Plot: Unlike the other novels, this novella cannot pass as new adult. Both characters are in their late twenties to early thirties, fully enmeshed in their careers, and have the adulating thing down. This storyline is a common one with the whole witnessing a murder and falling in love with your protector bit.
Cover: Given that this novella is found in an anthology, the cover doesn’t really fit the series. If there is a cover for this story that better fits I sadly did not come across it, as I don’t particularly care for the 1001 Dark Nights. Even though I adore pink, the overall aesthetic of this one is dark. I understand the look needed to be generalized enough for all the stories within, but this does not even catch the eye.
Setting: Colton took a transfer to Philadelphia where it feels like most of the story takes place, however a good portion is at Abby’s home that seems to be in the county not far from Mona’s bar (which is essentially where the series settled once leaving the university).
POV: I finally realized why I struggle to remember the FMCs names when I go to write my reviews… The series is written in first person so the MCs name doesn’t appear frequently in the text. I generally prefer third-person perspectives as it allows for gaining information outside of the MCs preview, but it really works with these novels.
Romance: After Reece’s story, I rather wanted to know his older brother was going to find love too. Colton and Abby didn’t get a meetcute—not much cute about dead bodies after all—but a re-meeting of an old classmate. Abby struggles with the instalove of their current relationship, but it was not love at first sight so much as a second opportunity.
Character Development: What I like in this novella is that Abby was not able to get over her insecurities by the end of the story, but rather that she was still dealing with them and would keep trying to overcome them. People cannot just magically get over their issues, and had bby been able to in such a short space of time it would have made the book a less satisfying read. Abby and her friend debate the fact there are rarely FMCs in novels who are just average women with normal issues, but despite the crazy circumstances surrounding her, Abby is likely one of the most relatable “everywoman” characters of the series.
Quote: I was the kind of woman who got the guy in the books. But not in real life. Never in real life.
Verdict: This story reminds me of Harlequin Intrigue novels, something you read for enjoyment purposes only. It doesn’t tie into the college crew very well, but it gives the satisfaction of tying up a loose-ended character.