Before you get down on bended knee…
…you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O'Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she's got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it's the perfect time to get married.
When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who's now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she's positive married life isn't for her.
But this time, Connor says it's all or nothing. If she doesn't want to marry him, he'll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he's never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn't quite as sure as she thinks…
Being familiar with the author, I was expecting a fun, light romance, with lots of laughs and humor, but this turned out to be a different kind of tale. First, it starts with a break up, and then goes back in time, to show how Jess and Connor grew up in the same small town, how they got to know each other, and evened up in an on again off again relationship for ten years. A relationship Connor is now trying to change and make a commitment.
The characters are dealing with a lot in their lives, with responsibility, and alcoholism, Jess takes care of her brother, and working full time, basically running the family, until she is able to leave with her brother, and built a life for them on their own. All very serious issues, and they were taken in that manner.
I understand Jess' need to take care of her brother, and it was endearing, but it also came somewhat an excuse, to keep others at three feet distance. I think she used it against Conner, and Connor was very sweet and understanding, to let her do it, again and again. Connor is easy to like, and relate to, his kindness his biggest fault.
The story spent most of the time in the past, looking at Jess and Connor get to the place where they are in present time, both in their lives and their romance. I wish there would have been more about the present time, about Jess comes to her 'senses'. I wasn't 100% convinced about the ending, that she really was ready and able to commit to the HEA. I'm glad there's an epilogue, that brings the story to more of a conclusion.
As friends with benefits for ten years, are trying to figure out, if there's a chance for more in their relationship, their history and past together is relived, and shown how they came into the conclusion, that after all the turmoil, love wins
~ Three Spoons