Author: Jo McNally
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Publication Date: February 1, 2020
Rating: 4/5 Stars
*Thank you Harlequin Special Edition for the opportunity to review this story!*
She’s ready to shed her good-girl ways…
“You’re all about following the rules now?
Mackenzie Wallace hopes there’s still some bad boy lurking beneath single father Danny Adams’s upright exterior. Being the proverbial good girl left her brokenhearted and alone in the past. Now she’s back in town and wants excitement with her high school crush—not love. Dan knows their connection runs deep, despite Mackenzie’s protests. But will their new personas work together—especially when Dan’s secret is exposed?
I have to say, this role reversal was a pleasant read. You get the good girl gone rogue, Mackenzie, and the bad boy gone law abiding citizen, Danny in a reunion that was unexpected. Mackenzie is caught in an apprehension until she tells the officer that the store belongs to her father. That officer, Danny, lets go of Mackenzie and can’t believe he is standing in front of his best friend’s younger sister. This starting point led us to a whirlwind of a story where each character is fighting their own identities and keeping the emotional baggage they each hold at a safe distance from each other.
The moment Danny looked at Mackenzie was the moment I knew he was going to fall hard for her. Despite her protests of not liking the former bad boy, Mackenzie couldn’t also help finding Danny charming and at times, irresistible. Adding on a daughter from a failed marriage, Danny is not only thinking for himself when jumping into any romance. Mackenzie wants to be free and live on the wild side after a failed marriage. Their romance was one that was slowly growing, which I appreciated. With that emotional baggage, an insta-love story would have not felt right. Although their humor filled with a dash of spice romance was one focal point, this story was more about what labels given to you when you are younger can impact you as an adult.
For Mackenzie, being perfect is no longer in her list of things to be and that pressure makes it hard for her to feel like she’s gone rogue to get freedom from her past failures. Something about this focal point resonated a bit with me because I know what it feels like to have the weight of perception of others on you and how it can make you feel inauthentic to yourself to enable that perception. On the flip side, we see how Danny has been doing his best to leave his bad boy past in the past but struggles to show people that he can truly be a changed man. The author did so well in making this a journey of finding and re-discovering themselves in a healthy way. I really enjoyed that the romance was not the main drive of the story, but the ignition the characters needed to appreciate each and themselves.
Overall, this book was a great read. I am a sucker for a romance where two people grow, where there is a man in a uniform and where secrets come to light that bring the couple closer than they have ever expected to become. It was a great romance to read around Valentine’s Day that had a good amount of mushy romance and a great amount of spicy moments, action and raw emotion.
About the Author
Jo McNally lives in upstate New York with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she’s not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed…), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to an eclectic playlist. If the weather is perfect, she might join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.