Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In Rai's emotional contemporary series launch, dysfunctional families, mental illness, and true love vie for center stage. After a protracted absence, 30-year-old Olivia "Livvy" Kane rolls back into her hometown of Rockville, N.Y., setting everyone's teeth on edge. Her childhood friend and later occasional lover, Nicholas Chandler, has particularly mixed feelings about seeing her. The formerly inseparable sweethearts have only rendezvoused of late for an annual night of passion. Otherwise, each has ostensibly participated in an ongoing feud between their two families. Livvy plans a longer stay than usual as she helps to nurse her passive-aggressive mother back to health after hip surgery. The visit acts as a catalyst for deeply entrenched bitterness-between and within families-to surface, though hit-or-miss characterizations sometimes lessen its impact. The story line is complex but the ending feels rushed as Rai concludes with a much too easy-almost flippant-dismissal of the blood feud she spent so much effort building up. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by Library Journal Review
Ten years ago, a devastating tragedy shattered the business and personal relationships between Olivia Kane's and Nicholas Chandler's families, making it impossible for the two to be together. Their solution is that Livvy would text Nicholas every year on her birthday, wherever she was in the world, and he would meet her for one ardent night, giving them the chance to be who they once were. But Livvy has come back to town, if only temporarily, and her presence not only dredges up the past, it zeroes in on their relationship-if only Livvy and Nico can get on the same page and figure out how to make things right. Jealousy, resentment, and betrayal are at the core of the conflict in this story, a pattern card for dysfunctional families. VERDICT Emotional anguish; page--singeing, explicit sex; relatable, sympathetic protagonists; and a realistic, well-crafted plot add up to an irresistible read that erotic romance fans will be sure to savor. Rai (Serving Pleasure) lives in Washington, DC. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
After a decade of birthday hookups, a man and woman whose magical love was destroyed by their warring families face their pasts and rediscover one another. First in a series.When tragedy and betrayal ripped apart their families, Nicholas Chandler and Livvy Kane's romance was collateral damage. Nicholas stayed in New York to run the family business while Livvy fled, living a nomadic lifestyle as a tattoo artist. Unable to completely sever their physical connection, they continued to meet once a year for a night of passion in what Livvy calls a "repetitive cycle of pain and desire." But when Livvy returns home to care for her ailing mother, neither disapproving relatives nor the pain of reopening old wounds can keep them away from each other. Rai (Night Whispers, 2013, etc.) approaches her characters with sharpness and sensitivity, deftly establishing Nicholas and Livvy's deep connection in the opening pages. Nicholas' disciplined compartmentalization of his life requires shutting out feelings that would force him to reconsider his choices, while Livvy's tendency to collect unruly emotional baggage is literally written on her skin. Rai is at the forefront of a new wave of romance writers for whom themes of racial and ethnic identity, gender and sexuality, and mental health are not extras but integral to the romance plot because they are necessary for building characters and their worlds. Livvy's experience of depression in particular is authentically portrayed: "Guilt and sadness and darkness were like a fine overlay on her entire life, a veil with the power to tarnish anything good that came her way." A tremendously intriguing cast of secondary characters across three generations includes the couple's siblings, whose stories readers will clamor for. Without ever losing focus on Nicholas and Livvy, Rai shows how porous and mutable the lines between the past and the present, the personal and the familial, the body and the soul really are. A sexy, emotionally intense romance wrapped in a fascinating family saga, this is the complete package: hot, heartbreaking, and supremely satisfying. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.