(Evergreen Grove Series Series, #3)
by Elisabeth Staab
He thinks I want him because of the rumors around town. Because I think he’s easy. I want AJ, because he’s AJ.
No liars. No suits. Absolutely no straight guys…
AJ Fabin’s list of rules keeps him safe. Since getting kicked out of his parents’ home and a vicious attack by a former escorting client, his rules and his life in the tiny town of Evergreen Grove provide a quiet haven. He may be lonely, and he may stick out like a sore thumb, but the folks like him well enough. When he’s not dodging his old pimp, things are peaceful.
Hayden Price is having a quarter-life crisis. Engaged to a woman he can’t connect to and working a job he secretly hates, he comes to Evergreen Grove to help his mother through a health scare. Returning to his childhood home makes Hayden re-evaluate a lot of things, including himself. When he meets AJ and finds he can’t stand the mouthy jerk—almost as much as he can’t stop thinking about him—he has a lot more to change than his career.
To be together, they’ll both have to break all of their rules.
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I've been eagerly awaiting "By The Rules" and while this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
I love Elisabeth's writing style. It comes across as simple, however, it immerse the reader in the world she created. The style is easy to follow and allows the emotions of the character to flow though the words and onto the readers. You, as the reader, connect with the characters and fall for them. When they are happy, your heart smiles and when one is going through something difficult, you cry along with them. She truly has a gift of making her readers feel.
From the moment AJ Fabinfirst appeared in At the Stars (Evergreen Grove, #1) and became a favorite secondary character in the first and second book of the series, I wanted him to have his own story and his own HEA. AJ is the BFF, the guy who is always there and the defender of those who can't defend themselves. Yet, he keeps people at a distant. Never really letting them see him deep inside.
Hayden was breathe of fresh air that he didn't seem angry or upset at the feelings he was having towards another man. I'm happy Elisabeth didn't go down that road. He was willing to explore the emotions and not concerned with labels.
I loved that this story wasn't about labels. There wasn't a need to have Hayden identify as gay vs. the fact that the was attractive and wanted to be with AJ. It was a story of not only self discovery but allowing oneself to be true and accept who we are and be happy with it.
The story was great to read because it really was a story about two individuals accepting the fact that they deserve to be loved and could be loved for being themselves.
There were a few tropes that brought a few twists and an "OMG" moment to the story. however, Elisabeth's story telling abilities are shown here were these tropes don't make the reader role their eyes but rather go "awwww".
Overall, a great addition to the series and I'm extremely happy how things played out. Can't wait to the next installment!
Rating: 4 Stars - LOVED IT
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, Elisabeth Staab in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.