Review: “The Exception” by Lauren H. Mae & Rosalie Rooks

Series: Summer Nights, #3

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: June 30th, 2021

Add to Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Sonya Pope is pragmatic, always rational, and has no time for setbacks, so when she arrives at her elopement to find her fiance wants to break up rather than get married, she uses the flight home to reprioritize. But when a woman on the plane has a medical emergency, she puts her mental list-making on hold and jumps to action. Unfortunately, so does the cocky, almost-paramedic two rows back.

Ben “Trav” Travis totally got to that patient first, but the cranky nurse with the pretty brown eyes made a big show of taking charge. Sure, he might be one clinical rotation away from actually being a certified paramedic, but he has real-life experience. The kind he wouldn’t wish on anyone.

When Trav shows up at the hospital two days later to find the same woman is his preceptor, a second battle begins. Trav’s got too much riding on this to let a woman with a chip on her shoulder make his life miserable, and Sonya’s not about to let a pretty-boy with an adventure complex disrupt the one area of her life that she still has control over. But when a patient they both grow to care about needs their help, their head vs heart battle sparks into something neither one of them trained for.


From the moment I met Lauren H. Mae’s characters and her wonderful stories, I have been in love. If you haven’t yet, please go get your copies of The Catch and The Rules, because you’ll meet a whole host of characters that will complete your life. And it’s a good way to know who is who before you dive into the magic that is Sonya and Trav.

The third book in the series is the first of a collaboration between Lauren and Rosalie and it’s just as beautiful as the first two. And if that’s not enough, we get to reconnect with all of our old favourites – Cat, Dani and Emma are all back and fierce as always. And let’s not forget Josh and Dylan! I’d also like to take this time to apologise to Dylan Pierce for abandoning him as my favourite Summer Nights hero, but it’s become clear to me that nobody can compare to Ben ‘Trav’ Travis and that is all.

There’s just something about interconnected book series, because you know what you get in those kinds of stories? The most amazing friends ever. Cat, Dani, Emma and Sonya are such an entertaining group of friends and The Exception has some exceptional scenes (pun not intended) of them all sitting together and talking. As someone who has a tiny group of friends I lean on for everything, this group made me so damn happy. They all have their quirks and personality traits, but when they’re together, they are so much fun. I love how supportive, understanding and generous they are with their time. But also just how powerful that representation of female friends is. Let’s not forget the boys, though. I’ve always loved the friendship between Josh and Dylan, and while they are more focused on their women now, seeing this whole gang together made me so happy. And this group of friends is going to stay in my heart forever!

“This wasn’t a polite response to being kissed, no. He kissed her like he wanted her and he needed her to know it.”

Now, onto this wonderful book. Sonya and Trav are complete opposites, but that’s what makes them so wonderful. Sonya lives by rules and a list of things that she must achieve. She’s careful and plans ahead and never strays from what she’s set out for herself. Trav is a little more open to trying new things. He’s spent 14 years taking orders from someone else in the army and now he just wants to do his own thing. And his mere existence in her life upsets the plans, lists and rules Sonya has made for herself. Because as her friends point out, Trav is the exception to her entire being.

I relate to Sonya so hard. I love making lists, I love following them and I like knowing what to expect. I’m not always looking to enjoy surprises or something new, but I’m open to the idea. Sonya is not only very focused on her life, but she’s also an incredible friends, a kind soul and she pours her everything into her work. As a mental health nurse, Sonya takes her job very seriously and she doesn’t want anything getting in the way of achieving what she’s set out to do. But that doesn’t make her boring – she knows how to have a good time and she does it as often as she possibly can. But always her job comes first. I love her so much, guys. Sonya is a powerful, badass boss babe and she’s so dedicated to everything important in her life. I love that she’s the level headed one in her friends circle, the predictable one with routines that she follows actively. In short, she’s all of us, but also the kind of woman that we all wish we could be.

“As far as first dates go, you’re rewriting another page in my diary.”

Trav, Trav, Trav. Ugh. How do you not exist in the real world? First of all, his name is Ben Travis, but he refuses to go by that. Not only because his father is a first rate douchenozzle, but because after being in the military for so long where his surname was what he was called, he’s just stuck with it. There is nothing about Trav I don’t like. He’s charming, funny, smart, sarcastic, flirtatious, sexy as all get out and of course he’s a paramedic in training (it’s those uniforms that get me, I tell you). Trav isn’t the smoothest of guys and he’s not always going to say the right thing or do everything the right way, but he’s definitely going to do whatever it takes to try and get there. Under all this bluster, Trav is a great guy. I love how he doesn’t fall under the pressure of his job or how he definitely wants to get out from under his father’s frustrating shadow and how he wants to be his own man. He’s also determined and passionate about his work, which just makes you respect him more even if he makes more than a few wrong moves. The term cinnamon roll can be used liberally here, because that is exactly what Trav is and so much more.

Before I ramble on about these characters, let me just tell you HOW MUCH I LOVED THEIR RELATIONSHIP. It’s a slow burn, so brace yourselves. They have so much delicious sexual tension that is mostly built up from Sonya being frustrated with Trav at every turn for the way he functions. Trav enjoys it, let’s be honest. I wouldn’t classify this as enemies to lovers, but Sonya definitely wants to clock Trav every time they’re in a room together, so it’s probably a one-sided enemies thing more than anything. But the build-up is glorious. Trav, without even realising it, is chipping away at Sonya and when she finally trips and falls into him, I let out the shakiest sigh of relief. THIS is the kind of slow burn I want, where you get to watch the two of them fall for each other through all the frustrations and the cute moments and the fumbling.

“I would have accidentally kissed you a hundred time before that if I didn’t think you’d fire me.”

Their first kiss is all kinds of hot and every kiss, touch, accidental brush and look after that is loaded. And let me tell you, the combination of Lauren and Rosalie writing these characters adds so much spiciness and sexiness to their steamy scenes that I actually had to stop myself at one point to catch my breath. Their chemistry is off the charts – Sonya and Trav, as well as Lauren and Rosalie, obviously – and even though they want each other desperately, there is no rushing through the growth of their relationship. They push and pull, grab at each other and enjoy even the little things. They were cute while being sexy, they were hot while being adorable and they completely captivated me from the moment they meet (-hate) to the moment they fall in love.

Lauren and Rosalie, you guys have ruined me. Thanks for that, by the way, it’s totally worth it. I loved every moment of this book, I loved the insight into Sonya and Trav’s jobs, their histories and of course their extended friendships. There’s so much goodness in this book, and I can’t wait for everyone to soak it up and fall in love with Sonya and Trav like I have. Please note, you cannot have Trav. You can fall in love with him from a distance. 

Thanks to Lauren H. Mae and Rosalie Rooks for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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