“It’s good for him. No man shouldget every woman he wants. Keeps their douchebaggery to a
tolerable level.”

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★★★
Author: Jamie McGuire
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Maddox Brothers
Followed by:  Beautiful Redemption

Fiercely independent Camille “Cami” Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

Can you be in love with two men?
Someone very wise (that being the amazing Johnny Depp) once said that if you fall in love with someone while you are already in love with someone else, you do not really love the first one, because otherwise you wouldn’t have fallen for the second one.
The actual wording was this:

And that’s the advice I would have given Cami right from the start.
You might love the secruity, the stability, the idea of comfortable routine someone gives you, you might think it easier to just be with someone who already is in your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for something you give yourself the illusion of wanting because it is convenient and what you already know.

Cami’s relationship with T.J. is just that: convenient.
He does not have to put an effort in it, she… I do not know what she actually gets from it. The possibility of having a future family like the one she does not have at home? Happiness, maybe. Love, maybe. Who knows? Personally, if I had to be in a relationship, I would actually like the perks of actually being in one – yeah, and the bad sides of it, too. I like the fights. I am a very belligerent person, and as Cami said, if you are not around each other, how can you fight? Fights are a basic of relationships. They signal the healthiness of it. I mean, you do not have to fight constantly, but it is all right from time to time. You need to vent. And there’s always the peacemaking afterwards.
Cami and T.J. do not have any of this. They do not even seem to know each other. And how do you love someone, if you do not know them? Again, you love the idea of them. It is the same as my love for Johnny Depp. Who knows, if I’d get to know – actually know – the man, I might hate him (not likely, but you get the idea).
Cami and T.J. were doomed from the beginning.

That’s because he seems to me a very passive guy. I mean, your girl tells you a guy kissed her, she might even be in love with him, and you just take it with a shrug and an “oh, ‘kay – I knew this was going to happen”. Dude, don’t waste my time! I would have kicked him (and hard, at that) in the nuts if I could have reached into my Kindle! What kind of a man are you?

Obviously, I was rooting for Trent from the beginning, and I would have liked to bitch-slap Cami a few times for being so oblivious. All in all, this book brought on a lot of aggression on my part. It was frustrating. There are two girls – two! – torn each of them between two guys, and to me both decisions were painfully obvious to make right from the start. Ray should have booted her “first-love-come-back” and never let go of the other guy – but she was too enamoured of the idea of ever-lasting first love to see that first love does not equal true love. Cami, as said, was comfortable with her distance-relationship-non-relationship until Trent opened her eyes (but part of me doubts she opened them up real good when she should have – they are half-mast, I think). Two idiot girls. Poor guys. Thank God this is fiction and all’s well that ends well!

That said, it might come as a surprise, but I liked it. Not excessively so, but well enough. Sure, from the peers and the word on the net, I had very, very, very high expectations, and they might not have been entirely met as I would have liked, but tastes are different and it is what it is.
I liked the story, though. The writing style, too.
I love series that concentrate on brothers, but if I had to compare this first installment of The Maddox Brothers with, say Dominic of The Slater Brothers series, I would definitely choose L.A. Casey. Why? Well, there wasn’t much of a “quest” in here. It was more of a day to day (to week to week to whatever) account of the development of the couple’s relationship. There was no conflict, no real obstacles to overcome.

Do not get me wrong. I liked the book. I liked the surprising ending. I liked it, really. It’s just that, among all the Contemporary Romance books out there, this one was – to me – not particularly outstanding.

“Because even if we were struggling, we had goals. It didn’t matter that we weren’t there yet. What mattered is that we both experienced setbacks, and full-blown failures, but we got up, brushed ourselves off, and kept going-and were making the best of it.”

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