Release Date: October 7, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: New Adult
His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy New Adult debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.
Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.
Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.
As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her.
There are a few paranormal authors who jumped into the New Adult bandwagon the latest being Nalini Singh, Kristen Callihan, and now Cecy Robson is joining their ranks. Part of me is excited and curious but I must admit that this "trend" made me nervous because I am not the biggest NA reader/lover out there. The themes depicted in NA fiction, turbulent, angsty, let's-fluck-our-super-sad-you'll-do-an-ugly-cry life and love stories, was unsuccessful in making a fan out of this reader. Yes I'm prejudiced and maybe even close minded but once in a while, I do pick up one for fun. This time around it's for ONCE PERFECT a melodramatic story about a former heiress turned bar waitress and an ex-military, ex-con turned bouncer who found love and hope in each other's lives.
I liked ONCE PERFECT because...
- It was more about the romance and less about the sex. So THANK YOU CRobson for not insulting our intelligence and for stressing that sex may be important but it's good and honest conversations that resolves the problem and not senseless boinking.
- That said, there was some boinking and it was more emotional and intimate than scorching hot.
- ONCE PERFECT didn't dwell on the tragic backstories of Mateo Tres Santos and Evelyn Preston, rather the focus remained on depicting how they're moving on from their sad histories and making the most of what they currently have. Respect!
- Things burned slow and steady for Mateo and Evelyn which I prefer. They took their time in discerning their feelings for each other and developing trust before they took it to the next level.
- The conflict-resolution wasn't inflated so the story didn't have extreme highs and lows, the mood, feel, and tone was even for the most part.
I didn't love it because...
- The characters felt like contemporary duplicates of CRobson's UF series, The Weird Girls: nursing students, steady Alpha males, mouthy BFF's, etc. Evelyn Preston reminded me a LOT of Celia Wird and her besties, Noelle and Lourdes were versions of Taran Wird... weird :|
- Evelyn and Mateo are cool but they didn't excite me. Aside from their bar duties, Evelyn's schooling and Mateo's MMA fights, these two didn't have facets to their characters.
- Mateo is hot and can even be considered attractive but I guess he's not my type. He didn't have a lot of personality IMO.
- It's both funny and annoying how Evelyn was so terrified of having Mateo's giant penis inside of her like it's going to split her in two... but then again if it IS a giant member, I would be scared too.
So ONCE PERFECT is an okay contemporary romance debut but it didn't rouse my emotions and had me holding my breath for the next one. It has some good things going on for it but it lacked a certain intensity to make it a compelling read for me. And I'm not asking for Drama, not at all, just a bit more bounce to Evelyn and Mateo would be enough.