Series: Say Everything #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 6th July 2021
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The world can be a scary place. At least, that's what Andi Lockley's anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn't help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now—she's channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.
If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.
Former firefighter Hill Dawson can't sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he's now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he's supposed to do with his life, and he can't let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi's place, Hill can't stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair.
But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more...if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself—and love—again.
‘What If You & Me’ deals with trauma (of various kinds) and the healing journey that the characters go on past that very defining point in time that they find themselves changed. For that reason, such stories feel as though that they can either get bogged down with angsty recollections, or float along with forced levity that inadvertently makes light of grievous situations.
By and large, Roni Loren struck a pretty good balance here, outlining both Andi’s and Hill’s accidental meeting, their personal histories, their own paths to getting better, and finally, the odd friends/lovers odd-straddle that they did until, well, push came to shove. I liked Andi’s chosen profession and her fixation with horror; it was an innovative portfolio that Loren created for Andi and the complex issues she faced, as opposed to Hill’s not-any-less-important but still-more-common hurt from his previous job as a firefighter. Given the context of the story, I was surprised that very little suspense was written into this, though it was inserted toward the end, almost for the sake of creating conflict and providing the final push for Hill to cement his feelings and get his head out of his arse.
There were parts that did leave me dissatisfied—some mentions of cheating and some cheeky leanings toward playing the victim on the cheater’s part being one of the main ones—but they didn’t really play up too much for the rest of the story. That said, if you like a slow burn with some steam and baby steps out of a tunnel into the bright light, ‘What If You & Me’ provides it with minimal drama.