Series: Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy
Author: Nora Roberts
Read copy: Paperback
Published: November 6, 2012
Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out—with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except apparently Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro...
As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be—except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.
While the Inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome—and embarrassing—appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him...
Ryder Montgomery has been a pill toward Hope Beaumont from the moment they've met. He never calls her by her name, he's dismissive and snarly, he's sarcastic and downright rude sometimes...And he'd be so much easier to dislike if he wasn't so hot...And sweet and kind, when he wants to be—to others, not to her. And if she didn't feel all hot and bothered in his presence even, okay, especially, when they're sparring...
So what is a girl to do when she's trapped in a locked-by-the-resident-ghost room, but kiss the infuriating, sexy Ryder Montgomery. Because a kiss is the only way the ghost would let them out of the room. Yes, that's the only reason she kissed him...Then why does she want to do it again?
There are books that leave you with a satisfied smile when you finish them, and there are books that you read from beginning to end with a smile on your face. This one falls into the latter category. I couldn't stop smiling (even through a film of tears toward the end, but never mind), and I couldn't prevent myself from ooh-ing, ah-ing, and aww-ing. It was a feel-good story through and through, and a perfect ending to a great trilogy.
I loved Ryder Montgomery from the first scene he's appeared in in The Next Always. He was abrupt, he was prickly, he was sincere to the point of rudeness, yet there was a soft, kind, sometimes tender core underneath the stony exterior, and a big heart. When you meet someone like that, someone you know, despite everything that goes on on the outside, would do almost anything for friends and family (even those not related by blood), you can't help but love them. And hope the best for them.
Then Hope Beaumont made her entrance, went all jittery and "stroke-y" when she saw Ryder, and I knew we were in for a ride. He turned into an obnoxious asshole when she was around, and I couldn't help but grin. Because you know how it is in kindergarten and school, where boys pull girls' pigtails and tease them to get them to notice them. That was Ryder when it came to Hope. Although I don't think the sparring and rudeness was meant to get her to notice him, it was more like a self-preservation technique, to keep her at arm's length. A technique that failed miserably. The first big crack happening in The Last Boyfriend at Owen's New Year's party. I knew their book would be awesome from the start, and that single scene confirmed it.
I adored them together, him more than her, because of the prickliness, and adversity he's been showing since the beginning. It's those people that fall the hardest. I loved how they complimented each other, how opposite they were, yet somehow similar. She kept lists on paper, he kept them in his head, she was organized, he preferred (organized) chaos, she looked uptight, while he was more relaxed, yet they both chose to keep whatever was between them simple and uncomplicated (good luck with that one). She kept surprising him, showing him she wasn't truly what he initially believed her to be, keeping him constantly on his toes, intriguing him, keeping him guessing. The poor guy had no chance whatsoever. Neither did.
I loved it.
And, don't get me started on the whole ghost thing. I knew everything would be resolved in this last book, because, it was the last book, but still. I never anticipated a resolution like this. The connection, not only to Hope, but to the Montgomerys as well. And the way everything was resolved, how both girls got their happy ending. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense, and the resolution could not have been done differently. Something needed to fit just right, click perfectly into place for it to be a happy ending. And it figures it needed to be done on the male part of the pairing. The girl's been waiting a long time, it was time for the boy to get to her. And it made sense it would've been the last brother, the "hardest" of the bunch, to make it right. It fits.
Everything else, Clare's pregnancy, Avery's tavern...It all faded into the background, providing the scenery, the backdrop to the main story, as it should be. The main pairing and their story should be in the driving seat, propelling the story forward, not the other way around, as it happened, IMO, in the second book in the trilogy. No worries with this story, though. Hope and Ryder were there, front and center.
I won't go about the writing, the flow, the voice, because it's a Nora Roberts book, and, in my eyes, she can do no wrong in that department.
But I will finish with how I started. This book made me happy. It made me feel joy. It made me sigh contentedly when it ended. It made me want to start all over again immediately. And it made me smile. It doesn't get better than that.