AUTHOR: Jewel E. Ann
TYPE: Contemporary Romance
Available @ AMAZON
REVIEWER: Pistol Annie
RATING: 5 Stars
Parker Cruse despises cheaters. It might have something to do with her boyfriend sleeping with her twin sister.
After a wedding day prank involving a strong laxative, that ends the already severed relationship between the twins, Parker decides to grow up and act twenty-six.
Step One: Move out of her parents’ house.
Step Two: Find a job.
Opportunity strikes when she meets her new neighbor, Gus Westman. He’s an electrician with Iowa farm-boy values and a gift for saying her name like it’s a dirty word.
He also has a wife.
Sabrina Westman, head of a successful engineering firm, hires Parker as her personal assistant. Driven to be the best assistant ever, Parker vows to stay focused, walk the dog, go to the dry cleaners, and not kiss Gus–again.
Step Three: Don’t judge.
Step Four: Remember — when life happens, it does it in a heartbeat.
I love the cute and sassy cover that was first to grab my attention — but in no way prepared me for what lay ahead. I was consumed from the first page on. Absolutely outstanding! This book was a total surprise – and a novel change from the norm. A ballad of real life. No black and white answers – but plenty of gray areas to challenge your senses emotionally, as well as play havoc with your feelings on morality. I’ve purposefully held my review in check trying to convey my praise without divulging any possible spoilers. Some readers will no doubt find hard limits that may be a problem. That being said, I urge you to read this book anyway. It’s more than just romance with the possibility of cheating – it’s more than just a love story – it’s more than sex – it’s more than friendship. It’s a powerful depiction of real life happening in 3-D technicolor.
At its very core, the story centers on Parker Cruse, a young woman who hates cheaters! For personal reasons, I hate cheaters, too. I connected with Parker. It’s been a lifetime ago, but that hurt has never really been forgotten or forgiven. My motto – once a cheater, always a cheater. I wasn’t sure I could read this book. Even after being assured by book buds that I just needed to take it one page at a time and “let life happen.” I tried hard not to place a lot of emphasis on what the book blurb revealed. I held my nose and jumped into the deep end, and hoped I would still trust those friends when I surfaced. Within this all-consuming reading experience, I found some answers to my own personal demons and so much more. I’m glad that I just let life happen and read what now is most assuredly going to hit my list of best reads of 2017.
This second chance romance will own you — tumultuous, evocative, sexy and addictive. Sometimes life just happens. Sometimes it hurts, and we can’t stop it. We can’t control it, no matter how hard we try. And that hurts even more. With emotions running high and intense, the story will burrow deep into your heart. I simply adored Parker. She’s kinda quirky, sassy with a little “devil” in her, and imperfect, but an organizational freak with “responsibility” as her middle name — and always lovable. Parker is real and she brings life to this story. She’s driven and knows exactly how to get a job done well. She’s a terrific young woman whose twin sister’s betrayal has devastated their relationship and caused rift in the family. Her heart is broken and she’s lost the love of her life, or so she thinks. She’s never really found her niche or a job that allows her to use the degree she worked so hard to achieve. Living across the road from her parents doesn’t allow much adventure for our girl from Iowa either — and did I mention her insane over-protecting mother?
When temptation comes knocking, it is one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read. Parker fights the attraction with all her might — really she does! But the chemistry makes things hard to ignore between her and the new neighbor, Gus Westman. Their banter and interactions are so sassy and direct that they hit their mark with precision. Gus is suffering his own personal problems. His wife is a workaholic and travels more than she’s home. And when she is home, her schedule is filled with uppity clients and girls’ night out. Gus is a great guy — a gorgeous hunk who loves his old sports cap and tight faded tees — and he gives it his best effort to appreciate and show his love for his wife. He plans trips and he’s built a beautiful home for a family he hopes to share with his wife one day — if only she would give him the time of day (or night).
Besides Parker, there’s a dynamic cast of characters: Gus, Sabrina, the parents, and sibs, Levi a/k/a The Funeral Clown, who are all wonderfully drawn. Their parts are meaningful as they each play a major supporting role in humanizing and adding depth to this story. Prepare yourself to fall in love more than once — even with Rags, a mischievous Sheepdog. Some you’ll lose your heart to deeply — others not so much. It’ll be easier loving to hate them. Still, each individual brings their own special meaning to the overall storyline. But the romance plot is predominantly angst-filled and a painful journey to self-awareness and forgiveness interwoven with family, love, loss, secrets, regret, and hope. But don’t despair, there are definitely more than enough high-spirited moments interwoven throughout to provide a few belly-laughs from readers, along with some great banter and wit. Altogether, you’ll find a truly eye-opening face-to-face with life and all the events that come in and out of our lives at any minute or hour of each day.
WHAM! TOTALLY GOBSMACKED!! Halfway in and I’m in a head-on collision with a SHOCKER PLOT TWIST. Be still my mangled heart. Torturous author! I never saw this 360 coming. Without being too specific for fear of including spoilers, this is not your standard romance and certainly not cut and dry. There are twists you won’t see coming and ugly demons that must be conquered. Cried my eyes out and felt like I’d been slammed in the gut by a 300-lb. defensive lineman. But life happens when you least expect it, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. And that’s all you’re getting from me. There’s a whole other side to this story and one that will definitely keep you in suspense and emotionally torn. Life goes on and thankfully this author justifies her well-served but merciless gut-punch.
I read each day, and sometimes it feels like I’m reading the same old story over and over – just different names/different locations. But this book went way beyond what has become the standard. Totally unexpected and uniquely surprising. Whether you believe in destiny or fate, Jewel E. Ann grabbed the bull by the horns and more than met my expectations in creating a story that shows how life just happens when you least expect it and effectively made it real. She is a powerful writer who builds a profound story that she capably brings to life on the pages, one that captivates from start to finish, and assures you’ll fall in love with her flawed and endearing characters.
Get yourself a copy of this extraordinary face-to-face with life, and find out how our girl from Iowa deals with all that confronts her “When Life Happened.”