by Jaci Burton
Series: Hope #4
Published by Tantor Audio on June 16, 2015
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High school math teacher Chelsea Gardner has the perfect plan. She's tired of dating all the wrong men, and after years of frustration, she's developed a foolproof list of requirements for finding "the one."
Bar owner Sebastian "Bash" Palmer finds Chelsea beautiful, smart, and fun, but he thinks her list is ridiculous and unnecessary. Intent on proving that Chelsea is looking for love in all the wrong ways, he offers to help her find the "perfect" man. Chelsea knows that Bash isn't the right guy for her - he barely meets one of her criteria - but there's something about the charismatic man that has her yearning for things that are most definitely not list approved. Because sometimes, a relationship that looks totally wrong on paper can turn out to be incredibly right....
Love After All is book #4 in Jaci Burton’s Hope series. Although this book started out strong, it seemed to drag on needlessly, causing me to lose interest toward the end. A sweet epilogue helped to wrap up the story nicely, but overall this was just an okay read for me.
Chelsea is a high school math teacher who has been unlucky in love. She’s determined to finally find the right guy, so she creates a list for the perfect man. Right off the bat, I had some trouble liking Chelsea simply because the demands of her list are so impossible. The list is very specific, like “must have a 9 to 5 job,” “must not like sports,” “must not have been married before,” “must not have crazy ex-girlfriends,” and so on. But how many great guys does this rule out because Chelsea’s requirements are so rigid?
Local bar owner Sebastian (Bash) finds out about Chelsea’s list and wants to prove to her how ridiculous it is. Bash is attracted to Chelsea–if I recall correctly, the two of them shared a heated glance in the previous book–and Chelsea’s attracted in return, but Bash doesn’t fit any of the criteria on her list. Bash works late hours due to his job at the bar, he’s divorced, and his short-term, crazy ex-girlfriend bought a dog just to impress him. Crazy ex also ends up dumping the poor dog on Bash, who quickly takes the dog in. So despite Chelsea’s chemistry with Bash, she won’t allow herself to pursue anything with him since he doesn’t meet her requirements for the perfect guy.
The story started out strong for me because of Chelsea and Bash’s good chemistry and enjoyable banter. However, when Bash tries to help Chelsea out by setting her up on a blind date, the book takes an odd turn. I didn’t know if it was a trick of some kind, but suffice it to say that this guy ends up not working out at all for Chelsea.
Somehow, Bash and Chelsea wind up hooking up instead. Of course, there’s the standard “we’re just doing this for sex/friends with benefits” arrangement that never ends up lasting once feelings get involved. It’s just a matter of time before they fall for each other and want something more than a temporary physical relationship.
In general, I liked Chelsea and Bash well enough as characters, despite the fact that Chelsea got on my nerves a bit in the beginning. Bash is very sweet, but ultimately I think I didn’t really connect with this story on a meaningful level. It’s getting to the point where everyone in Hope is pairing up and I’m wondering if the series will go on for much longer since the majority of the main characters in the town have all fallen in love. I’ll continue reading, but I’m hoping that the next book will have a more interesting premise or more unique characters than this book had.
Rating: 3 stars