So what if all you’re really known for is being the town playboy? One night stands work well for Grant Taylor and if that means he’s got a rep as a no strings attached good time kind of guy, then so be it. He’s never lacked for his fair share of meaningless encounters, so why does the one guy who turned him down stick in his craw so much? Sure, it could be said that dating one of his mom’s employees and a cop to boot isn’t the smartest thing to do, but the guy didn’t even give him a chance—that’s never happened to poor Grant before.
Marc Warren shouldn’t feel bad about turning down Grant, but for some reason he does. There’s something about the guy that makes him want things he’s refused to consider since he divorced his cheating husband two years ago. Marc is positive he’d much rather hang with his best friend and enjoy their ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement, so why can’t he get Grant out of his mind?
There’s no denying that authors A.J. Rose and Kate Aaron are excellent writers on their own, but as a writing team I’m not sure I have ever encountered a more seamless partnership, which resulted in a fabulous, lighthearted romance. Loose Lips & Relationships is the beginning of a series I can’t wait to experience. While Grant and Marc’s foray into giving love a chance was most assuredly fairly angst free, it still managed to hit on some rather serious themes, including the one featuring Marc’s narcissistic and, quite frankly, pretty evil mother. The side story of her machinations and manipulations was rather horrifying at times, in terms of how far she would go to be the center of attention and come off as faultless in all things. But she is a nasty woman, for sure, and this writing duo gave her just the right spin to make her appear both crazed and malevolent in nature.
Aside from that arc in the story, I also really enjoyed watching the relationship unfold between Marc and Grant. While Grant had no real baggage, but more a desire to remain free and unfettered by any kind of commitment, he didn’t come off as flaky or irresponsible. He was gainfully employed and a smart young man and he did have dreams and aspirations and that made him pretty well-rounded despite the reputation as a playboy. I really loved how he was brave enough to admit to Marc that he wasn’t really sure how the whole dating and relationship thing worked. Rather than make him appear naïve, it made him feel more vulnerable and gave his character a certain appeal that drew me into his story.
Poor Marc was a different kettle of fish altogether. Manipulated and scarred by a mother who really had no clue how to love anyone other than herself, he was maneuvered into a marriage with a man who was a cheat and liar, leaving a very wounded and gun-shy man behind after their divorce. Marc loved the small resort town he’d come to after his marriage ended, but in many ways he was hiding there as well. He manages to avoid any real commitments by having a fuckbuddy friendship to stave off sexual frustration. The only problem is it did nothing to dispel the loneliness and desire for closeness that Marc so desperately wanted.
The premise—the bet that brings Marc and Grant together–was fun to read and the friends that surrounded these two men added a great deal of humor to the novel, while also providing some deep friendships for both men. This was a great ensemble cast novel and I got a good feel for future books in the way in which certain characters dropped hints about each other or themselves. I really think this is going to be a series to watch, one that will continue to get better and better.
If you are looking for a lighthearted romance with an interesting cast of characters and an appealing location to boot, then Loose Lips & Relationships is novel that will definitely fit the bill. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it wholeheartedly.