After losing his fiancée, Ben Covington is unsure he'll ever love again. But he's so deeply drawn to Bell Wilde that he's thrown for a loop. Maybe it's purely sexual chemistry that's igniting their spark...or maybe it's his second chance at love. Bell Wilde has just gotten her life back on track and may not be up to the challenge of Ben Covington coming back into it. However, once the spark is reignited...there's no stopping it. But even if they both manage to pull together their frayed hearts, a secret from Bell's past just might shatter them both. Contains mature themes.
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If you've been following the series then you'll know that whilst in College, and before he went missing for years, the handsome Ben was unfaithful to Dahlia by sleeping once with Bell. Ben's life was a downhill spiral but now he's rebuilt his life from drink and women however he certainly isn't looking, or wanting, to fall in love again.
Bell always was attracted to Ben but when he returned all she wanted was a sex only relationship because she didn't want to be hurt again and she thought the secret she held and her family's dislike of Ben would make it impossible for anything more to happen between them. But the more they 'got together' the more they were pulled closer together by their sexual chemistry and she fell for him a second time but just as they were deepening their relationship Bell told him of the heartbreaking secret she kept from him for so long and it rocked Ben's faith and trust in Bell.
Guilt, attraction, lust, sex, angst, anger, regrets, redemption, forgiveness and character growth led to second chances and a sweet HEA. There were also well loved characters, family and friends from the previous books and some not so nice threatening characters too.
Worth a credit? If you've been following this series then the answer has to be YES to hear this final instalment of what happened between these two past lovers and to hear all the news about the other Hs/Hs from the previous three books. I didn't like it as much as some of the others and felt the story was slow in parts and rushed and missing details in other parts. Not really a stand alone listen as you'd miss the histories of their first meetings, the backstory and the fall-out that followed. I felt the narrators were slow in this final book and failed to express the varying emotional range needed.
- CAROLYN "I love being swept away by a new romance and thankfully Audible's ever growing Library means I get to indulge myself over and over again"
juvenile; poorly addressed adult themes; sex
My first impression is about feeling duped albeit unintentionally. I didn’t enjoy the female narrator and likely wouldn’t have purchased the story if her part had been in the book sample I listened to. So having the story swing between the two narrators didn’t work for me, since I didn’t experience them in the same way. Similarly, I didn’t like the split focus on both Ben and Bell, simultaneously having both characters tell their side of the same story. The author did a poor job of making it clear when the characters were in the past or in the present. I don’t always dislike this type of storytelling, but here, it didn’t work for me. And I think it was due to the female narrator. I just didn’t like her for this story. And it might have been largely due to me thinking I was getting one story, focused on one character, and getting something else.
The story is told from the first time they met, which was during college as undergraduates. I generally avoid stories about college-age characters, and Belle acted as an immature college-age female the entire story. Even when it focused on the present, it was confusing. It seemed like Belle’s life was that of someone fresh out of college & quite young. While Ben’s life, the way he behaved and spoke, made him seem older, the age he was supposed to be, somewhere in his later 20s. Another reason I thought this story was one of older people was because the book description referred to Ben dealing with his fiance’s leaving. I was very disappointed to hear a story where that was not quite the case, Belle and Ben, especially Belle did not act older, not even as mature people in their late 20s. Matt was a much more interesting, complex and mature character than Belle. She just messed this story up for me in every way.
Clearly, I didn’t like Belle. I may have liked the book better if the book only focused on Ben, as I initially thought it would. In the story, Belle said she was a “young, immature woman” when she first met Ben in college and has since “grown up.” I wish that mature, now grown up woman was present in this story, but she wasn’t. The Belle in this story was still the “young, immature woman" unfortunately. I quickly tired of everything being described as “amazing” by Belle and other females in the story. It was yet another indication of the adolescent flavor of this story. Then, when Belle tried to say something other than “amazing,” she failed again with a phrase like “utterly beautiful,” which is also a juvenile syntax error. She added “utter perfection” and “utter good looks”—in one sentence—to the riveting juvenile phrases. And, to describe Ben’s expensive, uniquely-designed house that juts out over the ocean, she described it to him as “super nice.” I thought that showed more immaturity coming from a woman in her 20s that had experienced some difficulty in her life and, supposedly, grew from it.
Belle and Ben’s relationship was also uninteresting. The author’s attempt at creating unique or hot sex scenes, like a college student-professor role play, was boring and poorly done. And the reason for them trying to avoid each other was so weak. So the rest of the story, watching their struggle to avoid each other romantically, was not entertaining. And the relationship between Belle and Ben was too over the top. EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, Ben did turned on Belle and vice versa. It was like listening to a story about adolescents and their first crush. Practically everything was about their physical attributes, as well, and how it impacted each of them physically, sexually, in turn. It was just all too juvenile for me. And the great reveal didn’t add much to me. For some reason, that is unclear to me, Belle’s secret was not surprising once she revealed it to Ben. It may have been because it happened about half way through the 11+ hour story; I’m not sure. And, unfortunately, it did very little to rejuvenate any interest in this story. In fact, the incident reinforced Belle’s degree of adolescence. And the author did a poor job of seriously handling or addressing the various issues surrounding the secret. Though its handling was very in line with the way immature Belle lived life, so maybe there should be some credit given for consistency in the story, even if the aspects that were consistent were irritating.
After battling through more than 3 hours of the story, I literally cringed when I checked how much longer I had to endure this story and saw that it was more than 8 hours. I paid for it, so I was determined to make it through it. It was like taking bad medicine; I had to schedule taking in the parsed pieces to make listening to it more bearable. I constantly hoped that it would get better. It didn’t. So I started fast forwarding within the 6 hour range. I no longer cared about the intricacies of the story just the gist of it. Then, like the secret revealed halfway through the story, I also guessed rightly that what happened in the end was going to happen. So I was just happy when it was over.