From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series! When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her. Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they're emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets...except the one that really matters. When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it's always better with a twist.
This was a pretty good book. There were parts that I liked a lot and parts that bugged me a bit. This is Joe and Alex's story. Alex is a pretty quirky heroine. She is a home-body and slightly neurotic. She doesn't get out of the house much, working from home and not loving crowds. She feels safe joining an online dating site. There she meets "Eric" and they begin chatting. It feels safe because they live in different states. But they do feel comfortable and easy talking to each other. But "Eric" stops replying to her messages and she gets worried, so Alex goes out of her comfort zone and shows up in "Eric"'s hometown in the bar he owns. But when she gets there, she soon finds that it was not really Eric she was talking to, but his brother, Joe, under Eric's account. Joe is shocked that Alex is there and his lie is exposed, but they decide to spend some time together getting to know each other in person. They start off as friends, but it does turn romantic. Alex gets sucked into the town life and the atmosphere at Dive Bar. Then a tragedy occurs that causes Joe to need help and Alex steps in, staying around to support him. But they must decide if they want to continue their relationship and how it would work with everything that is going on in their lives. It does eventually work out for them, with some angst and drama to overcome first.
I liked Alex a lot. She was quirky and funny, with a tendency to overthink things. She really gave a lot to help Joe out when he had difficulties. I didn't love Joe as much. He was okay, kind of a push over, but I think he was too beta for me. He did not go after anything he wanted and he was a poor communicator. To me, he took Alex for granted and did not give enough of himself in return. I didn't love the way he treated her sometimes. Also, there is some ex-drama and he never makes it clear with his ex that he's involved with Alex, allowing the ex to hurt her. Joe seemed to avoid confrontation too much. After the final conflict, I needed more from Joe. I needed him to tell her that he is ready for a real relationship and what he likes about Alex. The romance starts a bit slow burn and it takes awhile for Joe and Alex to become romantic. It was a bit hard to feel their chemistry for a while because both of them admit each other are not their type. But it did eventually heat up a bit and, overall, I did like them together by the end of the book.
I did like the story, but I liked the beginning more than the end. There is a lot of unnecessary drama at the end, IMO. I liked the continuing story line with the other characters in the bar. I especially liked Alex's friend, Val, too. I also loved the bit about Alex's squirrel friend, Marty.
I did enjoy this book more than I enjoyed the first book in the series, Dirty. There is more depth to it. There is a trigger in the book that sensitive readers might want to be aware of: (view spoiler). Despite the fact that I had a few problems with this book, I did enjoy reading Joe and Alex's story. There is a sweet epilogue too. I do look forward to more from this series and Ms. Scott in the future!
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/ .