IRL: In Real Life (Book 1)
I’m not one for texting/sexting or sending intimate photos by text, so the basic premise of this “meet-cute” didn’t initially speak to me. However, the authors quickly turn the dynamic sexy AF, and they also don’t leave the reader hanging about who is on the other end of Conor’s conversation. It turns out I am, on the other hand, a total sucker for the “identity porn” trope, especially when one side knows the truth and the other is blissfully unaware.
The tension in this book grew steadily as Wells digs himself a deeper and deeper hold regarding his “relationship” with Conor. One of the steamiest scenes in this book is laced with incredibly awkward tension, but it’s so well written that I couldn’t help but keep reading. The physical coming together of both characters is as explosive as promised, accompanied by the inevitable dark moment that is as heart-wrenching as expected.
Instead of a quick resolution and accepted apologies and happily ever after, the book doesn’t end there. Wells goes above and beyond in proving he’s serious about Conor (his sister and assistant come close to stealing the scene here). The extended plot resolution elevates the story to the next level from the typical romance arc, proving once again the skill Lennox (and experienced co-writer Maddox) brings to the page in every book I’ve enjoyed by her.
I look forward to continuing this fun, sexy, and enjoyable series and hope that Conor and Wells continue to be recurring side-characters.
LOL: Laugh Out Loud (Book 2)
Where the first book in this series had humorous moments, it was mostly sexy with some understated moments of angst. In contrast, the follow-up lives up to its title with multiple laugh-out-loud moments of sheer ridiculousness, but interspersed with sexiness and understated moments of angst. The Oscar of the series title makes a more (in)direct appearance in this book, in which most of the action takes place at an estate he owns, with plenty of his family members as secondary characters, and he even has phone conversations with one of the main characters.
Scotty is a guy who does his best with what life hands him, which puts him in a precarious situation after Roman hijacks his Central Park carriage. In true American fashion, the famous rich guy faces no repercussions from the incident, while Scotty and his horse end up homeless afterward. In a last-ditch effort to at least do right by his beloved horse, he finally approaches Roman. I like to think that Roman would have done his best to take care of the problem he created even if obvious sparks had not existed between him and Scotty.
What ensues is a comedy of errors worthy of an English Regency house party at what is supposed to be a quiet refuge in Vermont. Quite a few characters make an appearance, which I saw turned some readers off in other reviews. I think the authors could have reined it in (no pun intended) a bit with Oscar’s numerous family members, but I enjoyed the subplots with Larry and Lolo and a certain bearded officer of the law.
The chaos is fairly nonstop until the very end of the story (and even continues into the epilogue), but I enjoyed pretty much every moment of it. Scotty and Roman are an excellent match, even if their lives and circumstances argue otherwise. I hope that I get to peek in on them later in this series.
BTW: By the Way (Book 3)
This book is not as insanely packed with characters as the previous one in the series, but it does feature a side character from book 1, and I was already intrigued based on what I knew of him before. We learn even more about James here, from his backstory to his current situation featuring the overbearing father of an ex-boyfriend and a job he’s possibly not that interested in anymore. Enter Sawyer, who may be younger than James, but he does know what he wants out of life. Too bad James is there to take it all away.
But James is just the lawyer and doesn’t have an emotional connection with the deal he’s there to wrangle over Sawyer’s family legacy. We’re treated to a delicious push and pull between the two men, as James wants to support Sawyer’s goals while also recognizing that he’s there to facilitate ruining them. And right when they might have figured out a balance, the realities of their different life circumstances send Sawyer running.
The authors employ plenty of delicious angst as the plot continues, urging the reader to cheer for each man even when we’re not sure quite how they’re going to manage their happy ending. Ultimately, James is just as intelligent as he appears, and Sawyer is just as dedicated, and I loved how they found their way back to each other.
According to Lennox’s social media, she and Maddox plan to write more in this series. Perhaps one day, even Oscar will get his happily ever after. Until then, I’m happy to keep reading about his ex-boyfriends.