A Mess of a Man by A.M. Hargrove & Terri E. Laine
Series: Cruel and Beautiful, #2
Publication Date: March 21, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Other books in the series: Cruel and Beautiful
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4 A MESS OF A MAN STARS (★★★★)
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of this book and the words in this review. ***
When I decided to read A Mess of a Man, I wasn’t aware that it was a sequel to Cruel and Beautiful. I only found that out when I read the first chapter. And then I was so happy, because when I finished Cruel and Beautiful I really wanted to read about Ben’s story. So you can imagine how satisfying it was to actually get the chance to do so. Cruel and Beautiful was a heartbreaking tale, poignant and intriguing. And so was A Mess of a Man.
“I want this. I want you. I can’t get you out of my head.”
“But you don’t do relationships.”
“But what I can’t do is be without you.”
Ben Rhoades is broken over his best friend’s death, Drew (from Cruel and Beautiful). Drew was like a brother to him. Even a year after Drew’s death, he hasn’t found a way to put it behind him. To deal with all that pain, he tries to lose himself into women and alcohol. Although, he has a good job, working for his father, their relationship is strenuous. All he ever wanted in his life was to earn respect from his dad. Looking for validation from him. Ben’s charming ways help him a lot, he knows exactly what to tell women to get them into his bed. Until he meets Samantha Calhoun in the supermarket. Their is an instant connection between the two, and even though he doesn’t really do dates, they go out on a date together. The beautiful owner of an event planning company is different from the women Ben usually goes for, like she doesn’t do the whole casual hook-up thing. And she has a strange hold on him.
Going in, they both have different expectations. Ben is looking for another good lay in the sack, but Sam takes it a little bit more serious. Even when Ben fucks up a couple of times, they seem to get drawn together every time. Because Sam doesn’t want to give up her time with Ben, she decides, after some prodding from her friends, to take a leap for once and suggests she and Ben could do the friends with benefits thing.
Soon, the feelings Sam has for Ben keep her from protecting her heart. And Ben also can’t stop thinking about Sam, but with everything that happened with ex-girlfriends and Drew, he thinks he could never be could enough for her. He doesn’t know how to love or let people in. So he tries to keep Sam at arm’s length. The same he does with his friends from work. Will he be able to keep Sam away or will she worm her way in his heart? And when that happens, will they be strong enough to keep a strong and solid relationship?
First of all, Lauren, Samantha’s living partner and best friend, is so supportive. Seriously best friend ever!
Same style of prologue as in Cruel and Beautiful. Giving you a glimpse of what is yet to happen in the storyline. After reading it, I already felt a connection to Ben who is being displayed as one hell of a broken man. From the first moment, it was so clear that A Mess of a Man has the same pleasant writing style and feel as Cruel and Beautiful.
The instant attraction between Sam and Ben stroke me as odd and not natural. It wasn’t really believable. I had the same problem with the instant connection between Cate and Drew in Cruel and Beautiful. For a long time, I found it very difficult to fully become part of the story. I kept reading, because wanted to find out how the story between Sam and Ben unfolded. But as the story progressed, when I really got to know both characters, I loved it. I do think though that Samantha could have more depth. I really got to know Ben, but Sam not so much. I’m talking about more details from her personality. I did feel for her, so essentially the details now where just enough for me. I loved the perfect END!
A Mess of a Man is a heartbreaking tale of how to handle the loss of your best friend and finding love in between. Love is the healing power in this story. A Mess of a Man is a heart wrenching and comforting must-read!
There is finality to the sound of the door closing behind her. A sort of tormenting peace knowing the end has come. It’s not like I should have expected things to go on this way for long. How could they?
I stare holes in the walls as if I can still see her, the one woman I let in.
Sweeter than peach cobbler, she hardly has a bad thing to say about anybody—until now. Her parting description of me, beginning with ass and ending with hole, reverberates through my hollow heart, as I stand here rooted to my spot. I’m not even shocked, as this isn’t the first time I’ve been on the receiving end of that sentiment. I’m only surprised because I don’t think I’ve ever heard her so much as mutter a single curse word before. And the first time I do, it’s aimed squarely at me.
My hands tighten around a tumbler filled with amber liquid before I toss back its contents hoping for oblivion or something close to it. This road is so familiar. Only this time is different. I never cared like I do now. She means more to me than a quick fuck. Hadn’t I been about to tell her just that? How could things have gone wrong so fast?
Don’t be a dumbass. You can still fix this.
Instead, I stubbornly stay embedded to my spot because nothing can change the outcome. It’s a truth she and I know will haunt me until my last breath. And it’s created a wall between us I’m unable to climb … even if you gave me a damn ladder.
I’ve never been much of a risk-taker when it comes to matters of the heart. I can fill a bank account with a number having many zeros behind it from my astute choices in the market. But I can’t be a man a woman stays with. Hadn’t I warned her about that too?
Unable to see past my own shitty existence, I long for her to come back. I want to believe it’s all been some kind of mistake and I can forget what I know to be true. As the seconds continue to tick by, the inevitability that things are really over sinks in. My window of opportunity quickly closes as fast as her car door slams and the engine fires to life.
She’s so close, yet miles away. The longer I let the minutes expand between us I know distance won’t make the heart grow fonder. But maybe it’s for the best. Love, or whatever masquerades as it, just isn’t enough for the dirty, fucked up truth. Right when things were better than I ever expected, facts messed it up.
Groaning, I launch the crystal glass worth a small fortune at the door I can’t seem to force myself towards. A beautiful show of light plays off the shards as they cascade down in an explosion of fireworks. Visually, it’s what I feel inside as desolation constricts and then obliterates my chest because the best thing I ever had is gone … leaving me with only the certainty I’m meant to be with her.
I love you, I whisper for the first time and in place of goodbye. She left me and will never hear it. I can only pray we both survive what’s to come.
ABOUT A.M. HARGROVE
ABOUT TERRI E. LAINE
Terri E. Laine, USA Today bestselling author, left a lucrative career as a CPA to pursue her love for writing. Outside of her roles as a wife and mother of three, she’s always been a dreamer and as such became an avid reader at a young age.
In her early years, she and her best friend would tell each other stories over the phone when they were bored. They called them their “soap operas” and generally revolved around whatever boy they liked at the time.
Many years later, she got a crazy idea to write a novel and set out to try to publish it. With over a dozen titles published under various pen names, the rest is history. Her journey has been a blessing, and a dream realized. She looks forward to many more memories to come.