Published by Nixon House on 2018-03-14
Genres: Contemporary Women, Romantic Comedy
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Everyone has secrets. He wants all of hers.
Meet the man next door...
After years of military service, Evan Miller wants a quiet life. The small town of Ravenswood seems perfect—until he stumbles upon a vicious web of lies with his new neighbour at its centre.
Ruth Kabbah is rude, awkward, and, according to everyone in town, bad news. Thing is, no-one will tell Evan why. Does she perform ritual sacrifices? Howl at the moon? Pour the milk before the tea? He has no clue.
But he desperately wants to find out. Because Ruth doesn’t seem evil to him; she seems lonely. And funny, and clumsy, and secretly quite sweet, and really f*%king beautiful…
The more Evan’s isolated, eccentric neighbour pushes him away, the more he wants her. Her—and all her secrets. Because there’s no way a girl like Ruth truly deserves the town’s scorn.
… Is there?
Please note: this book contains mentions of intimate partner violence that could potentially trigger certain audiences.
FTC: I bought this book.
Hash-tags : #autisticheroine #betahero #consent #smexy #twattyex #funny #ownvoices
Content warning – cancer, mental abuse within a domestic relationship.
Heroine – Ruth, a curvy black heroine with autism, a spiky twin and a fondness for wearing pajamas. I loved her.
Hero – Evan. Beta. A former military man who likes to feed people and is possibly one of the loveliest heroes I’ve read about.
I loved this book. I loved reading about Ruth and this is one of the best representation of a neurodivergent person I’ve ever read in romance. She isn’t ashamed of herself nor does she feel the need to try to conform. She announces her autism, openly talks about the situations she struggles to navigate and doesn’t allow anything to limit her. She owns her autism, it doesn’t own her. I would even go so far as to say she is the Alpha in this relationship and I loved her. There is some head-jumping, to ensure we get both sides of the romance, but it works well.
When we first meet Ruth, she has become the town pariah because the town darling has decided that that is the role she is to play. Tired of attempting to fit into a world that won’t accept her (due to the aforementioned town darling, who is actually a douche) she lives in her pajamas (they feel good), doesn’t really socialise unless she has to (as people are dicks) and generally accepts that people are awful. She doesn’t want to let Evan in but he uses her stomach to worm his way in and then she doesn’t want him to leave. Her character development over the course of this story is immense and I found myself grinning like a loon during the last few chapters.
Evan is a Beta hero and that works so well in this book. He accepts her autism without a blink. He factors it into their relationship, but he doesn’t allow it to colour his view of her; as far as he is concerned, she is just the hot, fascinating neighbour who loves to read comics. I loved him from the moment he turned up with a Shephard’s Pie, as a peace-offering to his new neighbour, right up to the point he doesn’t try to interfere when she deals with her dickhead ex, even though he was dying to try to play the white – knight. He is fucking lovely.
This is a slow burn romance of the best kind. They are never really friends, their chemistry too pronounced, but there is a delicious anticipation about the whole thing and it takes an absolute age for them to start any sort of physical relationship. There are another two things I would like to give this book credit for, alongside the wonderful, positive representation of a character with Autism. It has a scene normalising menstruation, a rare thing for romance (seriously, heroines never had periods unless as a device to show how caring the heroes are when they don’t expect sex and give a cuddle???). It also contains multiple examples of explicit consent. There is no blurred lines, or mind-reading, as nothing is assumed and consent is asked for a touch, a kiss and sexual contact. I loved it.
This is a slow-burn romance featuring an autistic heroine and a wonderful beta hero. It’s fun, sexy and features all the things a good romance should have. I enjoyed.