Love Me (Take a Chance, #2) - Diane Alberts This left me with mixed emotions. Loved the interaction with the kids, but not so much between the protagonists.

Full review -
After learning that the heroine is a widow with three children, I was itching to read Love Me. Because it’s a novella, it got bumped up to the top of the review pile. This is a fast read that left me conflicted. I loved the interactions between Thomas and Brianna’s kids, but I wasn’t so charmed when it was just Brianna and Thomas on the pages. Their relationship felt very forced and beyond awkward to me, so much so that I cringed most of the time they were together and wondered what drove them to keep torturing each other with their company. By the end of the story, their goals in life had aligned and become compatible, but man, I had my doubts that they would ever stop being so distrustful and just allow themselves a shot at the happiness they deserved.

The first third of the book was the most difficult for me to get through. Thomas is in Vegas, a city he hates, for business purposes. He’s here to convince Brianna to hire his marketing firm to make over her struggling casino. Their first meeting is confrontational, as are the next few. Despite having super hot sex in Thomas’ hotel room. Brianna isn’t one for dating, and she resists any attempts Thomas makes to get to know her better, and Thomas is still reeling from a cheating wife who demeaned him at every opportunity. Brianna’s husband succumbed to a terminal illness, and with three kids in tow, she’s having a hard time trusting other men. They don’t want to get caught up in her emotional baggage, and three kids? Deal breaker. Good thing that Thomas has a luggage set of emotional issues to work through, too!

As I already stated, I loved this story when it was about Thomas trying to convince Brianna and her kids that he was the man for them. Her children still miss their father, and her oldest son has a chip the size of a casino perched on his shoulder. He’s not dealing well with the death of his father, and he resents Thomas’s presence in their lives. He’s the man of the family, and he doesn’t need a smooth operator like Thomas mucking up his family or his mother’s heart. The younger children are more welcoming, and I enjoyed how they brought out Thomas’s softer side, something he didn’t realize he possessed. This is when the story worked for me, and kept me engaged in the lives of all of these characters.

I wish that I could say that the interactions between Thomas and Brianna were as compelling. I thought that both of them, even at the end, were too quick to negatively judge the other. There was no trust there, and since that is the fundamental basis of a lasting relationship, I was left wondering how they were going to keep their HEA. They were both too quick to jump to the wrong conclusion, even after establishing that they had the makings of something special. I found it frustrating and juvenile, and that aspect of the story just didn’t work for me.

Grade: C+