Title: True Connections
Author: Clarissa Yip
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
Lia McEvil is back in town, and Max is in trouble.
Max Sheraton and Lia McEvers have been rivals since childhood. Not even the kiss that chased Lia away could make them stop fighting. Now, five years later, Lia’s back in her hometown of Grant to open a new branch of her matchmaking business, True Connections–and Max finds himself in the line of fire when their families conspire for Max to make a connection of his own. Under pressure from both their grandmothers, Lia and Max embark on a scheme to find Max a suitable match, but it doesn’t take a compatibility profile to tell the real connection is between Max and Lia. Between sizzlingly hot kisses that turn into tempestuous fights, their attraction turns explosive enough to break down the antagonism between them.
But Lia has a secret that’s chased her home…and that may be the one thing that can stop Lia and Max from making the true connection they so desperately crave.
This novella left me a little disappointed. I love the premise, and the hero charmed me, but I never felt that I understood Lia. Her character was inconsistent, and about halfway through the story, I wondered where she was coming from. She had been so strong and confident, but then, just as her feelings for Max were starting to get the best of her, she devolved into a self-doubting, second-guessing bundle of stress. I wasn’t expecting this from her. While she could be self-absorbed, I didn’t ever think of her as a wilting flower, and this change didn’t win my sympathy. While both she and Max were given to bouts of intense jealousy, the woe is me attitude from Lia was a let down. I wanted her to be stronger, especially with Max, a man she has known all of her life.
Lia McEvers is back in her home town, and she’s opened a matching-making service. When the two women who raised her request that she take Max as a client, she is reluctant to agree. Max has been her nemesis since childhood. The grandson of her grandmother’s best friend, he has been a thorn in her side forever. He was also her first real kiss, but about two seconds after rocking her world, she caught him with another woman. Five years later, reeling from a broken heart, she’s back in town to get herself back together. One thing she doesn’t need is Max there to confuse her, but her grandmother and her friend are stubborn and insist that Lia find a proper date for Max for their big annual party.
Max isn’t exactly happy to see Lia back in town, either. He has nicknamed her McEvil, and after all of the grief that she’s caused him, it’s no wonder that he is balking at having anything to do with her. Where Lia travels, pain and aggravation follow. Stitches, bruises, and embarrassment are the norm when dealing with her. After a list of the pain and suffering he’s endured, I decided that Max was a saint. The younger version of Lia was impulsive, and while trying to get his attention, didn’t think before acting. The older version of her isn’t much better.
I loved this novella until about the 50% mark, and that is where Lia turned from bold and impressive to emotionally damaged and vulnerable. I normally like characters who are dealing with self-doubt, but I thought the change here was too abrupt and with the shorter length of the story, not well developed. I bought into everything else about this story, even Lia’s quick and painless reconciliation with her estranged mother, so I am not sure why this one plot point didn’t work for me. After this point, I enjoyed the story best when told from Max’s POV. He is a wonderful hero, and I could see Lia falling completely head over heels for him.
If you are looking for a quick, steamy read, this is a good option. The hero is to die for, and while the heroine didn’t wow me, I still found the story entertaining.
Review copy provided by publisher