by Tia Louise
Series: One to Hold #2
Published by Tantor Audio on October 6, 2014
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Patrick Knight is a single, retired National Guardsman who now works as a private investigator. He is a closer - a deal maker. He looks clients in the eye and tells them that he'll get it done. And he does. Patrick doesn't do "nice". At least, not anymore. After his fiancée cheats on him, he follows up with a one-night stand and a disastrous office hook-up. His business partner, Derek Alexander, sends him to the desert to get his head straight and to clean up the mess. While there, Patrick meets Elaine Merritt, and blistering sparks fly. But she's not looking for any guy nor a long-distance relationship. Patrick, though, is ready to do anything to keep her, and just when it seems that he's changed her mind, the skeletons from his past life start coming back.
One to Keep is book #2 in Tia Louise’s One to Hold series. It’s definitely important to read the first book before reading this one, otherwise the story will be pretty confusing. I was very excited to read One to Keep because I loved the first book, One to Hold, so much. However, this didn’t work for me at all due to an unsympathetic hero and an unconvincing romance between him and the heroine. Additionally, the resolution of the story struck me as highly unlikely.
The hero, Patrick, is a private investigator who works with Derek (from book #1). Patrick is dealing with heartbreak, having discovered a while back that his fiancée had been cheating on him. As a coping mechanism, he engages in quite a lot of meaningless, casual sex.
What follows for the first half of the book is a strange collection of Patrick’s sexual interactions with random women. Now, I can understand that he’s hurting and just wants to numb the emotional pain, but I just didn’t feel much sympathy for him after all the details about his sex life with women other than the heroine, Elaine. I didn’t understand where this was going. When these trysts finally link up to other elements of the plot, by that point, I just couldn’t connect with him as a character.
Patrick has a one-night stand that eventually has permanent consequences. Then, he hooks up with a woman at work on her first day (!!!), which also results in unforeseen circumstances and leads to a strange subplot that ties back to other characters in the story.
I’m deliberately being vague in order to avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say that I really dislike reading about the hero sleeping with other women for the first half of the book. By the time Elaine shows up, we’ve spent so much time reading about these other women that Patrick and Elaine’s romance feels rushed and not credible. An element of insta-love between them seems like an afterthought.
If you don’t mind spoilers, read on. View Spoiler »There’s a surprise baby subplot, which I HATE with a burning passion. It happens far into the story and if it had occurred earlier, I would have abandoned the book. But because it happens so far in, I felt committed and finished anyway. But I definitely checked out mentally once that part happened.
Worst of all, the surprise baby happens with someone who isn’t the heroine. What?!?! It’s bad enough that I had to read about Patrick sleeping with other women, but having him impregnate someone other than Elaine? No. No no no. Not to mention that the resolution of the baby plot is way too unrealistic and too nicely wrapped up. Elaine ends up raising the baby of her true love’s one-night stand?! I didn’t believe it at all. Elaine actually states that she’s happy that Patrick got the other woman pregnant. *headdesk* Elaine struck me as a huge pushover. She’s so smitten with Patrick (for reasons still unclear to me) that she’s willing to raise someone else’s unplanned baby in order to keep him as her man. I don’t think so. I’m not okay with that. « Hide Spoiler
Unfortunately, One to Keep just didn’t work for me, so I can’t recommend it. I would still recommend book #1 in the series, but I’m not sure if I’ll be reading book #3 or the rest of the series any time soon.
Rating: 2 stars