First book 3 stars, second 2 stars and then this one comes along and gets one star only because I can't rate it any lower, honestly I'm a little afraid of reading Parker's story now. How much worse can this get?
I'm a big NR fan but that doesn't mean I will always love what she writes. Obviously.
Where do I even start?
With the bitchy heroine?
The ridiculous "conflict" in this book?
The lack of chemistry and communication?
The abusive relationship?
Oh I know, let's start by pointing out all the manipulative fuckery that happened in this and the last book, I feel so bad for the poor men in this story (maybe with the exception of Carter, who has a decent relationship with Mac, hence the three stars for book one).
These poor guys are treated like crap, but it's so very subtle it's easy (until the big blow-up) to overlook. This goes especially for Del, and the fact that it somehow ends up being his fault, even if he didn't do ANYTHING wrong is maddening. Remember what happened to poor Jack in the last book? How he had to take the blame for Emmaline's outburst/tantrum and was punished for it? Then he pretty much had to ask her to marry him to fix it. Well, guess what happens in this book as well?
I hate so much that these guys keep happily taking the blame for their S.O.'s insecurities and mood swings. The women in these books like blabbing about equality and being perfectly capable of owning to their emotions yet they do anything BUT; and their way to feel empowered is to walk all over the guys in their lives and then act all hurt when they don't immediately bend to their will.
STOP. NO. THIS ISN'T EMPOWERING TO WOMEN. IT'S NOT ALWAYS THE MAN'S FAULT WHEN A WOMAN GETS HER FEELINGS HURT, ESPECIALLY WHEN INSTEAD OF TALKING TO HIM, COMMUNICATING HER FEARS AND EXPECTATIONS, SHE KEEPS IT ALL BOTTLED UP AND SHARES HER FEELINGS ONLY WITH HER FRIENDS, WHO AREN'T, BTW, ALLOWED TO EVEN GIVE THE GUY A HINT. THEN SHE HAS THE GALL TO LASH OUT AND EXPECT THE POOR GUY TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S ON HER MIND.
I absolutely detested Laurel. By the end of the book I had killed her several times over in my mind. Laurel is the biggest bitch of a heroine I’ve ever read in a NR book.
Basically, Laurel has always had this crush on Del. She hates that Del treats her like a sister and gives him grief for it at the beginning of the book by acting like a preschooler and snapping at him every chance she gets. When she finally makes a move and he responds she suddenly acts hard to get and makes up all these BS excuses for why it wouldn't work (that's her immediate reaction at least).
She was an asshole throughout most of the book. She maybe acted like a decent person for perhaps a couple of chapters before going into full bitch, psycho mode towards the end of the book. She literally lashed out at Del for not being able to read her fucking mind, for trying to COMMUNICATE with her. HOW DARE HE NOT KNOW WHAT I'M THINKING AND FEELING WITH JUST A SINGLE LOOK? Do you actually want us to talk like normal adults? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE?? THIS ISN'T LOVE!!!
Honestly, what a sweet man like Del sees in Laurel is beyond me.
She's aggressive, moody, insecure and a jerk. But apparently all of this translates to "strong, independent woman who can stand up for herself" to him. So it's okay. Somehow. Except it's not.
The conflict of the book is Laurel being an insecure baby and caring way too much about what complete strangers think of her and Del's relationship. That's it. She's actually both the heroine and antagonist of the book as she spends her time making shit up in her mind and treating Del like crap to make herself feel better. Then in the end he has to apologize for it.
The last few pages of the book had me wanting to chuck my Kindle at the wall. The dialogue was abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous, I will just give you some quotes so you can judge for yourself.
So this conversation happens. (TELL ME DEL IS BEING UNREASONABLE AND POOR LAUREL IS THE VICTIM HERE) "You've said this has to be equal ground, but it can't be if you don't tell me what you want, what you need, what you're feeling"
"How can you not know?" she demanded
"Because you don't tell me"
"Tell you? All this time. You can look at me, touch me, be with me, and not know?
"Didn't I just tell you I was happy? What I need and want? If I have to tell you, give you a damn list, then it's not what I need and want."
Yeah, I wasn't exaggerating.
The ending made me so mad because Del tries to have a conversation with Laurel but she ends up making it more of a monologue (much like Emma did with Jack), she doesn't give him a chance to reply and runs off, telling him to leave her alone. We then get a similar scene to Emma's sob fest from book two after "breaking up" with Jack. Of course, Del, much as Jack, didn't have the chance to get a word in, so he doesn't know they're basically broken up in Laurel's mind. He then drives all night to get his mother's ring and ends up proposing, making everything instantly right. Because proposals magically solve deep-rooted insecurities and make abusive relationships okay.
I think I'll give it a couple of months before I read the next one, if at all.