When life gave you lemons, you learned who stayed and made lemonade with you. Or something to that effect. And the day Ellis Hayes kidnapped me—or, he borrowed a yacht and didn’t know I was on board—he’d definitely been handed too many lemons.
We faced a dilemma when I woke up hungover in the middle of the ocean. He needed to get the hell out of town to do some soul searching and decide whether or not to divorce his wife, and I needed to get back on land because humans didn’t belong on the water. There was also better cell service on land, and I had my four-year-old daughter on vacation in Paris to check in with.
Then I remembered I wasn’t a complete tool. Ellis wasn’t doing all right, and we were practically family. I had to stay and make lemonade with him. Of course, me being me, seemingly un-dateable and complicated, I had to develop feelings for him, too.
The first book I ever read by Cara Dee was Aftermath, a book about two men who survive a five month kidnapping, only to find that they need and want only each other. (If you haven’t read that book, I highly encourage you to. It is truly amazing. In fact, I may need to go re-read it now that I am reminding myself of it. 🙂 )
Anyway, since that was my first book of Cara’s, I had some idea how strongly she writes from a character’s perspective. The character’s are not often living their “normal” lives, but some sort of different existence that makes falling in love, possibly with the “wrong” person a challenge, yet it feels so right.
Uncomplicated Choices is another such book. I’ll put this right out front, and this could be a spoiler…Ellis is married, to a woman, at t the time that he and Casey begin their relationship. However, it works in this book. I didn’t AT ALL feel like Ellis was cheating on his wife. It worked in this story, because Ellis is trying to find himself, outside of a marriage that went sour so long ago.
Casey was really a fantastic character. First, he was snarky AF. I loved that. He was snarky when he was speaking to Ellis (or anyone else for that matter), and he was snarky in his head. It worked for him. He was able to find the humor in so many situations that others would not, and I absolutely loved that about him. He was a great father, and it was as obvious how much he loved his daughter. She was the light of his life, and didn’t care who knew that, or if that was a stereotype that didn’t match what he “should” be doing.
Both men work on themselves throughout the book, even as they work on finding a relationship that works together. Ellis began the book being “elusive”, yet along the way was able to learn to talk through his feelings, and communicate with Casey as their connection grew. Casey, meanwhile, needed to learn that he was loveable, despite all the bad experiences he’d had with people thinking he was not worthy. Seeing these two men connect with each other, while connecting with their own thoughts and feelings made for a reader experience that went above “falling in love with someone else”. They were able to fall back in love with themselves, as well.
My one issue with the book was that although it was “mostly” a stand alone book, there were periods where I was lost. People were introduced or mentioned that likely had a previous book in this series, or possibly a book ahead that I had no knowledge of, and there was little explanation. This left me wondering if this was a necessary mention, or just a one off comment that would not come up again. Several people I had to infer who they were based on the people who were in the room, and still wasn’t sure I knew who they were. Although this happens often in books in a series, usually there are some descriptions as to how they fit in to the situation to help the reader understand in the event they hadn’t read the previous books. This didn’t happen with several of the characters who were not even in place in the book, but merely brought up in conversation. This did not detract from my enjoyment of the story of Casey and Ellis, however, it did leave me wondering if I was missing a big piece of a story.
All in all a well done book, by an author that I just love to read. 4 pieces of eye candy.