by Naima Simone
Publication Date: June 27, 2021
Source: Give Me Books Promotions
I received an advance review copy of this book from Give Me Books Promotions. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
It is incredibly stupid to write this text while I’m drunk. But what’s the saying? No gain, no pain. Or, no pain, no shame... Whatever. You know what I mean. And let’s face it. There’s no way I would be doing this if I was stone-cold sober. But since I’m plastered? To hell with it.
I want you.
I know. Crazy, right? Not only am I your temporary roommate but I’m a chatty nurse from Providence with an impeccable bedside manner and secrets. You’re a broody, commitment-phobe sculptor from England who communicates in grunts and single syllables. Not to mention, you’re returning home in several weeks. And yet, from the moment you dragged me for being a Swiftie, I’ve wanted to climb you like my personal jungle gym.
There’s no future for us. I’m not even sure I like you half the time. But that doesn’t stop me from hungering for those same hands that bend and shape metal to bend and shape me. So in all my drunken glory, I guess what I’m trying to say is if you want me, I’m yours. For the next few weeks until you return across the pond and we resume our lives as before. No strings. No demands. No regrets.
So meet me in the kitchen where all this started.
It’s your decision.
Not that it matters. It’s not like I’m going to do something monumentally dumb like hit send on this text.
Content notes: View Spoiler »death by drowning of a child (before book starts), discussions of various ER procedures (including amputation due to diabetes and injured children), asthma (including attack on page), MC gave child up for adoption, cheating ex, estranged family, grief, PTSD « Hide Spoiler
Naima Simone is an auto-buy for me, so even though I haven’t read anything else in the Cocky Hero Club series, I had to pick this up, and luckily it worked fine for me as a standalone. Broody hot hero, strong-willed heroine, and lots of thirst? Yes, please!
Zenobia has a million reasons to avoid further distractions. For one thing, she’s staying at a friend’s place due to emergency repairs on her apartment. Oh, plus she was just dumped by her boyfriend and now has to watch him make kissy faces with one of her coworkers while she’s trying to deal with emergencies as a nurse. But then she runs into Axel. The Brit also happens to be staying at her friend’s house while he’s working on a gallery show for his metal sculptures nearby. And while he looks like a Viking dream, he’s grumpy and surly, and definitely not anything that Zenobia needs right now – but that doesn’t stop her from wanting him. Axel can’t imagine that anyone would want anything to do with him, let alone the beautiful Zenobia, and besides, he’s leaving in a few months. But through shared dinners and late night encounters, each of them let down a little of their armor. But what will happen when it’s time for them both to leave?
“I love the idea of taking the broken, the disrespected, and making people love and admire them again in my art.”
There’s a lot of deep issues addressed in the book. They’re both broken in different ways, but also incredibly strong, and the author really nailed the angst and conflicted feelings of both characters. For Zenobia, most of those issues revolve around the child she gave up for adoption when she was sixteen. It’s a semi-open adoption, so while her daughter’s parents keep her updated on her life, they’ve recently denied her request to finally meet her. But an accident and a chance encounter bring up a tidal wave of feelings that Zenobia’s forced to reckon with. For Axel, it’s the fall-out of his brother’s drowning death when they were children. His brother was the perfect golden child, while he’s socially inept and generally prefers a hermit-like existence, and he’s always felt like the wrong brother survived. He believes his family feels like that as well, and that the few friends he has have only stuck around out of loyalty to his brother.
“Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships. This woman’s body could launch a thousand dicks.”
Together, Zenobia and Axel are a steamy couple. There’s a ridiculous amount of pining and thirst from both sides until the infamous drunk text (from the blurb) happens, and the pay off is definitely worth it. Naima Simone writes some seriously thirsty and steamy scenes. But it’s not just the steam, it’s the emotional connection they form. I loved how Zenobia immediately understood Axel’s art and what it meant to him, and I loved how Axel refused to let Zenobia believe that she was weak.
Overall, this was an excellent example of two broken characters with wildly different outtakes on life who somehow fit together perfectly.