Sometimes you just can’t resist playing with fire . . .
By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country’s most powerful senator, he’ll have to keep his eye on the prize. That’s easier said than done when he meets the senator’s daughter, who’s wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.
Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron’s presence reminds her of a past she’d rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it’s the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it’s because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle . . .
Another fiery, funny, heart-warming story of family, friendship, and love that has all the feels.
The Clarkson’s beloved mother has passed on and she left a journal/letter asking them to go on a road trip to honor her memory. Except, it’s much more than that. Miriam realized her children were all struggling in their own ways, that they were distant from one another, and they desperately needed an excuse to bond and find their path in life. So, she’s stepped in from the grave. Gotta love a ghostly meddling mother!
In the first book in this great series, Rita finds her path and her soulmate, so in this instalment, we have three Clarksons remaining – Aaron, Belmont, and Peggy. Peggy’s friend Sage (and somewhat love interest for Belmont) is still along for the ride.
I was really excited to read this book after enjoying book one and already harboring a secret crush on Aaron. Aaron is the blunt, emotionless, practical organizer of the bunch. He enjoys playing that role but feels unfulfilled. He is trying to get his political career back on track so he asks his siblings to detour to Iowa so he can try and wangle a new position with a presidential candidate.
This is how he ends up crossing paths with Grace Pendleton – said candidate’s vivacious and spunky daughter. Grace has a hidden past, and her parents manipulate her, deliberately keeping her in the background, and trying to force her to comply by deploying devious underhanded methods. It made me sick how her father was prepared to throw her to the wolves to further his own political career.
Aaron and Grace are kindred spirits and they quickly form a bond, helped along by the explosive chemistry they share. They just get each other and I loved watching their relationship develop. It’s quite angsty and dramatic and involves lots of toing and froing, but that’s one of my fav relationship tropes.
Although this is a light-hearted read, there are some powerful messages in the story all the same. One of the things that really resonated with me, is how one off-hand comment from a parent can shape a child’s life. Aaron is fixated on something his dad said to him one time, and it is how he has measured himself his whole life. It’s damaged his relationship with his siblings, most notably Belmont, and has sabotaged any chance of finding true love. As a parent, that has really made me stop and think long and hard about the level of responsibility I have towards my own children in that regard. How every little thing I say, whether it seems flippant or irrelevant, may be construed by my children. It makes me want to be more cautious of what I say and how I say it, because if I was Aaron’s dad and I knew how that one remark, that one situation, would derail his future, I’d want a time machine to go back and do it all over completely differently. I like books that make me think introspectively, and this one gets extra bonus points for that.
The writing is fab, pace is perfect, and the character development was great.
Overall this was a great read. I love the premise of this series and I look forward to reading Peggy’s story next.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.