a toxic relationship that almost destroyed her. Having grown up in a houseful of brothers, she needs to forge her own path in life and start making plans for her future. She is naturally wary of boys after her most recent experience but has had a little crush on Ryan, a boy with a stutter who is in one of her classes. She plucks up the courage to ask him to tutor her as a way of starting something with him.
As this happens, she meets Jude on a night out with her girlfriends. Jude is hot with a player rep and he’s currently bedding one of her friends. It’s immediately obvious that Jude and Lizzy share an intense chemistry but she won’t give him the time of day. After a steamy dance, they agree to stay away from one another because he can’t give her what she wants and she doesn’t want to take a risk that he might change his mind because she can’t afford to get hurt again. So they walk away from one another.
Lizzie’s relationship with Ryan is hotting up and she really likes him. He is hot, sweet, and adorable and the type of nice guy you have no hesitation in bringing home to meet the folks.
She discovers he is Jude’s brother when she wanders into Jude in the kitchen of his house in the middle of the night. This is the part where everything turns extremely messy and I’d love to delve into it but, as I said, I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone.
The three main characters were expertly crafted with flaws and weaknesses that were gradually revealed. The inner dynamics of this tangled relationship were fraught with delicious tension and conflict that had my heart racing and my stomach tied into knots. I knew how I wanted it to end, had a strong sense of how it was going to end, and I could scarcely read it in parts because I was so caught up in the beautiful torture, but I adored every single page and I really didn’t want the story to be over by the end.
Jude and Lizzie were both very selfless people who cared deeply about Ryan. Ryan was secure in Lizzie’s love because Jude did such an admirable job of raising him after his mother and uncle died. My heart broke for Jude – he was always willing to sacrifice his own happiness for his brother, even if it was killing him on the inside. Lizzie was the only person who seemed to be able to get through to him, to connect to him in a way he never even knew he wanted, but he couldn’t have her.
Lizzie, for her part, wanted to do the right thing but it was so hard. I love how the author explored the notion of being able to love more than one person at the same time. It’s never happened to me but I’ve always believed it possible. The fact that the two boys in this love triangle were brothers only added to the story. It felt so impossibly tragic at times and although my heart lapped up all the angsty-drama, I worried it would all be too much.
The ending did kinda go as I expected but it was heartwarming because I wanted that brother to reach that conclusion, to do the right thing by his brother, even though it was hurting him. Bravo.
My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint) is that when they finally get their act together (after they leave the nightclub) the scene is completely skipped over and we are given a recap by Lizzie the next morning. OMG! I was waiting the entire book for that! That was a little disappointing but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that this was an utterly addictive read. I literally CANNOT WAIT to read the next two books.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book as supplied by the publishers via Netgalley. All the opinions expressed are my own.