A hot butch / femme romance audiobook
I read this book when it was released in 2020 and loved it but, for some bizarre reason, I put off listening to the audiobook version, read by one of my favourite narrators, Lori Prince. Now that I’ve finally listened to it, I’m asking myself why I didn’t do it earlier…
Ashleigh McAllister is going through a rough patch, her ex-wife left her for a man and now she seems to bump into them in their neighbourhood all the time. As Summer approaches she decides to spend it sightseeing in NYC by herself. That is until army vet Kellan Dwyer makes an appearance and joins her in her daily city tours. As time goes by, their attraction is undeniable and they decide to become friends with benefits. But that is a bad idea, isn’t it?
I absolutely loved this romance, it shows how far Ms. Cummings has evolved as an author. In my opinion, even though I liked her previous novels, this book is so much better than the others. The backdrop of the story in the fantastic New York City makes it more enjoyable. As a New Yorker herself, the author knows what she’s writing about and it shows. I lived in NY a long time ago and for me personally, it was great to see the city in a new light through the eyes of the main characters.
This is a butch/femme romance but it’s not absolutely stereotypical of the subgenre. Kellan is what could be considered an emotionally vulnerable butch, a person who doesn’t play the stoic card and is willing to show her emotions and her flaws. She lives her gender fluidity naturally, accepting that society sometimes has trouble processing her gender expression. There are a couple of very insightful dialogues between the mains about misgendering and society expectations that give the reader food for thought.
The chemistry between the mains is very well done. In a romance sometimes it’s hard to convey the characters’ feelings from the start point of a no-strings relationship, but the author delivers the growing emotions perfectly through the little touches, the subtle looks and the easy flirting between them.
The sex scenes are varied and hot, which is a must-have in this type of trope. Ms. Cummings knows how to write a good build-up to a relationship and once they reach the ignition point, their chemistry is explosive. But beyond that, I found that Ms. Cummings managed really well the development of their initial casual relationship into something more meaningful.
When I first read the book two years ago, I have to admit that, as I was seeing the direction the plot was taking, I was a bit apprehensive of how the author was going to handle the conflict between the characters because the issue had the potential of becoming a big melodrama. I was happy to see that Ms. Cummings handled it convincingly and realistically within the world she created. When I first read it I felt that some parts of the plot seemed to slow down but I didn’t feel that with the audiobook version. Lori Prince did an excellent job as usual. Her voices for both Kellan and Ashleigh are perfect for each character and her performance of all the emotions is spot on. Why, oh why, did I take so long to listen to this? 4.5 stars.