Izzy Maxwell and Cooper Black met in Crashing the Boards, and sparks were instantly flying. But now Cooper's jealousy is getting in the way of everything Izzy has tried to build for herself and her sisters, and Izzy decides to go back to the way that's always worked for her — rely on herself, focus on her business, provide for her family, and forget about hot men whose possessive tendencies threaten to make her dependent on anyone else. But Cooper's not ready to let go just yet…
But... Don't let my three-star rating fool you. The book is lots of fun and just as well written as the first two. I'm just not a big fan anymore of lovers forcing themselves apart because of issues in their past, and Izzy's pretty much the poster child for that trope. I suspect that many romance fanatics will absolutely love it.
Judging Covers: I see Crystal Gayle circa 1970 and John Corbett from his Northern Exposure days. Probably not the best image to have in my head when trying to get into a new romance.
The Verdict: Izzy and Cooper are over. Done. No more. Except… Well, do you really think they can stay away from each other?
Izzy's definitely got issues, and they've become the bricks in a great big wall she puts between herself and potential relationships. Essentially abandoned by her one-hit wonder parents back in the day, she and her sisters discovered that crashing parties was the way to keep themselves fed, and they've turned that little discovery into a bona fide business venture. Now grown, they stick together, professional party crashers invited by hosts to liven up events and make sure the guests have fun. It may not be the most conventional career, but it pays the bills.
Cooper's got issues of his own, and going caveman every time another man is near Izzy isn't the half of it. For one, he's dead set against remaining in Seattle, a city that tainted his past and left him estranged from his sister. And when the nephew he didn't know he had shows up at his door, he's willing to help the kid out, but he knows he's not cut out to play parent to a sullen teenager.
Izzy and Cooper's story is one of avoidance and denial, as they're both allowing events of the past to close off possibilities of a future. Izzy has no trouble being involved with a man, but she fiercely guards her independence and is in many ways unwilling to compromise. Cooper, on the other hand, has no problem turning his heart over to Izzy, but she's pushed him so far away that he knows better than to push back. So when he gets the opportunity to help her out, understanding her more in the process, he works it into a way back into her life.
While I certainly enjoyed their continued story, it wasn't quite what I was hoping for after Crashing the Boards. In the previous book, these two were fighting a sizzling attraction to each other, each one of them stubborn about giving in, though neither could really help doing so. In this continuation of their journey, the heat is still there, but they have begun to settle into something comfortable, and the added family drama has them less at odds with each other and more at odds with themselves. In any case, it's still a great read, and I'll definitely be continuing with the series.