Series: North Carolina Highlands, #4
Release Date: September 2nd, 2021
But old habits die hard.
Amelia Fox was my high school sweetheart, the girl who broke my heart and nearly ended my football career nine years ago. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other, much less make a comeback.
But I did come back. And I’m not about to let go of everything I fought for just because my world is imploding again.
When I find out I’m the father of a two-year-old boy, I’m ready to start my final season in the pros. It’s my last chance to nab the championship I promised my dad I’d win before he died.
Enter Amelia: teacher, toddler whisperer, and—oh yeah—my ex-girlfriend. We haven’t spoken in almost a decade, but I’m desperate, and she’s looking for a job.
I need to focus, which means I need help with this kid. Which means I need her.
The arrangement works until one night of bad decisions and great sex threatens to ruin everything.
Can we make it work this time around?
Or is she just another bad habit I need to break before she breaks me?
After getting up close and personal with Rhett during his road trip with Hank in the third book of the series, I was really looking forward to seeing how his life and story would play out. And I am happy to announce that I still love Rhett Beauregard and want only the best for him every step of the way.
If you’ve read Southern Sinner, then you know Rhett didn’t have the best football season, which is why he was happy to tag along with Hank and his desire to escape life at the Farm. But the crazy things don’t stop there for Rhett. Not only is he back home, he comes face-to-face with the one woman that he’s never gotten over. The same woman that broke his heart and almost cost him a football career. And then (oh yeah, Rhett gets handed a rough round) a woman he drunkenly hooked up with years ago dies, leaving their son and Rhett needs to step up and be the man he never thought he could be. And then there’s Amelia, the girl who got away. She’s also had a pretty rough go at it recently after being fired from her job at the school her late mother started and being left high and dry by the man she thought she loved. It’s a lot for her to handle and Amelia isn’t doing so well. Obviously seeing Rhett again brings up old feelings and it’s confusing and it’s stressful. And it only gets worse when Rhett asks her to help him with Liam, his son, and their relationship gets even more complicated.
Rhett and Liam have my whole heart. Those two, that relationship, it was so pure. I absolutely loved watching Rhett go from being a scared man to finding himself in the chaos of being a father. As the title suggests, Rhett is the ultimate playboy and he’s made a life for himself as a good football player and as someone women all over America would fall over themselves for. So when he’s put on the spot to raise this kid, Rhett totally steps up to the plate. And he does it so beautifully. It felt so natural, watching him struggle first, then pick himself up and then grow up and all the while, he’s leaning on Amelia to guide him in the right direction. And he’s learning. That was another thing I absolutely loved about Rhett, he didn’t stop learning how to be the dad Liam needs and he didn’t back down even when everything in him panicked to do just that. Character growth was totally on point!
Prepare yourselves for a slow burn, because after everything they’ve been through as a couple, Rhett and Amelia don’t necessarily trust each other with their hearts. More Amelia than Rhett, but it’s definitely going to take both parties some time to really give in and feel the feelings. I both loved and hated how Amelia was with Rhett. Of course she wants him in more than just a simple friends kinda way, but after how things were handled when they were teenagers, she’s unsure about letting herself go. Except, the feelings are there and she’s very confused and caught up in what all of that means for her. And Amelia’s got trust issues, especially given the last relationship she was in and how that turned out for her.
“We’re chasing the wild because neither of us knows if—when—the chase is going to end.”
While I didn’t feel the chemistry between Rhett and Amelia, I will admit that the little family the three of them make up was absolutely precious. I love how Liam wasn’t an easy baby, how it took him time to accept every single person that came into his life. I enjoyed watching Amelia fall in love with Liam and realise that she wants it all and she doesn’t want to compromise. The trio really made me love the book so much, because you get to see different sides of characters when a baby or a child is involved and Rhett and Amelia definitely showed themselves and in the right way for the romance to grow.
Though, I will say that this book is a lot less steamier than the other ones. But their first time together after all those years apart? It was hot and it was hilarious, in equal measure. It really shows you the depth of their friendship, connection and why a relationship might work. I loved how uninhibited they are with each other in and out of bed, and obviously that one scene is forever going to be imprinted on my brain because it was fantastic.
As always, with this series, the Beauregard family is priceless. From Junie to the brothers, their wives and girlfriends – it’s so wonderful. I love just how tight knit they are and how the minute something goes wrong, they all step up to help out. I’m a huge fan of family dynamics in romance novels and Jessica Peterson has created such an incredible group with the Beauregard gang! I know there’s one more book left in the series and I am so excited for Milly, because we’ve been seeing her fiery spirit since the beginning and I am giddy with excitement to see what happens with her story!
Thanks to Jessica Peterson and Valentine PR for providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.