Without a doubt the best one in the series so far.
Ben and Maddox have known each other for more than a decade. They are best friends, share a house and are on the same SEAL team.
Not wanting to risk their friendship as well as a conviction they don't want the same things in life keep both of them from acting on the attraction they have for each other.
Until their next mission goes tits up. The reminder how fragile life can be makes them take a closer look at what they want in life. Unfortunately, their life plans still don't quite mesh. Add to that Ben's ingrained fear that he will never be enough and that everyone leaves eventually, and all they can agree to initially is some kind of boyfriend/friends with benefits experiment - more than a little painful to watch.
And then there was a fallout. And there was making up. And all was fine once Ben finally realized that he really could trust Maddox to always have his back.
Maddox gave so much of himself to Ben, and for the first time, he really saw that for the gift it was.
Maddox didn't just give him the courage to be strong - he gave him the space to be vulnerable.
Unscripted Love is the first book in a spin-off series of the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries. And it went pretty much like the first book in Curl Up and Dye as far as the relationship part goes: One amazing guy chasing after a somewhat flighty one who runs hot and cold on him for most of the book. It drove me nuts then and it drove me nuts here.
And Unscripted Love didn't have a murder mystery to go along with the drama so I basically ended up feeling cheated. I had hoped for more, but I will probably still read the next one as there are some interesting characters waiting to get their story.
“Do you realize what kind of shitfit Grady’s going to have over this when this is all done?” Zane asked McCoy as they walked down the nondescript hallway of holding and interrogation rooms. “Oh, I’m looking forward to it,” McCoy said with relish. “I want pictures, Garrett. They’ll be great for the newsletter.”
At least he wasn‘t humming or whistling anymore. Or, God forbid, singing. Zane always knew there was trouble coming when Ty started making up his own words to “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Second re-read and this is just the kind of quote that gives me that warm feeling of ‘coming home’. I am crazy about these two.
We’ve heard about Jesse and Ian in the first books of the series. They are the mods of Kai’s Twitch channel. The two work well together but they have never met in real life. FallenCon changes that and things quickly get heated between them.
And then my problems with this book started; Ian is not using his real name online and Jesse flips his shit when he finds out that mod Cherrycakes is not a girl but instead a sexy male artist. Sure, Ian should probably have told him sooner that he is Cherrycakes, i.e. Jesse’s co-mod, but the whole thing made it seem as if Jesse had a problem with the concept of someone not wanting to show their true identity in an online world. I mean, really? That’s what people do. It’s called trying to stay safe!
Ian has apparently had some serious, nasty stuff happen to him as a child. He doesn’t trust people in the real world and uses different personas when entering that world to protect himself. His past experiences has led him to believe no one wants to see or know the real Ian. No one until Jesse. They start building something of an online relationship and both start opening up to each other.
And up comes my next issue with Jesse’s behaviour; he keeps pushing Ian to be himself. Telling him he doesn’t need to hide behind a different persona only to later on tell Ian he doesn’t need to keep the personas separate from his true self because they are part of his personality. I just didn’t get that part – is it a persona Ian can just drop if he chooses, or is it an integral part of his personality? Make up your mind, Jesse.
Quite possibly I just lack the knowledge of human psychology to follow here, but it sure did confuse and annoy me.
The ending, sweet as it was, was a little rushed to me. Ian seemed to overcome most of his issues rather suddenly.
All in all, I did like Ian and Jesse quite a lot but I couldn’t help focusing on the negatives so I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first ones in the series.
I get that most people find kids absolutely adorable and they may have a place in romance novels. But in this case it was too much for my taste. Abey and his sister Penny are the sweetest kids you can imagine and with what they’ve been through in their young lives, of course I wanted them to have a happy future and for the actual MCs Brock and Vinny to built a happy family around those kids. But there was too much focus on the children and Vinny’s legal battle for them. It was all CPS regulations for foster homes and legal procedures – mixed in with a bit of police work in Brock’s case – and definitely not enough romance. The children took over and Brock and Vinny building a relationship between the two of them was pushed to the back. A bit of a disappointment to me.
But then, I have never been equipped with much of a maternal instinct and have chosen not to have children of my own. If you are more of a ‘kids person’ than I am, this may be right up your alley.
Aftercare starts with Aayan showing up in Garrett’s office to hire him to defend his brother. Syed is accused of having beating his sub to death and with Garrett himself being a submissive, he brings an extra advantage to the table.
The attraction between them in instantaneous but they both have issues holding them back. Now, Garrett gets over his issue about dating a client’s brother quite easily. Aayan is another matter.
I have read many D/s-themed books, but never one where the Dom struggled the way Aayan does in Aftercare. He wants to dominate. He even wants to inflict pain and in Garrett he has met someone more than willing to be on the receiving end. But he fights his urges, unable to truly believe that it is possible to hurt someone without actually harming them. I get that he had a bad experience in the past but I still felt what happened back then had too big an influence on his current life. Considering he knows about both his brother’s and Garrett’s lifestyle and that Garrett is practically begging for pain – not to mention his own desires to provide that pain – I didn’t quite buy how the past should still carry such weight. But ok, it didn’t bother me too much.
While Garrett spends his days working on Syed’s case, he and Aayan have the evenings and nights together trying to find the common ground in their D/s relationship where they both get what they need. And it goes both ways; Aayan is trying to overcome his fear of really hurting Garrett in order to give him the pain he craves. I love how he works the whole spectrum between being all dominant wanting to flog his sub and being the caretaker who just wants to wrap Garrett up and protect him. And Garrett learns to love the quiet submission almost as much as the pain.
And although I didn't get the spanking I was hoping for (can't win them all), I did get something just as good...
He adored this man – his painstaking care, his overwrought sense of responsibility, the formal lilt of his accent, the rough demand of his hands. Adores his dry humor and the way he could make Garrett feel small and worthy of protection with a quirk of his eyebrow, loved the dirty words he spoke only in the heat of their passion, the preciseness of his lust.
Loved the feeling of his teeth, his cock, the weight of his perusal. And God, his belt.