This novella was a fun, quick read with striking characters that I devoured in one sitting. I appreciated that it didn’t follow the traditional romance genre formula, because there was no “meet-cute.” No slow burn between characters as knowledge and attraction deepen. Instead, this was the metaphorical final five minutes of the movie as two characters who have loved each other for a lifetime finally get their acts together.
Gregg fully develops the characters of Buck and Ari (and secondary characters such as little brother Charlie and coffee shop owner Tori) in such a short space that I feel like I just read a much longer novel. This includes moments from their childhood that were woven in naturally. Though both Ari and Buck are still in their early twenties, and young enough to make dumb mistakes, I never rolled my eyes or felt that the moments between them were too angst-ridden. At the same time, even though each of them had devastating personal histories, Gregg makes the characters shaped by these histories rather than weighed down by them.
Though some elements of the plot not related to the interplay between Buck and Ari received short shrift at the end, I was more than satisfied with the conclusion as a moment when the future looks bright. I hope to see more of these characters as my journey through Bluewater Bay progresses.