So I like to read ... A LOT ... and i have less than a handful of books that have ever left me conflicted, this is one of them. The book itself is good, well written, no gaping plot holes, developed evolving characters etc Sam Mariano isn't very descriptive in her character's surroundings but apart from that i have no complaints.
So why am i so conflicted? (SPOILERS)
Because the vast majority of this novel is a LIE!!!! It is one of the best examples of the limitations of the narrator. Our narrator Meg tells the story of the beginning of her own grand love with Mateo Morelli, they go through everything together betrayal, attempted murder, pregnancy and a marriage proposal all in the space of a month. From Meg's perspective they are perfect for each other. The key being FROM MEG'S PERSPECTIVE. Meg is an interesting character a great example of all talk and no follow through but she doesn't think that about herself, in her mind, which is the mind we are privy to, she's a bit of a bad ass the reality is she's emotionally shallow and ultimately self serving. She pursues her relationship with Mateo in a manner that can only be described as cut throat, she is driven not so much by love, although to be fair she is in love with him or rather her more idealized version, but by the drive for security. In doing this she ignore huge flashing red warning signs, the most obvious being that despite both their protestations Mateo clearly did rape Mia. Meg claims that rape is were she draws the line but despite nearly insurmountable evidence it occurred she chooses to believe a well known liar over objective third parties. Also as the novel progress a distinct correlation occurs between the progression of Meg's relationship with Mateo and her friendship with Mia, the more she draws Mia into her life and by association Mateo's the more cemented their relationship becomes. Meg of cause never realizes any of this so you need to read between the lines of her narration. This book isn't a series so much as a serial its vol 2 in an 8 part set with no one's story being over till we get right to the end. Furthermore despite being our narrator this serial isn't about Meg, the only time she plays a starring role is when she narrates. This story is about a villain (Mateo) our heroine (Mia) and our hero (Vince) although i use the term hero very loosely. Meg is a side character.
So here's the big twist in the story ... are you ready (SPOILERS)
Nearly everything Mateo says to Meg in this story is a LIE. His desire for her non existent she's not his type he likes emotionally vulnerable. His love for her is later revealed to be more that of a love for a friend or a particularly favored pair of shoes. Forgiving her because he couldn't live without her, more accurate would be he couldn't live without Mia and Meg is his vessel to securing her in his life. Mateo is a liar and Meg's purpose to him is bringing Mia back into his life when Meg shows up Mateo is only interacting with Mia over dinner on a Sunday night, Vince is constantly on guard and there is no indication Mia will ever be open to a romantic relationship between herself and Mateo so Meg who physically resembles Mia is a great backup option who facilitates Mateo developing a far greater connection with Mia. I won’t spoil anymore of this serial but be aware you do need to read every novel, carefully, and that Meg is a side note in this stories history. I can’t read this volume anymore since I completed the series once you know what’s going on this episode makes me feel dirty and the intimacy moments became a bit skin crawly for me personally. So advice read this book with caution there is no HEA for this couple Meg’s in this story because she makes a place for herself in it but ultimately that place isn't secure and contingent upon her relationship with Mia not Mateo, all the other characters (except Mia who is perilously trusting) don’t believe Meg and Mateo are the real deal and they all know Mateo a LOT better than Meg.