There really was so much going against this book. On its own, it's pretty hard to sell an adult contemporary romance between a hugely successful professional surfer with a sob story and the similarly haunted publicist sent to fix his wrecked image. The potential for cliches is astounding, all of which Maverick delivered on. If you're looking for something original and fresh, mixing surfing with mediocre angst is probably as far as this book will take you.
But the ride really wasn't that bad. After getting my mind screwed pretty thoroughly by my last read, I found myself enjoying the predictable turns this story took me in for.
What this book lacked in originality, it totally made up for with character likability.
Kellen was my biggest surprise. He's a professional surfer who carries the baggage of losing his best friend in a freak accident and he deals with it thru drunk sex and punching disgruntled boyfriends in bars. The moment he started to rationalize his misogyny to Gina, the snark was full on locked and loaded.
Thankfully some redemption was in the horizon. How he ended up reasonable and obedient, knowing when to defer to Gina in matters that are not his expertise (which pretty much covers everything outside sex and surfing, heh) was squee-worthy. Or maybe it was the knowing when to shut up and belt out an apology that did me in.
I love me some apologetic, surfer dudes… especially when they're shirtless in my brain.
Gina as the publicist who fell for her client is begging for some hate and I think I may have gone there a good couple of times here. I may have raised an eyebrow over one scene where she was daydreaming of Kellen while ironing his shirt for an event because Jesus H, what is this, the 50's? But I really appreciate that she's good at her job and admire her tenacity in the face of all that has happened to her in the past.
Not so much her reason for resisting Kellen in the first place (outside the professionalism issue) which makes absolutely no sense for a smart woman like her.
This was told in an alternate POV and I really liked that it shifted from Kellen to Gina's perspective when it best served the reader's interest and not as something that feels forced to balance out the POV counts. Kellen's thoughts were pretty credible as a male written by a female author. This usually means peppering the character's inner monologues with expletives to cut the maleness across which Anna Cruise successfully avoided… by falling through a different kind of trap.
He wore a white polo with the organization's logo on the front in tiny red letters, a pair of black shorts and loafers I was sure were full of sand. There should be a rule about wearing shoes on the beach.
I dunno, the over-description, not to mention noticing other girls' nail polish and eyeliner, ruins the maleness for me. And I wasn't sure if he was concerned about the beach or the shoes in that one. And speaking of fashion choices.
I checked my reflection in the mirror, then after a moment, tucked the shirt into my shorts and grabbed a belt from my closet.
I respect our individual fashion preferences and all, but my fashion preference is hoping he's using that belt to go hang himself for even considering that get-up.
I quite appreciated that the romance wasn't in-your-face saccharine cheese and diabetus since most of the gushing and fawning were in the characters' minds and they pretty much acted like rational people on the outside. The last 20% did succumb to the stereotypical rape rescue and everything gets resolved by the universal power of mind-blowing condom-less sex but at 90-ish% I felt raging about it was pointless anyway.
So a cliche-ridden but enjoyable read that I feel is best consumed after getting thoroughly mind-screwed by your last book.
ARC provided by the author thru NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.