While there were some elements to enjoy in this book, I’m actually much more impressed that I got over halfway through the available books in this series before I got to one that I vaguely enjoyed rather than devoured.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that I found no chemistry between the characters of Nat and Rafael. Much of the friendship built between them occurs offscreen, so once Rafael broke down Nat’s “defenses,” it feels like they went straight to wanting sex. Without that chemistry, I found myself even skimming the sex scenes and wondering when I’d get back to the plot.
About halfway through the book, I realized what wasn’t working for me. Though I’ve never been on a professional television set, I have enough experience assisting film-makers that this book felt the least “realistic” in terms of how the industry works. Which meant that Nat and Rafael’s involvement ended up feeling less like an addition to the Bluewater Bay series and more like “Real Person Fanfic” of the actors and crew of the Wolf’s Landing television show. Well-written fanfic (and I certainly have nothing against that particular genre), but nothing I got attached to.
The good points of the book: Nat’s incredibly realistic family and family issues, especially the representation of the current opioid epidemic. Though the ending to that particular story arc did not result in a happily ever after, it was well executed and made me feel for Nat much more than at any point during his relationship with Rafael.
Rating: 3 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
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