Title: Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths #4)
Author: K.A. Tucker
Genre: Adult contemporary
Length: 384 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars
Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.
Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.
If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking.
This fourth installment of the series focuses on Ben Morris, the lovable man-whore, and former bouncer turned law school grad. We first met Ben in Ten Tiny Breaths, as he helped Kacey with training and in return got a bad case of blue balls. While he freely admits and frequently enjoys all types of women, he is more drawn to the “angry ones”, liking the challenge they present. Let’s be honest here, Ben’s a former star football player, with a killer body and adorable dimples, so getting a woman barely requires any effort. But those angry ones, who he’s categorized as: insecure, scorned, or hormonal, intrigued him and make getting laid, a fun game. Yeah, he is THAT guy. You want to hate him. I tried to hate him in this book, but it’s impossible. Trust me.
On a trip to Cancun to celebrate his graduation from law school, he meets Reese, the purple haired pierced drunk, who he correctly labels as the scorned woman.
While his attempts to get laid and her attempt to get over her ex, end in disaster, the chance meeting creates a memory they both won’t ever forget.
Call it fate, coincidence, the Gods laughing at them, whatever. The two find themselves working at the same law office, just two months later. While Ben finds this hilarious, the hot tempered Reese is not amused. But when she finds out her ex and his new wife Caroline have moved to Miami to torture her broken heart, Reese enlists Ben to help her. Her intentions waver from trying to make her ex jealous, to seeking revenge. Even though Ben thinks she should forget this loser guy who obviously is a self-centered prick who quickly falls in and out of love, he goes along with her plans, enjoying the time he gets to spend with her. One incident involving paintball is both awkward and hilarious.
“No way a guy who’s been in you wouldn’t be bothered watching someone else stick his tongue in your mouth.”
“I think you should send that straight to Hallmark.”
On paper, Reese and Ben are night and day, they don’t belong together. But they share a common problem, which is getting over the past. Both have been hurt and that pain has guided their current behavior and outlook on life.
Reese has been left behind, not once but twice in her life. Left by her father at an early age, Reese has spent years trying to get attention. Lashing out, breaking minor laws, you can tell she is desperate for some love and attention. With a Mom who is more focused on appearances than actually providing some emotional support, Reese is a lost soul. A spark is created when she meets Jared, but that spark dies quickly again. And she feels she will never have the love that she craves, to become someone’s priority.
Ben’s issue are very much the opposite of Reese’s. Raised by an alcoholic Dad, and a Mom who refused to walk away, Ben wants nothing to do with commitment or marriage. He’s happy just to have a warm body to keep him occupied and tame the beast.
Like I said earlier, I didn’t want to like Ben. Sure, he has a super fun personality, but as a BBF, I just wasn’t sure. His dick often seemed to lead his actions. He is that guy that would sit with a girl and check out all the other girls around him. So, I was certain he would break Reese’s heart. Turns out, I was wrong. Not only that, he was an adorable Momma’s boy. His relationship with her, and his sadness for how his family grew apart due to one toxic member, made me understand him a little better.
As for Reese, I waffled back and forth on whether I liked her. I loved her spunk and wild attitude, but hated how she actually wanted Jared back. Maybe she was desperate for the emotional connection she once had with him, but she really needed to open her eyes to his ways and move on.
Together, Ben and Reese were perfect.
Over a series of months, the two develop a friendship loaded with sexual tension. They repeatedly try to redo their failed one night stand, however, they are continuously cockblocked. What I liked about Reese and Ben was that it wasn’t an insta-love type relationship. Sure, the attraction was there and the two personalities clicked. But the love came slowly. A sad tragedy pushed them into admitting that there was something more than sexual chemistry. However, the foundation of their relationship was a friendship where they didn’t want the other to hurt anymore. I liked how when they finally opened up to the idea of something more, the games stopped. They became committed to each other, despite the risks.
It’s sad to say, but I believe this is the end of the series. I loved all four of the books in this series and all the couples within them. The author did a great job with character development. While each story featured couples struggling with their past, it wasn’t anything where you were annoyed with them and wished they were getting over whatever plagued them. Instead, you were silently cheering for them. Hoping that love would come their way and overcome some of their issues. Another great thing about this series is that each book could be treated as a standalone. The books generally take place during the same time period, so while there would be some minor spoilers if read out of order, it wouldn’t throw you off or confuse you. This book and the series are definitely worth checking out, if you haven’t done so already.
*An ARC was received from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.