“It had been a million years since she belonged anywhere, or to anyone.”
American born Mary Catherine (Cath) Talarico currently lives in London as an assistant curator at a local museum. Independent and self-sufficient, Cath has set her life in a new direction but she still bears the emotional and physical scars of bad decisions from her past. Experiencing a long-term hiatus from men, Cath reluctantly agrees to a blind date arranged by her boss. After the extremely boring blind date and too much alcohol, Cath wakes up and finds herself just where she promised herself not to be; in a strangers bed with a hangover. What surprises her is she is not at her blind dates home, but at the home of Englishman Nev Chamberlain, better known to her as “City”; the good-looking businessman that rides the same train into work. Already forming her own opinion of City as “a good man” while in the midst of her humiliation, she is relieved that he turns out to be her savior in another one of her embarrassing moments of shame. When Cath pulls herself out of bed and into the kitchen to offer her apologies and thanks, her body betrays her “Boy Scout” image of the Brit and she feels an immediate attraction to the dimpled, blonde and somewhat dangerous aura of City. What’s even scarier is she sees the same eat-you-up attraction in the eyes looking back at her.
“I play rugby, too.” He gave her half a smile and she made an effort to suppress the image of City in a rugby jersey with pink cheeks and dirty knees, tussling over a ball. A human orgasm.
Tired of living someone else’s life and working at a job he hates in the family business, City longs to be free from the expectations and responsibilities pushed on him by his manipulative mother and brother. With a passion for painting and rugby, City enjoys the space he has created away from his family and desires to lead and ordinary life. When City’s mother gives him an ultimatum that he must marry a suitable woman in order to excel in the family business or be disinherited, City decides to turn the tables on his mother’s blackmail and forms a plan of his own.
“She’d thought of how he’d seemed to her before she knew him, cold and polished as a marble statue at the train station. How he really was when they were alone. Hot and messy. Intense and conflicted. Vulnerable and real.”
I’m always a bit giddy when after the first chapter of a book I know I have locked into an author that has truly grasped the gift of writing great romance. Ruthie Knox’s voice is honest, captivating and her words flow off the pages, magically, as a seasoned author would pen. My immediate reaction to this story was “Fifty who?” (Fifty Shades of Grey readers will understand the question.) because let me tell you that Nev aka City is absolutely divine! His warm compassionate nature paired with his passionate and seductive qualities equals a swoon worthy adorably sexy hero. Whether voicing the simple endearment “love” or witnessing his slightly disheveled, flirty look, City is every bit the sex grenade that will blow your knickers off! City/Nev truly is an enticingly sexy character and all I wanted to do was soak in his essence:
“He was claiming her, marking her with his touch, but she didn’t feel possessed so much as she felt protected. Cherished. Wanted. The unaccustomed intimacy of it rendered her fragile, vulnerable as a robin’s egg. Somehow with him it was all right. He wouldn’t take advantage. City was one of the good guys.”
What is so gratifying with Nev’s personality is he is so patient and in tune with Cath. He reads her like a book and knows how much of his feelings he can reveal to her and how far he can push her. She is completely terrified of intimacy and that is what he most desires from her so it’s a very push/pull relationship because he recognizes her fear yet doesn’t shy away from it. There was a constant assurance that he could and would break through Cath’s emotional baggage and prove to her that they worked, they clicked and mostly flaws and all, their connection was authentic.
“She’d arrived locked down, but when he kissed her she swung open, so smoothly and easily he could almost forget she’d been otherwise. She was an enigma, this woman. Bold and reticent, passionate and distant. Open and shut. Completely fascinating.”
Within the first few pages, I formed an instant emotional connection with Cath. After years of poor life choices and self disappointment leading up to her mother’s death, Cath made a vow to herself to be a better person and put the old irresponsible Cath in the past. While she is trying to turn over a new leaf, she is still hesitant to allow herself happiness or the thought of a loving relationship. Although her life is ridden with past regrets, she also projects a very flirty and funny sense of humor which brings a nice balance to the flow of the story. She is a people watcher. Experiencing her watching her fellow commuters and how she observes everyone on the train into work had me laughing and adoring her idiosyncrasies. As a result of Cath’s emotional baggage, she has self-inflicted reminders resulting in the tattoos on her body. What is so poignant is she views the tattoos as ugly reminders of her past mistakes and uses them as a barrier in obtaining the companionship and intimacy that she craves. What is beautiful is how Nev takes what she sees as ugly and transforms her body art into something beautiful. This revelation and climactic moment in the story brought all the emotion to a head for not only the characters but for the reader. Ms. Knox truly delivers a story of renewal and trust with this couple so much so that I found myself desperately wanting a sequel. The ending proved to be a commitment that both Cath and Nev were finally able to completely give each other and naturally I wanted more of their contagious happiness. Contemporary romance readers will not want to miss the romantic, heart-felt emotion along with all the sexy, steamy goodness Ruthie Knox creates within the pages of About Last Night.
“They were loud and messy together. Sweaty and transcendent. Alarmingly, wonderfully out of control. They were the closest thing to perfect she’d ever known.”