AFTER WE FALL
Publisher: MH Publishing LLC
Release date: November 26th 2016
Jack Valentini isn’t my type.
Sexy, brooding cowboys are fine in the movies, but in real life, I prefer a suit and tie. Proper manners. A close shave.
Jack might be gorgeous, but he’s also scruffy, rugged, and rude. He wants nothing to do with a “rich city girl” like me, and he isn’t afraid to say so.
But I’ve got a PR job to do for his family’s farm, so he’s stuck with me and I’m stuck with him. His glares. His moods. His tight jeans. His muscles.
His huge, hard muscles.
Pretty soon there’s a whole different kind of tension between us, the kind that has me misbehaving in barns, trees, and pickup trucks. I’ve never done anything so out of character—but it feels too good to stop.
And the more I learn about the grieving ex-Army sergeant, the better I understand him. Losing his wife left him broken and bitter and blaming himself. He doesn’t think he deserves a second chance at happiness.
But he’s wrong.
I don’t need to be his first love. If only he’d let me be his last.
I don’t even know why I want this so badly, but I do.
After We Fall is a fast-paced and steamy romance novel, with a bubbly heroine and a damaged hero. Theirs is an emotional story that stars as an enemies-to-lovers kind of thing and evolves into a full on romance as the plot develops. It is surprisingly lighthearted, for the most part, and the humorous dialogue serves to balance the more emotional scenes.
Melanie Harlow’s writing is engaging and easy to follow. It keeps you flipping pages as you read, and the smooth changes between character POVs helps with the overall flow of the book. The main romance brims with instalust, which ends up making this second-chance-at-love premise fall flat.
The writing in this novel is really good. I maintain that it’s super easy to get swept up into the story and lose yourself in it. The flow between chapters and the dual POV is done rather well; both characters, Margot and Jack, have very different voices, and that shows in the writing. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for me to connect with them as characters or to care about their relationship.
Instalust definitely does not help. The premise behind this story is that of a second-chance-at-love opportunity. Jack is a widower who is 100% not over the death of his wife, while Margot has recently had a… situation with her ex-boyfriend. They are at very different places in their lives, but are instantly attracted to each other when they meet.
Jack is actually rather rude to Margot for the first quarter of the book? So they start their relationship at odds, despite still wanting to jump each other. And when that happens, the book takes the steamy scenes and runs with it. There is a lot of Margot and Jack in bed and not that much of them developing their relationship.
For most of the book, Jack is still dealing with his grief over losing his wife, Steph. Throughout most of the story it seems like she’s a third person in Jack and Margot’s relationship? Like, the ghost standing between them. Jack makes it very clear from the beginning that he already met the love of his life and that that kind of thing doesn’t happen twice. Which does not endear me to his relationship with Margot.
In the end, After We Fall doesn’t take the time to develop a romantic relationship between the main characters, focusing on the sexual one instead. The good writing doesn’t make up for the lack of connection with characters, although it is one of the high point of the books. Romance fans who like their books steamy and a fast connection between the main characters will love this!