Review: Stolen Nights by Renee Harless

stolen nightsTitle: Stolen Nights

Author: Renee Harless

Year of publication: Out today! I was kindly given a copy to read and review

The heroine: Baker Elle Sanderson

The hero: Business owner Jackson Divers

The blurb: Elle’s life seems like one struggle after the next.

She’s facing life after a divorce, learns that her ex-best friend is pregnant with her ex-husband’s baby, and the house she’s willed after her estranged father’s death comes with a catch.

When she thinks her life can’t get any more difficult, her neighbor seems determined to rile her up on a daily basis.
He’s gorgeous and looks like he’s walked off a movie set, but his attitude is enough to leave Elle feeling sour despite the tingles she feels when he’s around.

But one stolen kiss leads to a number of stolen nights blurring the line between hatred and love. Elle’s curse of bad luck may be taking a turn, or she could be facing her toughest obstacle yet – heartbreak.

Standalone or series: The first in the Stolen series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Elle is thirty and at a crossroads in life – she’s just found out her husband, father of her two young children, has been cheating on her with her best friend, and said best friend is now pregnant. Elle and the ex are now embroiled in a messy divorce and she’s had to move her adorable kids, Noah and Kennedy, to a new house. Thankfully, she’s just inherited a house off her biological father, a man she never knew.

The house is lovely on the inside, but sorely needs some work on the outside. While wrangling kids and trying to arrange the house, she meets the next door neighbour, Jackson. He’s attractive but rude when they first meet, and she’s not impressed. They get into an argument about a fence that borders their properties, and then Elle joins the local gym, which happens to be owned by Jackson.

Once they start to get to know each other, they realised there’s an attraction there. It plays out over the book as Jackson finds he’s willing to consider settling down with a family, something he didn’t think would interest him prior to meeting Elle, and she finds she’s willing to take another chance on love.

While there was a lot to enjoy about this book – the romance, Elle’s kids, Jackson literally crawling through her window at night – there were quite a few things that really didn’t work for me.

*Elle continued to refer to Jackson as an asshole for the entire book, even after they’d started sleeping together. It grated, because he really wasn’t one.

*There was a comment about how Elle’s parents were disappointed she hadn’t been willing to support her ex and the new child on the way. Why would she?

*The ex turned up a couple of times, referring to Elle as his wife and seemingly wanting to rekindle the marriage. He has a pregnant mistress on the side and demanded Elle change their surnames to her maiden name, and took the kids off his insurance, but wants to rekindle the marriage?

*I didn’t understand why the mistress was referred to as Elle’s best friend when her lawyer friend, Sara, was clearly closer to her than the other woman had been.

*Elle had literally been separated for about a month when she started seeing Jackson. I know that some people are able to slide back into a relationship more quickly than others, but surely being cheated on, finding out the other woman is pregnant, being kicked out of the marital home, moving your two young children away from the only home they’ve ever known, and trying to start over would be draining for even the most resilient of women. Would she really be considering a new relationship so early on in the piece?

*Elle gets a last minute baking job for 160 pieces of pastries. She manages to fit all 160 pieces in her fridge (which must be enormous) and the CEO of the company they’re for turns up at her place at 4am to pick them up. Elle helps him pack the stuff into his car, and then… he hugs her. Huh? Why would a stranger whom she’s just met give her a lingering hug?

I wanted to like this book a whole lot more than I did, but it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Alas.