by Melanie Harlow
on November 28th 2016
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Jack Valentini isn’t my type.
Sexy, brooding cowboys are fine in the movies, but in real life, I prefer a suit and tie. Proper manners. A close shave.
Jack might be gorgeous, but he’s also scruffy, rugged, and rude. He wants nothing to do with a “rich city girl” like me, and he isn’t afraid to say so.
But I’ve got a PR job to do for his family’s farm, so he’s stuck with me and I’m stuck with him. His glares. His moods. His tight jeans. His muscles.
His huge, hard muscles.
Pretty soon there’s a whole different kind of tension between us, the kind that has me misbehaving in barns, trees, and pickup trucks. I’ve never done anything so out of character—but it feels too good to stop.
And the more I learn about the grieving ex-Army sergeant, the better I understand him. Losing his wife left him broken and bitter and blaming himself. He doesn’t think he deserves a second chance at happiness.
But he’s wrong.
I don’t need to be his first love. If only he’d let me be his last.
This has got to be my favorite Melanie Harlow book to date!
After We Fall is an emotionally charged, heart-stopping romance between a broken man who feels his chance at love has passed and a woman determined to prove him wrong.
After a humiliating experience with her ex at a charity event, Margot is need of a break. An out-of-town client of their PR firm provided Margot a chance to get away for awhile. The job was simple: help a family owned farm get their branding and web presence off the ground and help boost their profit. But things start to get complicated fast when Margot meets one of the owners, Jack Valintini.
Jack is the grumpy, hot-as-hell brother who is convinced that this new endeavor is a waste of time and money. He’s not that all impressed with Margot either even though he finds himself thinking more and more about her.
The banter between Jack and Margot is tinged with sexual tension from the get go, and when they eventually got together, it was sooo hot and so rewarding to read. I loved it. Loved the chemistry between them.
I also adored Melanie Harlow’s cheeky humor shining through the pages with this book. I found myself snort-laughing many, many times while reading the book.
And while humor has always been a staple in Ms. Harlow’s previous books, After the Fall shows us another side to her writing. This book was emotionally nuanced and mature. It doesn’t rely on emotional manipulation or unnecessary drama in order to wring out an emotional reaction from the reader. It comes from the character themselves.
Jack’s experience made him bitter and closed off. Without knowing it, it’s slowly suffocating his relationship with his brothers and his business. Margot tempers her emotion because it is what is expected of her. Her emotional outburst at the beginning of the book was a turning point for her. As much as I love the romance in this book, I fell in love with each of the character’s individual journey as well.
As for the dead ex trope which tends turn some romance readers off, I felt that Ms. Harlow handled it beautifully. And what I really, really love about it is she did without doing the cop out “the first wife is a bitch and evil therefore, the heroine is the hero’s real love and I should root for her” or something. She didn’t take the easy way out by saying “Oh, the hero wasn’t really in love with his first wife at all so his love for the heroine is the only thing that matters,” just to prove that the love between the hero and the heroine is real.
Nope. She managed to do it without sabotaging the other relationship or doing any type of character assassination. She crafted Jack and Margot’s relationship in such a way that leaves no doubt in my mind that they’re together and they’re happy and their love would last. Their HEA is hard-fought and real.
So bravo Ms. Harlow for another amazing book. I can’t wait for you to wow me again.
ARC provided for review purposes