I loved this book. It was unique in a certain way because even though there are tons of dating shows on TV, it's quite a change to read about one in a book. And it wasn't just about entertainment, though the dating show was just a means to an end for the characters to find back to each other. It just took a while for them to warm up which wasn't surprising after all, considering their pasts and current circumstances. It was highly entertaining and by the time when H and h were finally getting closer, I adored the characters and was swooning over Rafe. =P
I really liked the emotional aspect and that the characters had to work to find to each other again as there was no possibility to pick up where they’d left off, because so much had happened in between.
For no apparent reason did I not expect for the dating show to run through the entire book, however, it turned out pretty amazing actually, although it was a slow burn and went at a rather leisurely pace.
Rafe was preparing for the fight he's been waiting for a long time, but when a motorcycle accident forces him to slow down on his training, his manager persuades him to participate in a dating show. After all, it can't be that bad to have a bunch of beautiful women flirt with him and compete for him. What he didn't expect though, is to come face to face with the woman who left him six years ago. The one he went to jail for and never thought to see again. This show became a lot more irritating with her appearance. How the hell will he get through the next few weeks?
'I'd know her anywhere, any time, even after six years. At the sight of her, the floor drops out from under me and ice water fills my stomach. Pain hits my chest like a two-thousand-pound wrecking ball.'Thoughts:
The characters were likeable and the story realistically and very well written; it was hard to put the book down.
I absolutely loved all the details we got about Rafe's passion MMA. I’m not one for any kind of violent sport, but felt oddly fascinated by it in this book.
Rafe was a fighter and physically very tough, but his heart still ached because of Lily. She hurt him and broke his heart which made him even more wary about opening up to other people.
'The only girl I ever had a real relationship with, a monogamous relationship, is here. The only girl I ever let hurt me. And she broke me, badly.'I rooted for Rafe although sometimes I wanted to give him a push to his luck, but I understood why he was guarded and I was thankful that he got his time to heal and wasn't rushed into anything by the author.
'With his stance, his personality, his bulging muscle, he's like a god. A very angry god. His dark eyes scan the line of woman and stop on me. I stare right back at his cold eyes like we're strangers. Because we are now. We're nothing to each other. Except that, once upon a long fucking time ago, we were everything to each other.'I really enjoyed this book a lot despite its slow pace. It felt like watching a dating show in slow motion but maybe that was just because I read rather slowly.
In such an environment it kind of had to be expected for Rafe to have fun with other women and this was something I usually do not like in a romance book. I know there’s always a past with other people but as soon as the heroine comes back in the picture, there shouldn’t be another woman. I don’t want to give anything away and won’t tell you if something happened in the book or not, it’s just that the thought alone that there could be someone else during this show was frustrating and had me on the edge every time he was near another contestant.
Honestly, I was no fan of Lily for a long while at first because it felt like she wanted Rafe back because of his fame and money. She was so desperate for him and it felt so off, but I warmed up to her later on.
I really liked the secondary characters though. They all added a lot to the story, and not just the contestants but also Quentin, Rafe's manager.
This book is highly recommended not only because it’s an entertaining up-to-date romance and the best alternative to watching TV =)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars