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Lydia Rossi has the Plan all figured out. A great job at Louisville’s fastest-rising tattoo shop, a place of her own, and putting her heroin addiction behind her once and for all. So far, everything fits perfectly into the safety-focused life she’s created, though she can’t forget the one woman who made her want more.
Jenny Sloane’s sole focus is on getting her brother to let her come back home. She’s deceived both him and her AA sponsor into thinking she’s clean, but the truth is simple: she likes the way she feels when she drinks. If a few white lies get him to forgive her and life back on track, she’ll tell them. She doesn’t need anyone, except family.
A note from Cupid’s Café reunites Lydia with her former therapy groupmate Jenny, sparking attraction, but a new complication arises when Jenny moves into the same transitional living house with Lydia. Jenny’s presence threatens to unravel Lydia’s plan, and for the first time Jen’s family only focus wavers. One moment and one mistake is all it’d take to destroy their futures, but the chemistry between them is undeniable. No strings attached becomes tangled. Can a relationship be part of the plan after all?
Content warning: includes references to drug abuse, alcohol abuse, some homophobia from a character's mother, a character being drugged
Lydia checked her watch. Her “date” should have been there ten minutes ago, and though it tried, the feeling of disappointment failed to break through the barrier the café created. Every so often, the barista glanced her way, offered a sweet but wan smile, and continued on. The ethereal music drifting through the speakers kept her heartbeat steady.
She could handle just hanging out at the coffee bar if not for the invitation burning a hole through her back pocket.
“This is stupid,” she muttered. “You’re not ready.”
The barista eyeballed her again, a disapproving pout on her full lips.
After a few more sips, Lydia pushed the cup away. “Thank you.”
“Are you sure you can’t stay a little longer?”
She smiled. “Sorry. Early morning.”
“Please, just a little longer.” Something in her voice compelled Lydia to stay put.
Almost by magic, another latte appeared on the counter.
Lydia chuckled. “I’m not going to sleep tonight.”
With a wink, the barista said, “Maybe that’s the point.”
Lydia eyeballed the pretty blonde and took another sip. Once again, the peacefulness overtook her. Coffee wasn’t supposed to be soothing like this.
Maybe that was the con: her one true love was coffee.
More time passed and the bottom of the mug showed its face. The barista pouted at the empty cup.
“Coffee’s too good,” Lydia said with a grin, but in truth, it was the best she’d ever had. “Don’t worry. I’ll come back.”
“I know.” She winked again.
As Lydia stood and shrugged into her coat, the bell over the door chirped. Time stopped. The café changed to a small room, a sketchbook, and the entrance of an eighteen-year-old spitfire. Except she’d grown up over the last ten years. “Holy shit,” Lydia said. “Jenny Sloane.”
4 out of 5 (very good)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
I have no idea what I expected from this book, but it certainly wasn't this!
Jenny and Lydia have real life problems. Both are recovering from their respective addictions (or not, as the case may be) and this book focuses on that, more than the romance, and I really LOVED that. All too often these topics get brushed under the carpet and here, they are front and centre.
Lydia has a plan, to get her own apartment, and then be on her own. Meeting with Jenny again should not waver her from her plan. She's doing well, and is committed to get to the end. Jenny, on the other hand, isn't doing so well and the place in the sober living house SHOULD be her ticket to get to be with her brother again. But Jenny's recovery isn't going to plan, and one single mistake might ruin them both.
At one point, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. I started it, and it took a downward turn (I thought) and I contemplated leaving it. But something made me carry on and I am so bloody glad I did!
Yes, it's not an easy read. it certainly isn't a fluffy romance that you can breeze through, but it IS a bloody good book! It shows the struggles, the real life struggles that people face. How people spiral downwards, how they hit the bottom and try to get back up. How the deal with their addiction (in this case drugs and alcohol) and what they do when faced with what might possibly be their last chance.
Jenny and Lydia are not perfect, but they are perfect for each other, and other than the issues with their addictions, the romance side of things moves along slow, at first, but then speeds up, and slows down again. I loved that it wasn't explicit. There is steam and passion a-plenty, but the detailed sex scenes are not here, and I truly think had they been, I would not have liked this book as much!
I've not read anything by this author before, nor any of the previous books in this series, I don't think you need to, to enjoy this one. I might go back and read them!
But please, be aware of the subject matter: drug abuse and alcohol abuse mostly. Some people might not be able to read this because of triggers.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Catherine Peace has been telling stories for as long as she could remember. She often blames two things for her forays into speculative fiction—Syfy (when it was SciFi) channel Sundays with her dad and The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells. She graduated in 2008 from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in English and is still chasing the dream of being super rich and famous, mostly so she can sit around in her PJs all day and write stories.
Catherine currently lives on a farm in South Carolina. E-I-E-I-O.