By: Talia Hibbert
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
Chloe has chronic pain and has been abandoned by all but her family. Redford was in an abusive relationship that has left him mentally and physically scarred. She has a dry, sarcastic wit that you need to know her to understand fully, while he is usually nice to everyone and has a smile on his face. It’s not an opposites-attract romance, it’s closer to an instant attraction. Only, they both react poorly to it.
Chloe’s humor reminded me of my own, but it didn’t always come off like I assume the author wanted. A couple of times, the only indication I had that she’d said something hilarious was Red laughing at it. Maybe it was a British thing? Apart from that, I enjoyed her as a character. I don’t know anything about fibromyalgia, so I can’t judge the accuracy there, but it did read like someone who was familiar with the subject.
I liked Red. He was a big hulking redhead with long hair that wore fake leather clothes. He loved his mom and, as previously mentioned, was super nice—basically, the appearance of an alpha male with the personality of a cinnamon roll consumed with lust.
I enjoyed the story, though, I do wish there had been some vengeance in it. There was no confrontation with exes, which was a bit of a letdown for my bloodthirst. However, I didn’t expect there to be. Everyone was very mature, and seeing shrinks and using all the words you use when you’re doing that. Promoting good mental health is good and very underrepresented in romance, while vengeance not so much. I understand the choices made, even if I would have liked something more than brief moments of seething from each of the characters.