by Stacy Finz
Series: The Garner Brothers #3
Also in this series: Want You, Santa's on His Way
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Sexy, smart, and exciting, the Garner brothers have made Glory Junction, California, the country’s top extreme sports town—but there’s no shortage of thrills wherever they go . . .
Darcy Wallace may be an employee at Garner Adventure, but the kind of excitement she’s looking for is more of the indoor variety. After a sexless marriage and a painful divorce, who better to help her get her groove back than the hottest player in town—Win Garner himself. There’s just one flaw in her seduction plan: he won’t cooperate.
Win is used to being the pursuer, so when Darcy turns the tables it throws him off his game—at first. Not that he isn’t tempted, he’s just trying to change his ways. Yet when he and Darcy are paired up for a work project there’s no avoiding the tension between them—or the fact that they make an indomitable team. Soon, Win begins to feel their connection is no game. This could be the real thing. And one no-strings-attached night together just might seal the deal . . .
This is the third – and last – book in the Garner Brothers series, and I was looking forward to finishing out the series. There was a pretty large chunk about this book’s hero, Win, in the second Garner Brothers book, Want You, that mostly dealt with his relationship with Brittany. I was annoyed by him in that book, but I attributed it to the fact that I didn’t like how much his subplot was taking away from Deb and TJ’s story. Turns out, I just really don’t like Win!
After his last relationship took a turn for the worse – he nearly married his last girlfriend after she lied about being pregnant with his child, when it was really another man’s – Win’s sworn off casual hookups and is rethinking his life, looking to take on more responsibility at his work, the outdoor sports guide company owned by his family. So when he comes home to Darcy, the sweet and quiet receptionist at work, laying around in lingerie in his bed, he’s interested, but turns her down. Darcy’s horrifically embarrassed, even more so when Win now seems fixated on hanging out with her as a friend, insisting on taking her out to lunch and to the rodeo.
Darcy’s a bit of a doormat. Even though they’re divorced, she still helps her ex-husband out with his business. While she’s painfully shy around the other Garner brothers, she’s always felt comfortable around Win – well, until the lingerie incident. A child of a loveless marriage, her father pretty much ignores her and her mother criticizes her for being too frumpy. All Darcy wants is some recognition for her hard work, so when she and Win are assigned the chance of landing a Silicon Valley startup as a new corporate client, she jumps at the chance to get a promotion out of the receptionist role. Win’s equally motivated – he wants a raise so that he can check another item off his “become an actual adult” list and buy a house.
“It had taken the rest of the rodeo for the fact that she’d been married to sink in. Shy, quiet, horny little Darcy. He never would’ve guessed it. Not in a million years. Then again, he didn’t know much about her personal life. All their conversations had either been work-related or about him.”
Win’s constantly portrayed as a child-man, a guy who’s lucked into a job that lets him indulge his love of outdoor sports, but is somehow also still relentlessly chased and pursued by pretty much every woman who sees him. He’s self-obsessed and thoughtless, and isn’t used to thinking of anyone but himself. When they run into Darcy’s ex at the rodeo, Win lies and says they’re engaged, and then when Darcy’s mother unexpectedly shows up at work, Win starts telling an outrageous story about how they’re actually secretly married. Darcy is mortified, but Win doesn’t understand what he did wrong, or even get that he did anything wrong. After Darcy painstakingly plans out the company’s trial weekend visit, without even consulting her or giving her a heads-up, he throws her plans out the window and goes with “what feels right.” It was frustrating watching what was supposed to be the hero again disregarding Darcy’s hard work and not understanding what he was doing was hurtful. I was honestly really looking forward to the explanation for why he dropped out of the Olympic team, as it’s been hinted at before as being a sore spot for him, and I thought the explanation would reveal some bit of character that’d make him more sympathetic. I was disappointed to find out it was just because it took too much time away from his other activities. That’s not to say that he doesn’t improve over the course of the book, but to me, it felt like too little too late.
This all sounds awful, but besides, well, Win, I liked the rest of the book. I loved the setting of Glory Junction and all of its various crazy locals, and I loved the various activities they take the prospective customers to. While I liked seeing Darcy complete her transformation into a more self-assured woman, I still think she could’ve done better than Win! So, overall, I’d still recommend it to someone who’s read the previous Garner Brothers books and wants to complete the series.