***I was given the opportunity to read this ARC for an honest review***
Heart wrenching. I couldn’t put this book down or off since I was reading via my Kindle.
Molly Brinks is an author or steamy, sexy romance novels. The only issue is that she doesn’t do relationships. At least not the committed kind. So for each book that she has written there has been some kind of muse or man that she used for inspiration. But she’s gotten writer’s block. Having a muse or finding one has gotten old. She’s twenty-nine plus one (the word “thirty” is forbidden in her vocabulary), so going bar hopping to find a “muse” isn’t as fun or tempting as it used to be.
She lives in an apartment across from her brother, former Boston Bruin hockey player, Drew Brinks and his two daughters. They live above the cafe that has been in their family since their great grandfather opened it many years ago. Now, Drew and their Aunt Gigi run the cafe and bar. Drew bought out his father when he retired from hockey due to an injury and their father was showing signs of Alzheimer’s. Then after he was fully diagnosed with the disease, they had found a facility for him to live and be taken care of, where Drew and Molly were not able to.
Molly visits her father daily. Going to read to him the many books that they read together as she grew up.
This is where the handsome Dr. Noah McAllister comes in. He his her father’s neurologist. And also works at the facility where her father resides. He has noticed her from day one. From what he sees, the patients rarely get visitors, but for her father, Molly is their everyday for him and their reading time.
When he stops her on her way out from one of her visits, he advises her of her father’s health status and that it is aggressively getting worse. And to remind her of her father’s wishes. This is where Molly uses one of her traits. Showing or hiding her emotions. She’s aware of her father’s disease, she read as much as she could find when he was diagnosed. And she’s aware of what her father wished and that he signed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate).
It could have been fate or Dr. McAllister, or Noah, had her of some of the places that Molly goes to think and write for her books. While at the park with a journal, coffee and muffin, she found herself being cornered by ducks wanting her muffin. What romance wouldn’t be complete with a handsome man saving you from an attack of miscreants. This is where Noah finds her. After safely removing her from the danger, they ended up spending the day together. And that night, she couldn’t stop writing her story. She had found a muse.
The only issue with this muse, is that it isn’t following in the normal constraints that the other “muse-relationship” had. Molly had never opened up to the other men that she casually dated. She was see them, have sex at her place or theirs, and that was it. But with Noah, he had a calming effect with her that brought her guard down. And with this, led to feelings. Which led Molly to her fear of being hurt.
Noah has more in common with Molly then she realizes. His own father died of Alzheimer’s when he was in college. That is what led him to become a doctor in that field. When he shares this with Molly, she takes it as a way to open up and talk about her father. That is one area where Molly is keeping that door closed.
Molly’s fear of relationships isn’t something she decided one day. It was more decided for her. When she was young, her mother left her father with two young children and never coming back. Her brother Drew’s wife left him after his injury to raise her two niece’s by himself. All her life, she could only remember her father saying, “real life isn’t real love”. So to her, if she avoided any real commitment, then she wouldn’t be hurt has her father and Drew had.
After months of being together, Noah had finally let Molly know how he feels. Which spooked her even further into herself. While trying to come to grips with Noah’s revelation, ignoring calls from the facility thinking that its’ Noah. She finally answer’s a call from Drew. But it would be the call she will always regret.
Her father had become ill and she was told that he was taking the antibiotics very well. But with is immune system down, it allowed other infections to take hold. He was on his death bed. She knew of his wishes, but being emotional and not wanting to let her father go, she fought and yelled for somebody to do something. Begging Noah, who came in the capacity of her boyfriend, was not able to help her in her time of need. Watching her father die, she placed blame on Noah for not helping him. Taking her anger and grief out on him in any way possible. She refused to see him.
This is where the story become heart wrenching for me. To read her going through this time, grieving in her own way, closing off from the world. So much to the point that she becomes irrational in thinking that her brother and best friend, who have always supported her, were against her in how she was handling Noah and her current book. She went out to find the one person she thought would support her.
As I was reading this book. I can understand what her father and brother had done as she grew up. But also, it became a disservice to her. Her father tried to shield her from her mother abandoning her family. Drew was old enough to understand, but a little can’t comprehend what is happening around her. It’s not until her Aunt Gigi, sits her down and explains some background on her parents and what actually happened when she was younger. The affects of her mother leaving left Molly without an outlet for her anger, and with some altercations at school, her father had taken her to see a therapist. But was not told it was a therapist, but as a babysitter. And with that she started her love for writing after being given her favorite book, “The Diary of Anne Frank”. She later learns from Drew, that her father and him kept the tradition of giving her slippers for her birthday every year from her mother. Her father stopped when she was sixteen, but Drew heard her cry that night when she went to bed, so he continued to send her slippers to keep her happy.
She went to the address that was on the birthday presents and found her mother. An almost sixty year old women dressing and living like she was still in her twenties. Finally hearing from her mother’s mouth that she didn’t want to remember or have anything to do with the life she had before she left, Molly realized that she had been wrong all her life. Real love is real life.
Of course, the book ends with an HEA. And I love how and the way it ended. Going from casual, non-committal to feelings, crying and then being happy.