Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: The Fix Up by Kendall Ryan


From New York Times Bestseller, Kendall Ryan, comes a sexy new standalone novel. My tempting, and very alpha friend Sterling Quinn is someone I consider off-limits. It's not just that we're friends, he's also cocky, confident, and British, which means he's a walking aphrodisiac. But lately he's been giving me the look. You know the one. When he thinks I'm not paying attention, and his gaze lingers for too long. And then we start working together, and that's when the sexual tension between us gets so thick, I want to hack through it with a machete. I want to make all these deep feelings I've harbored for him disappear, because there's no way this can end well. The lines between business and pleasure become irrevocably blurred, and I'm stuck between a rock, and Sterling's very, very hard place. Rather than keep a level head about our growing attraction, Sterling wants to go all in, showing me just how explosive we can be together. But I've been around long enough to know that this British bad boy is more than my heart can handle. I'm not about to be cast aside like yesterday's underwear when he's done having fun. Sterling’s never been told no, and he's not about to put his ego aside and play by my rules. But I never thought he'd fight so dirty.    

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I twist the doorknob, and finding it unlocked, let myself inside. Sterling’s place is compact, but modern and classy. It suits him. After a quick glance around the living space, I spot him on the balcony outside, just beyond the glass doors at the far end of the living room. He’s facing away from me, his hands gripping the railing, his head bowed. My smile from moments ago is gone. Seeing him like this—looking distraught—brings the reality of our situation crashing back. Sterling suddenly turns and we lock eyes. A thousand emotions are revealed in his eyes, but mostly there’s anger. There’s also a sadness in his gaze that I’ve never seen. It’s haunting. I swallow a lump in my throat, wondering what’s going on. “Sterling?” I ask, slowly approaching the balcony. It’s beautiful—plush pillows and twinkling lights, and a chilled bottle of white wine all nestled together in a romantic picnic for two. He lets out a heavy sigh and runs one hand through his hair. “This is beautiful,” I say since he hasn’t spoken, hasn’t even moved from the spot where he’s rooted, and his stony silence is killing me. “Are you okay?” “Just fine,” he says curtly, his gaze looking past me. He doesn’t seem fine. He seems off. Why go through all the effort if he’s just going to act sullen and withdrawn? And what could have possibly changed in the twenty-four hours since we last spoke on the phone? He seemed so excited—like he hadn’t a care in the world. Now it seems he doesn’t want me here. “If this is a bad time, if tonight doesn’t work . . .” I trail off, my voice suddenly shaky. “The meal’s already prepared.” He brushes past me, headed toward the kitchen. Unsure what to do, I follow behind him. He’s acting like an asshole, and I suddenly feel so stupid for getting all done up tonight. I’m not going to stand around and embarrass myself by begging for his attention. “You know what? Never mind. This was a bad idea, anyway. I’ll see myself out.” I turn and head for the front door, anger and rejection dueling inside me. It takes all of three seconds before Sterling’s long strides catch him up to me by the door. His grip around my wrist stops me. “Wait.” I turn and face him. I’m halfway between wanting to flee and staying to hear his explanation. He releases a heavy exhale. “I received a phone call just before you arrived.” With him so near, the combination of his clean soap and his spicy cologne intoxicates me. Memories of our intimate dinner rush back. But apparently tonight is not meant to be a repeat. Waiting to see what he’ll say next, I inhale and hold my breath. When he doesn’t continue, I ask, “Is everything okay?”     tesaser11

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She's a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she's appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

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If you've read and enjoyed the Hitched series, then these characters will be very familiar to you. Olivia and Noah are very present in this book, so if you're looking for a little more time to spend with them, this will be a nice little treat. Their best friends Camryn and Sterling are getting their chance to make a connection after some flirting in the Hitched series.

Sterling is an attorney practicing in family law who likes his easy and plentiful variety of women. He's grown jaded and cynical about love after his parents' marriage disintegrated from his father's abandonment. His specialty in divorce, and seeing the bitter outcome of so many marriages doesn't help his negative perception of love. Camryn has a completely conflicting view. She's all about finding her perfect soulmate, her one person whom she can grow old with.

She’s a true believer in happily-ever-afters, a slave to the idea of lasting love and forevers. I’m a jaded divorce attorney who can tell you every statistic on marriage and divorce over the past thirty years.

They already know each other superficially because of their friends, but never spent any time really getting to know one another. It was the huge bomb that was dropped on him unexpectedly that was the catalyst in making this happen.

Sterling is set to inherit millions, but in order to do so, the will states that he must marry within six months. Now he's the subject of every news story and being hounded by single women. He's successful, devastatingly handsome, and will make his wife rich right along with him? Yeah, he's not lacking options of beautiful women willing to agree to a rushed marriage. But he needs help with the process and that's where Camryn comes in. She's his matchmaker. The two of them are forced to spend lots of time together plotting how he's going to reach his end goal. To say that he has some serious life changes and adjustments to make is a vast understatement.

Nights out with bright lights and fast women have been replaced by nights in with one very hard-to-get woman. An interesting fucking turn in events is what it is.

Through these moments they spend together, they find out that they have so much more in common than their best friends. He wants her more than any other woman ever before. But he has circumstances forcing him to go through with his impending marriage. He needs to get out of the bachelor mindset and start thinking like a potential husband. The added escalating sexual attraction that wasn't being suppressed isn't making things easier.

There were some aspects about the plot that I didn't care for. First of all, the forced marriage in order to inherit money is one of the oldest romance clichés. I went with it though, because sometimes you just need a fun and sexy read. But it's really hard to look past the fact that the same situation happened to his best friend. Two best friends who are forced to marry for money?? I mean, really. I admit, I found that to be so unrealistic. Secondly, there is a moment towards the end when Sterling was holding an event for interviewing potential wives. His ex shows up and what happens with her is a little hard for me to imagine.

(view spoiler)

Despite my quibbles, I think many will enjoy The Fix Up. It wasn't an enthusiastic five star read for me, but if you're looking for something light and steamy, this will most definitely fit the bill.

She makes me want to settle down . . . or maybe I’ve always wanted that but never found the right fit that would satisfy me mind, body, and soul. Until her.

**Note: Though this is connected to the Hitched series, you do not have to read those first. This is a complete standalone.


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