This post contains reviews of all the books in the Room For Love series:
- Reckless (Book 1)
- Heartless (Book 2)
- Faultless (Book 3)
- Fearless (Book 4)
- Limitless (Book 5)
- A Very Messy Motel Brothers Wedding (Book 5.5)
Reckless (Book 1)
Age gap/my best friend’s father romances aren’t my go-to fare, but I was eager to read the series connected to Lindsey’s On the Market books. This series gives the background context of some of the relationships seen in that series, and this particular book is the “origin story” of the Motel brothers coming to Cherry Creek. Despite the age gap, Cameron is over age 18, and the consent is explicit in all encounters. It is also clear that Luke is not a strange stand-in for a father figure, nor does Cameron have any interest in one.
The level of kink in this book did surprise me. The lack of communication between Luke and Cameron about that aspect of their relationship was my biggest disappointment in this story, even as it was clear that the dynamic they created worked well for both characters. A lovely surprise twist in the storytelling is that Luke, the older partner, experiences the most dramatic change through his character arc. However, it is also clear that Cameron is young enough that his life outlook hasn’t quite solidified. Luke figures out that what the couple needs and wants is not necessarily the same, and it is also Luke who decides to make changes so that those needs and wants can align for their happily ever after.
I’m excited for the next book in this series, which will feature the most intriguing relationship in Cherry Creek—James and Levi. As much as I enjoyed reading about Cameron, Luke, and the Motels arriving in town, part of me still views this book as the necessary background to getting more Levi and James in my life.
Heartless (Book 2)
I’ve been fascinated with James and Levi’s characters since getting glimpses of them through the On the Market series by E.M. Lindsey, then learning more about James in the previous book in this series. Considering the characters have a love-hate relationship with each other, I figured I’d either love or hate their own love story. Spoiler alert: I loved it.
Both characters are practically the literal definition of “a chip on their shoulders the size of boulders,” and perhaps it is because they immediately see such kindred spirits in each other that it’s hate at first sight. Every encounter between them is explosive and not in the good way, but it’s all overlaid with a weighted-blanket of sexual tension. Then, all it takes is some carefully-placed words by Levi for the entire dynamic to shift.
The new dynamic leads to some equally-explosive sexy bits. Initially, there’s still no love there, and how the men crash together isn’t going to be for all readers. Add in a heavy dose of miscommunication thanks to a friend from James’ past, and it soon looks like these characters will never get their happily ever after together. Even as a reader who knows otherwise, the tension had me at the edge of my seat.
Except the opposite of love isn’t hate, and both men are adorably surprised when their “hate” does shift rather dramatically into “love” territory. This doesn’t change their kinks, but it does underscore a shift between the rest of their interactions. James and Levi have, in no way, shape, or form, a traditional love story, not even a traditional “enemies to lovers” story. Instead, Hawthorne crafts a perfect love story for two imperfect men, and it’s a blast to read.
Faultless (Book 3)
The tables are turned at the Cherry Creek Lodge when the older brother and son of the two characters from this series’ book one accidentally fall in love. It’s not seamless, and it’s often awkward for everyone involved, but in the end, Eddie is precisely what Charlie needs, and vice versa. It’s an interesting happily ever after, but I’m certainly not mad at it.
Eddie had already charmed me through his appearances in E.M. Lindsey’s On the Market series, so it was fun to read his “origin story” of settling in Cherry Creek (and getting his job at Parker’s medical practice). He’s a natural caretaker, which goes far toward explaining how quietly disgruntled he becomes at the relationship between his father and best friend earlier in this series. I have the feeling that not being able to work through those feelings leads to why he ends up in Cherry Creek in the first place. However, that caretaker impulse finally finds a true home in Charlie, who is more than ready to hang up the unofficial title of Motel family patriarch now that his youngest sibling is an adult. However, Charlie hasn’t figured that out yet, and following the two men as they go on these journeys together is a treat.
Once again, this book overlaps with others in the series and the On the Market books. Hawthorne walks a delicate line when it comes to surprising readers with an outcome that’s already “written,” as it were, but I’m thoroughly enjoying this series. I look forward to reading about the next brother’s love story and continuing to enjoy my own extended stay in Cherry Creek.
Fearless (Book 4)
This book had a lot for me to unpack. It starts on a pretty dark moment in Brad’s life and takes a bit to let up, because honestly, Theo came off as pretty shady to me at first, as well. Despite the happy-go-lucky vibe I’ve gotten from Theo in both this book series and Lindsey’s On the Market books, the reveal of what he’s been up to “behind the scenes” was super sketchy. The consent issues with Theo’s voyeurism also bother me, especially as it becomes evident that others in the town are aware of his proclivities and brush them off as harmless. Theo is incredibly fortunate that he falls for Brad, who doesn’t necessarily have a “being watched” kink, but instead regains power over his life via Theo’s habits.
All of the above may or may not make sense because I’m trying to (mostly) avoid spoilers. Brad’s trauma and resulting anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) warrant potential readers checking out the book’s warnings. Even though Brad has been in treatment at this point in his life and attempted to adopt healthy coping mechanisms, it’s clear that Theo sparks something in him that Brad thought long-gone.
The mutual crushing between Brad and Theo is obvious, and it’s just fate (and possibly because they live in a romance novel) that their individual needs line up so nicely. Everyone in their families and social circles seems to accept the pairing as inevitable, except the brother who returns to town late (having not taken the hotel inheritance deal from their father). I immediately latched onto Andy as a voice of reason, ending up way more curious about his own story as it fed into the last half of this book than I was in Brad and Theo’s inevitability.
This installment is still worth reading as part of the series. While I ultimately enjoy reading Hawthorne’s take on all the brothers, along with her excellent writing, this book didn’t jive with me as much as the others in this series.
Limitless (Book 5)
The previous book in this series made me more interested in Andy’s character than in the actual love story going on. Reading the events from Andy’s perspective did not disappoint, as the last Motel brother comes home to Cherry Creek. But unlike his siblings, he doesn’t find love in the tiny town—he finds it across the globe in Paris. Andy and Leonidas crash together in a way that has both men questioning the difference between love and lust, and I applauded Leonidas’ strength in following Andy to Cherry Creek to find out which one existed between the two men.
So much about this book does not follow the traditional romance arc, which is probably another reason I enjoyed it so much. All of the “dark moments” happen earlier in the novel, as Andy and Leonidas can’t figure out how to reconcile what they want from each other with the independence they still crave in their own lives. The second half of the book covers the two men exploring what they have together and figuring out how to have the best of both worlds. The solution is far from traditional or expected, but I enjoyed it all the more for that. I will always support the notion that two people can be partners without losing their personal goals, desires, or senses of self.
This book wraps up another series set in wonderful Cherry Creek, and events within start to overlap with stories from the On the Market series. I’m sad that I only have one more novella with these characters to devour, but I’m thrilled that I still have plenty of books by this wonderful author to enjoy.
A Very Messy Motel Brothers Wedding (Book 5.5)
This sweet and sexy novella wraps up the five Motel brothers’ lives as experienced in the main Room For Love series. Each brother and their partner gets at least one point-of-view chapter, set around the belated wedding ceremony Cameron “demands” for Charlie and Eddie (even though they’ve been legally married for almost a year).
As someone who also had a big party with fancy clothes 9 months after being legally married, and since I’m a sucker for a wedding anyway, I was on board for whatever this story would throw at me. I didn’t expect the level of romance and love displayed between each set of partners as they quietly reaffirmed the relationships they wanted and which worked for them.
Side characters from Cherry Creek are also present and/or mentioned for extra icing on the cake (wedding joke intentional). This is definitely best read after the entire Room For Love series for the full effect. It’s also entirely worth reading if you’ve previously enjoyed the series, and I highly recommend it.