Series: Men of Gold Mountain #2
Published by Entangled Publishing: Brazen on March 20th 2017
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Bartender Mackenzie Ellinsworth has always gone it alone. So when she has a chance to open her own bar and restaurant, she's got a plan for how it should go. Not in that plan: a ripped and rugged playboy stepping in to take over. Mack doesn't do players, and she doesn't do one-night stands. If Connor wants to work with Mack, he's going to have to keep his strong, sexy hands to himself.
Connor Branding is determined to prove he's not the directionless playboy Mack thinks. But opening a place together causes more problems than it solves. The two of them can't agree on anything—except how scorching hot their chemistry is. Connor may be ready to indulge every desire Mack's been denying herself...but turning business into pleasure is likely to get him burned.
I’d start off by saying that I really do like Rebecca Brooks’s writing: there’s her ability to tease out nuanced emotions and so finely articulating the pain of being left behind and the walls people build to protect themselves.
The problem was, I didn’t think there was very much to like about Connor: a privileged bummer, not wanting to commit to anyone or business or job with a lack of motivation and drive just bothered me. It’s probably my own preference for male protagonists to be at least more driven or propelled by purpose with some kind of ethic as well and I didn’t see that in Connor at all. That he lauded the easy way out most of the time by bouncing around didn’t make him that much of a worthy ‘hero’ for this story, more so when it had to take several huge kicks in the arse just so he would get going and focused.
Then it was all about him suddenly needing to prove himself not the bum, but that he could be someone else entirely. Yet, the sneaky insert that claimed he always wanted Mack, that it’d always been her—yet didn’t push hard about it and hopped from different women to distract himself for 3 years—was a rather revolting revelation, adding to my flakey impression of him that had by then, solidified.
He grovels well, though, which is possibly the only redeeming point…in my small and petty mind.
By contrast, Mack’s ability to work through hardship—and her determination to make things succeed because she’d been handed so little in life—was impressive as hell. I liked that she didn’t take any crap from him, gave as good as she got, and pretty much bulldozed her way through the veil of insouciance that he got going. It was easy to understand why she behaved the way she did, afraid to give an inch to Connor (rightly so, in my opinion) because she’d simply be left in the dust when he always gave indications of being chaff in the wind. That she’d staked her entire reputation, beliefs and cash on the refurbishment of the bar doesn’t come as a surprise, given her commitment to wanting to see things through and make a name for herself through sheer hard work.
That said, Brooks’s writing is persuasive enough for me to want to see what else is in store for us—that much can I be swayed by good writing. I’m just going to cross my fingers for protagonists (both the H/hr) whom I can get fully behind.