The minute she saw him, she was a goner. He was all crisp suit and bright blue eyes to her fumbling hands and waitress uniform, but they were drawn to each other. And even though he walked out without a word, she couldn't stop thinking about him.
Cedric's life, while good, is empty. His steady girlfriend, the first he's stayed with in years, is little more than a convenient distraction, and while his job brings in the money, it's not exactly fulfilling. That becomes even more apparent when he meets a beautiful waitress who's everything he didn't know he was looking for. And yes, he was looking for her; wandering into her diner was no accident.
Allison, adopted as a child by a single woman, is now alone in the world. She has no information about her birth family and has never gone looking for them. Her adoptive mother has now passed away, leaving Allison with only an aunt she's not close to and a small circle of friends. Little does she know...
The instant attraction they share is undeniable, and while love-at-first sight can be a hard sell, these two had me convinced from the get-go. They can't stop thinking about each other, and that distraction permeates every bit of their lives. Cedric has been little more than a womanizer for years, but something about Allison has him reconsidering his ways.
I soooo wanted to love this story, but it just didn't happen. Have you ever noticed how many romance plots include some big, scary secret that, if revealed, could ruin everything? Sometimes that secret plays so well into the plot that you never even question it. And sometimes...
"My draw to Allison is not a choice. I will never stop wanting her. And I will inevitably hurt her either way, once she learns the truth."
I spent much of the book wondering just what the truth could be. On a certain level, I was worried that Cedric would turn out to be some long lost relative of Allison, since we knew she was adopted. That would have definitely ruined it for me. Of course, that wasn't the case, but there was certainly a heavy creep factor to what the truth actually was.
Once upon a time, Cedric was involved with a woman who had a twin sister she'd never met. Guess who that twin was! Yep, Allison. On her death bed, she begged Cedric to find her twin, who'd been adopted and had no idea she was one of a matched pair. So Cedric set out to find Allison, no clue he'd fall head over heels for her the second he saw her. That's where it got weird for me.
First, it's just plain creepy that he instantly fell for her after seeking her out at the insistence of her dead sister. Keeping that a secret from her not only made for unnecessary drama, but it also detracted from what could have been a sweet love story. I mean, why couldn't he have told her the truth to begin with -- or at least early on -- and then they could have built a relationship based on truth and transparency? Keeping the existence of her dead sister a secret was just unnecessary
Second, we usually see womanizers like Cedric start bettering themselves after finding the woman they're meant to be with. In his case, though, he continued on with his shallow relationship with someone else, and even though Allison knew he was with someone, she let things get heated with him. It just didn't fit with making me like either character.
And finally... yes, as usual, it's the editing. Or lack of it. The writing is rather unpolished, and I suspect that a good editor would have not only cleared up the author's obvious confusion with tenses, but one would have also stopped the author from unnecessarily repeating everything and being overly descriptive where it wasn't important. That's not to say Penelope Ward is a terrible writer -- I'm sure many of our favorite best sellers had similar problems in their draft forms, and this story had all the makings of something that could have been great -- but it certainly illustrates the importance of a good editor to take a great idea and perfect its delivery.
I had high hopes for this book, but I was ultimately disappointed. I'm extremely picky when it comes to syntax, and while the story started to go a little astray, I probably would have kept reading if it had been well-edited. I know not everyone is so easily distracted by things like that, so there's a good chance other readers won't even notice the mistakes. I just couldn't get past all the sentences that started in past tense and ended in present -- and vice versa. I suppose it's possible that it kept me from finishing a great story, but we'll never know.