I appreciate what Lauren Dane did with this book. Ella and Cope were as real
as couples get! It was refreshing to see a heroine dealing with the effects of an abusive past NOT acting out-of-character. Even more, it was beyond wonderful to see a hero understand the brokenness inside the heroine and NOT try to fix it. I fell in love with that about Cope. He accepted Ella for who she was; baggage, insecurities, and fears. And Ella did the same with Cope. She saw him as so much more than the pretty-faced playboy.
It helped to know these two have been friends for several years. I haven't read the first two books in this series, and there were some things I felt very clueless about. But the characters other books were very much a part of this one. I'm sure those who read the series from the beginning loved seeing what was going on in their lives -- especially the unconventional relationship between Erin, Ben, and Todd. That sub-plot was heartbreaking.
There's a few things I didn't like about this, otherwise, brilliant book! Ella, Erin, and Elise. WHAT possessed the author to give these women all "E" names? It took me half the book before I felt marginally
sure I knew who was who and which girl was with which insanely hot guy. Oh, and two of those men have "B" names. Talk about confusion! I didn't think it a good move to do that when there are a lot of characters and relationships to keep straight. Perhaps had I read the series from the beginning I wouldn't have needed to write out a character chart for reference!
Besides that, where was Dane's trademark heat? The sexual tension -- and even the sex -- wasn't what I would have expected from a couple who'd crushed on each other for years! Don't get me wrong, Cope woos like few can, but the scenes were completely lacking in heat. Didn't matter in the end, though, because I fell for Andrew Copeland as hard as Ella did!
PS. Adrian, you're next big guy! YOU called to me in this book and I can't wait to read your HEA!