“Alice Gaines will tantalize your romance taste buds with a book you can’t put down until the very last page.” NYT bestselling author Jasmine Haynes
Her brother’s best friend is not only the hottest man Michelle Dennis has ever seen, he’s the one man she hopes to avoid after leaving town eight years ago. Of course he’s the one waiting at the airport. Worse, he made sure they’re staying in the same house.
Pro football player Alex Stafford is expecting to pick up his friend’s kid sister, not a full-fledged bombshell. He was planning to apologize for their past, but the feelings he had years ago come roaring back…and this time, there’s no denying them.
Keeping his hands off is a test he’s bound to fail—especially when they’re stuck in close quarters. But falling in love with Michelle, living in her world, isn’t an option for a guy like him. And remembering that will save them both a lot of heartache…
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Award-winning author, Alice Gaines is the author of several full-length books and dozens of shorter works. She lives in Oakland, California with her pet corn snake, Casper. While Alice isn’t writing or reading, you’ll find her pottering in her garden or cooking something in her kitchen. She’s passionate about her church and funky soul band, Tower of Power, not necessarily in that order.
Alice loves to hear from readers. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read an Excerpt
Just One Week
By Alice Gaines, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Alice Gaines
All rights reserved.
Michelle Dennis was a woman with a plan. She'd thought it out, even committing the most important parts to paper so she wouldn't forget anything, and she ran it through her mind as she stepped off the plane at SFO and walked up the ramp. If things went well, she'd get into Sonoma County, fulfill her social obligations, and get out with her dignity intact. Success depended on staying as far away as she could from one particular individual.
She had another reason for her nerves to be tied into knots besides having to face Alex Stafford again. Butterflies had taken up permanent residence in her stomach weeks ago when she'd first received the call that Cardmouth University wanted to interview her for the faculty position. She'd toured the campus and barely choked down a sandwich before giving the presentation on her research. The possibility that she might win her dream job had stayed with her ever since. No pressure there, right?
As she walked toward the baggage claim, she glanced at her phone again, worried that she'd missed a call somehow. Or what if Cardmouth University had tried to contact her at her lab in Boston, instead?
Still following the flow of human foot traffic toward the escalator, she tapped the number for her lab and brought the phone to her ear.
"Neuroplasticity lab," Jeff answered.
"Hi, it's Michelle."
"Too early to tell, I just landed." And California was likely to be awkward as all hell the moment she and Alex got a look at each other. Nothing to be done about that but remain casual, like she'd planned. "Did anyone call me?"
"Like ... oh, I don't know ... a certain university?" Jeff said.
"Please keep that to yourself," she said as she got on the escalator, tugging her carry-on behind her. "I don't want the powers-that-be at Hawthorn to get wind I'm looking for another job."
"My lips are sealed. I'll let you know immediately if they call," he said. "Have a good time in California."
"Thanks. Bye." By the time she got to the bottom of the escalator, she'd almost managed to stuff her phone into her purse. She fumbled with that while stepping onto the floor and pulling her bag behind her — and walking straight into a wall of solid muscle. What the ...
She glanced up, craning her neck, and found herself staring into eyes so blue they could only belong to one person — her brother's best friend, her idol, and her adolescent crush, all rolled into one — and her heart did the wing-flapping thing it had done back then, as if making its first attempts at flying. "Alex."
"Mickey!" For a moment, his face lit up with the killer smile that had made him Mr. Popularity in high school and that now seduced every beautiful woman he met. He pulled her aside. "Someone's going to come crashing into your back if you don't move."
Of course. Not more than a few seconds in his presence, and she'd already done something dumb. Now that they were out of the flow of humanity headed toward the baggage carousel, he took a step away from her, and his grin faltered. He was remembering that awful afternoon, of course. Eight years ago, the last time they'd seen each other. She sighed inwardly. Let the awkwardness begin.
"God, it's great to see you," he said after a few seconds.
For a moment, she just stood, drinking in the sight of him. She had her memories of him as a kid and then young man. For the last few years, she'd followed him in his National Football League career. On television, he looked edible. In person, he took her breath away.
After long seconds, she found her voice. "How did you find out what flight I was on?"
"You told Mom, remember?"
Of course she had. Emma had asked, and although Michelle had told her she'd rent a car, she should have known Alex's mom would insist on sending someone for her. Only, why couldn't she have sent someone else? Anyone else.
"If someone had to get me, my brother could have done it."
"Kyle had an event at the winery," Alex said. "He'll be at the house when we get there."
"So Emma deputized you to pick me up?" Michelle asked.
"I guess this is your lucky day."
Okay, what had she rehearsed? Friendly but casual. Unaffected by seeing him again. That ghastly argument had never happened or didn't matter. She'd put it behind her. She plastered a smile on her features. "You didn't have to meet me. I rented a car."
"Like hell. Mom and Dad would have had my hide if I didn't pick you up."
So of all people, Alex Stafford had to come get her, looking even better than he had the last time she'd laid eyes on him.
Ever since he'd made letters in baseball and football in high school, he'd been muscular from the weightlifting. No longer lanky, he'd filled out through college and now pro-football — namely, All-Pro linebacker for the New York Giants. Muscles bulged under his sweater, and his jeans fit him like a second skin. All male, all hunk, but he still had the same boy-next-door good looks, including the scar at his temple from a skateboard accident. The same sandy hair and crystal blue eyes — eyes that now filled with warmth, welcome, and more than a little uncertainty. For her.
"It's good to see you, too," she said. Yeah, see him and undress him with her eyes.
He tucked his fingers into the back pockets of his jeans while he gave her a onceover. "You look great."
"Thanks." Her skin heated. Damn, he'd see her blush.
"I mean, really. Your hair and makeup. Your ..." He looked her up and down again, from her hair to her shoes, and then cleared his throat. Awkward.
"It's called growing up, Alex."
"I guess I still think of you as Kyle's kid sister, Mickey," he said.
Great. Just flipping great. The story of her life. "Look, thanks for coming to pick me up, but I think I'll keep the rental car."
"Why?" he said. "That doesn't make any sense."
"Because ..." She stood her ground and stared at him. She hadn't planned on having this battle right here in the terminal. In fact, she hadn't planned on it anywhere until she'd already established herself at the B&B. But if SFO was going to be the theater of war, it could start right now. "I'll need the car to get around."
"Around where? The party's at the house."
"And I'm staying at the B&B in town. If I don't have a car, someone will have to pick me up and drive me back every day."
The expression on his face said he'd never heard anything so stupid. "Didn't Mom tell you? You and Kyle are staying with us."
"I don't want to impose." She'd rehearsed that line often enough that it came out naturally.
"Impose? This is my family we're talking about. Your family, too. We had sleepovers our whole lives."
"When we were twelve, Alex. We're not twelve anymore," she said.
"Yeah, I noticed," he mumbled, or something that sounded like that.
"I beg your pardon."
"What I meant is we're not going to have pillow fights and stay up in our PJs watching scary movies," he said. "You'll have your own room."
"I need my privacy." Major understatement there. She'd had to accept the invitation to his parents' thirty-fifth anniversary and his father's sixty-fifth birthday party. His mother and father had meant too much to her when she was growing up. Of course, that meant a reunion with Alex, which she couldn't avoid. She could, however, spend as little time in his presence as possible. "I'm staying at the B&B. I have a reservation."
"Actually, no you don't."
This time it was her turn to stare at him. "What did you say?"
"You don't have a reservation. I cancelled it."
Her jaw dropped. "You what?"
"Cancelled it." He crossed his arms over his chest. "I figured you might try something like that, so I called the B&B to check. Sure enough, they had your reservation, so I explained you didn't need it after all."
Good Lord in heaven. She walked right up to him and got into his face. "You didn't. You wouldn't."
He stared down at her, wearing the same stubborn expression he got when he was doing something for "your own good." "I did, and I'd do it again."
"Damn it, Alex." Great, no more than five minutes in his presence, and she was already shouting.
"Can we have this argument in the car?"
"No, we can have it right here." Once inside a car with him, he could crowd her with his warmth and body ... his overwhelming physical presence. She turned into the marshmallow filling of a s'more around him — hot and gooey — and she had no reason to think that had changed in the eight years she'd stayed away.
"Please. I'm kind of a public figure now." He glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, some onlookers had taken notice. People would stare at any argument in public, but in this case, lots of people around them were watching, and one man had aimed his cell phone at them to record the interaction. Damn it all to hell.
"All right," she said between gritted teeth.
"Thanks." With one hand, he grabbed the handle of her carry-on. The other cupped her elbow as he led her toward the baggage claim. So like him ... taking charge. And her body did what it always did, fitting her movements to his. Even with his long legs, she matched his stride.
For travel, she'd worn comfortable shoes. The insanely high heels she'd packed wouldn't allow her to walk so quickly, but they'd give her other kinds of moves. She hadn't managed to beat down the devil inside her that had insisted she buy them and bring them along to see how Alex, the NFL's hottest playboy, would react. The same devil had tucked the skinny, sequined dress into her bag, too. She could still chicken out and not wear them.
When they got to baggage claim, he stopped in front of the carousel where her luggage would appear and stuck out his hand. "The papers for your rental, please."
"You're going to cancel that, too?"
"You won't need it to get to the house," he said. "You'll be staying there."
"What if I want it to do something like shopping or wine tasting?"
"One, there'll be lots of cars at the house. Two, you won't have time for much of anything but the party." He counted off his points on the fingers of one hand. "And three, Kyle's already brought all the wine anyone would need."
Ah, yes. Her brother, the vintner. The guy too busy to pick her up, leaving her to ride all the way to Sonoma next to the man who'd humiliated her and then rejected her.
"Come on, Mickey, cooperate for Mom and Dad's sake," he said as he stuck out his hand again. "Do you want them to think there's still something wrong between us?"
Oh, great. She was not discussing that with him. Not now. Not ever. So, in the interest of getting out of the airport without airing their personal business in public, she fished into her oversized bag and produced the papers. He snatched them as if she'd yank them back and pulled out his phone. After glancing at the form for the rental agency, he dialed and then scowled.
"The number's on there," she said.
"I can see that."
"Bad reception?" she asked.
He glanced up. "What? Oh, yeah, reception. I'll try from over by the windows."
She let her gaze linger on him as he left. He wouldn't see, and she could indulge herself for a few seconds. He still had the tightest ass in all of male humanity. She ought to know. She'd spent many Sunday afternoons during football season searching for him on television. The uniform accentuated his wide shoulders and tight abs, but he looked pretty damned fabulous in jeans and a sweater, too. How many times had she fantasized about using his body as a playground? She couldn't stifle a sigh that was part groan.
Before she could get totally lost in heated fantasy about her brother's best friend, the carousel started up with a crash of metal. Luggage slid up the conveyor belt and dropped down to where people could retrieve it. She half-heartedly watched for her own baggage while keeping an eye on Alex.
When he finished his call, he strode back across the baggage claim area with the grace of the natural athlete he was. She wasn't the only one watching him, either. A woman standing at the next carousel followed him as her eyes widened in appreciation. No wonder. His faded jeans clung to his narrow hips and emphasized the length of his legs, and he'd pulled the sleeves of his sweater up to expose strong forearms dusted with sun-lightened hairs. The way he moved conjured up images of how he'd perform in an under-the-covers dance. He was, quite simply, temptation personified.
He glanced in the woman's direction and gave her a smile before returning his attention to Michelle. He'd had a way with women since the day he'd discovered girls in high school. He'd dated the popular ones — cheerleaders and such — not the nerdy ones, like Michelle had been. But his talents with the opposite sex hadn't kept him from having a strict moral code as far as his best friend's kid sister was concerned. She could testify to that, much to her horror at the time and her continuing embarrassment.
A man standing with his family pointed toward Alex, and a small murmur went up. Most people recognized quarterbacks, with linebackers far less famous. Alex was All-Pro, though, and a local personality. He'd been spotted.
The man approached Alex and said a few words. Soon, his family joined them — his wife and a son and daughter. The girl was maybe ten or eleven, and she held a small football in her hand. Alex crouched to her eye level and spoke to her, finally pulling a felt-tip pen from his back pocket and signing her ball. The father produced something like a postcard, and Alex autographed that, too, and handed it to the boy. Then, he ruffled both kids' hair and straightened.
So like him not to ignore the girl. Another pro football player might have. But Alex had always encouraged Michelle when they were small. Always picked her up when dear old Dad had said something that hurt her. At the time, she'd thought she'd always have Alex to turn to. Then she'd made that supremely stupid mistake and changed things between them forever.
But enough of that. Realistically, she could never have continued their innocent friendship after she'd matured enough to realize why men and women were built the way they were. No healthy female could look at a body like his and think of comfort. And his lips were made for sinning, not pleasant conversation. But then, she would have joined the legions of women who wanted him, and he would have gone on ignoring her in favor of the beautiful ones. She might have a PhD and a research job with the promise of an even better one on the horizon, but even the sequined dress and the platform shoes would only get a blip of interest from him. Nevertheless, she'd take that. One way or another, she'd prove to him that she'd grown up and she didn't need him or his approval any longer.
When he'd finished with his fans, he headed back toward her. She finally started paying attention to her luggage and noticed that her suitcase had just passed, and it would have to make a full circuit back before she could retrieve it. He approached where she was standing and put his hand at the small of her back. A small, possessive gesture that set her heart to fluttering despite her best intentions. From the corner of her eye, she caught the other woman glancing away from Alex. That gave her a sense of feminine pride. Completely unearned, as Alex wasn't hers in any sense of the word.
"Which is your bag?" he asked.
She pointed. "The blue one."
"Right." When the suitcase reached them, he snatched it and set it onto its wheels. "Come on. Let's go home."
* * *
Alex couldn't stop looking at her, even as he drove his brother Chase's BMW sports car down the off-ramp and onto a country road. He'd gone to SFO to pick up little Mickey Dennis, his best friend's kid sister, and he'd ended up with this beauty, instead.
Actually, her looks shouldn't have surprised him because she'd been well on her way to loveliness during her senior year in high school. Her amber hair had swung in a thick waterfall down her back, and her long limbs had created fantasies in his hormone-driven imagination of her twining her arms around him. Her legs, too, now that he thought about it. Those images had so frightened him — she was Kyle's sister, for cripe's sake! — that he'd suppressed them. Now they came roaring back, powered by eight years of denial.
Excerpted from Just One Week by Alice Gaines, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2016 Alice Gaines. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Super fun, cute read. Low on angst and high on fun makes this an excellent light read. It's a second chance story and brother's best friend story rolled into one. I really loved the family dynamics and could easily see how the younger Michelle would have had a huge crush on Alex. Even though at times I just wanted to yell at Michelle to get over it already, I did enjoy her character. Then there is Alex who is just all kinds of yummy! There is obvious chemistry between Michelle and Alex. While the story was fairly predictable it was also very entertaining.. This one definitely left me smiling and it's a book I would highly recommend.
If you are looking for a light, quick read, then Just One Week by Alice Gaines is the book for you. I found myself enjoying both the two main characters, Michelle and Alex. After having a lifetime of memories together, good and bad, they are finally reunited after Michelle fled after an embarrassing encounter that has stayed with her for eight years. When Football star Alex picks his best friends sister up at the airport, he almost had to a double take, as he was stunned at what he was seeing. The girl that he used to remember was no more and in her place was a beautiful bombshell. Michelle has been waiting for this moment for eight years, but she couldn't help but fight the attraction and chemistry between the two. When Alex's mom gets in the mix and starts to play matchmaker, both Michelle and Alex don't have a leg to stand on. The connection between the two is too hard to fight and they cannot help but be drawn to one another .... however, will resentment and secrets tear them apart? Alice Gaines does a good job of creating an interesting storyline and characters with whom her audience can identify and enjoy. I found myself reading Just One Week in less than a day, as it was that good. If you enjoy Sports Romance, Contemporary Romance and a good laugh then make sure you add Just One Week to your To-Be-Read Shelf.
This is an interesting read. The story is engaging and I loved the characters. I recommend it all readers who enjoy a good contemporary romance. For eight years Michelle has avoided coming back to her home town. She doesn't have many happy memories of this place and a few that she has involves Alex. But the last time they were together something happened to make her run away and never look back.. until now.. It's Alex's parents anniversary and since they are like parents to her too she must attend the party. Not to worry though, it's just one week. She can handle one week of Alex's company without giving away the fact that after so many years she still feels hurt and betrayed by his words. Alex has been waiting for an opportunity like this. He must make amends. It was his fault that Mickey never came home and now it's time that he clears the air. He just needs her to listen him out and then may be she will forgive him. This time he doesn't want her to go away for so long. He had missed her. So now that they have been thrown back together things will get interesting. No matter how hard they try they cannot deny the attraction or the love they feel for each other. But will they be able to overcome their differences is another question entirely... The book is quite good, the only thing that annoyed me a little was all the intrigue author created about "eight years ago" but in the end explanation was quite enough for Michelle to leave the way she did. I wanted more to understand what exactly had happened. But in any case it was a good read.
Mickey and Alex had more in common than each was willing to admit. A broken heart tore apart the close friendship they shared. A bruised ego kept them apart for eight years. And an inferiority complex stands in the way of a chance for reconciliation. Just One Week shows how hurt and insecurity can create a breach in the strongest of relationships. With age Michelle and Alex had to learn how to move on from the pain of the past and look ahead to a chance at happiness together. A new author, a tempting story and a insightful read.
Wow I loved this book. I couldn't put it down until I was done. I am glad that Alex finally got his head out of his butt. Michelle is a wonderful woman that truly loved Alex and it showed. I thank you for such a beautiful story.
Just as in real life, self-doubt can ruin you; thank goodness this character realized that feelings of love should ALWAYS trump pride.
The first novel I've read of Alice Gaines but not the last.
Super cute & super sweet read. This book just lifted my spirits as I read it & I look forward to reading more by Alice Gaines. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
I love the theme long time love of your sibling's best friend. I absolutely adored the chemistry between Michelle and Alex. Both were extremely likeable and characters you could cheer for. Alex was so sincere in his regret of what happened in their past and in wanting to fix it. This made me like him more. And Michelle with her wanting him to see what he missed, priceless. But when they came together, they were golden. I thoroughly enjoyed Alex's family and their interaction. I hope we see more from this family. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
Just One Week is a fun story that is a classic retelling of the little sister's best friend Michelle fell in love with her friend older brother Alex. He broke her heart and she avoided him for 8 years. Michelle returned to town to help Alex's parents celebrate their 35 anniversary and guess who picks him up at the Airport, Alex. He has become a successful NFL player and is determined to gain Michelle's forgiveness. Michelle decides to give Alex a chance and her old feelings for him return. How will Michelle react when she learns Alex's big secret and the fact he liked her too? This is a story that just made me smile! I enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters, how the author dealt with dyslexia, and the interaction between the main characters and their family. I flew through this book and am eagerly awaiting more from Ms, Gaines. I was given a free copy for an honest review.
Just One Week is a fun story that is a classic retelling of the little sister's best friend Michelle fell in love with her friend older brother Alex. He broke her heart and she avoided him for 8 years. Michelle returned to town to help Alex's parents celebrate their 35 anniversary and guess who picks him up at the Airport, Alex. He has become a successful NFL player and is determined to gain Michelle's forgiveness. Michelle decides to give Alex a chance and her old feelings for him return. How will Michelle react when she learns Alex's big secret and the fact he liked her too? This is a story that just made me smile! I enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters, how the author dealt with dyslexia, and the interaction between the main characters and their family. I flew through this book and am eagerly awaiting more fro Ms, Gaines. I was given a free copy for an honest review.
When I was offered a chance to review Just One Week, I saw that pretty cover, read the blurb (for once in my life), and thought it was something I'd enjoy. The beginning had a lot going for it. I was immediately sucked into the story. Although it was an all around enjoyable read, there were some things in it that made it seem like the author should have been writing a different age group for the hero and heroine. As an example, I don't know many 30 year olds who actually wear robes, including this 30 year old. Even with a few blips in the story, I enjoyed it enough for it to keep my attention and wanting to know how the story ended. And Alex started off as a strong Alpha, but he calmed into a sweetheart with insecurities that had me feeling for him. I was, also, quite intrigued by Chase and Liane. I am looking forward to reading their book in the future.
Michelle Dennis, or Mickey as she was known to everyone eight years ago, has a falling out with Alex, her brother’s best friend and the boy she once loved. It is has been eight long years since she has seen him in person. Now, she is spending the next week with him and his family and things are about to get awkward. I love a good brother’s best friend romance. Just One Week was good. It had all the elements of a great romance-angst, swoon-worthy romance and some steamy sexy times. The characters were great, especially Michelle, Alex and Alex’s brother, who was a snarky ball of fun! If you’re in the mood for a second chance, brother’s best friend romance, then this is one to read! I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars! This was a cute short story about a second chance love. Michelle and her brother, Kyle didn't have the greatest home life. Michelle's father seemed to take great pleasure in cutting her down. Kyle's best friend Alex and his family took them both into the family showing them the love they should have received from their own parents. This story takes place 8 years after Michelle graduated from high school and left town for good. Michelle fell in love with Alex when they were kids. She idolized him and he was always there protecting her, showing her affection she craved. That is until a confrontation happened that hurt her so bad that she left and never looked back. Michelle kept in touch with his parents but never came back home. Finally Emma and Jim, Alex's parents, convinced her to come back home for their anniversary party and Michelle knew it was time to face Alex again. The author doesn't reveal what happened to cause Michelle to leave until much later in the story so I'll keep that a mystery. There is a lot of hurt feelings but still love between Michelle and Alex and both have their own insecurities. This story is about them overcoming those insecurities and allowing them to be who they are and still feel they deserve love. This is a safe read. No other woman/man drama and no abuse. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating 3.5/5 Looking for a cute, sweet, second chance romance? This is probably just what you need. Eight years ago Michelle Dennis had a huge crush on the best friend of her older brother, Alex Stafford. Eight years ago he came to her rescue then said some hateful things. Two weeks later she went off to college and they’ve never seen each other since. What makes that even worse is that his parents were like parents to Michelle and her brother, Kyle, often providing a safe haven away from their own, less tranquil and caring, home. Neither Kyle nor Michelle have ever told any of their families about what occurred and, although they kept in phone and letter contact, she never returned – until now. Now she’s coming back for the family celebrations of his Dad’s birthday and his parents’ wedding anniversary and that’s going to prove to be a testing time for both Michelle and Alex! I loved Jim’s mother, Vivian and the Stafford family generally. The meddlesome matchmaking mum comes into her own in this story during which Michelle seems to run through the whole gamut of emotions regarding her relationship with Alex whilst he has to come to terms with admitting he isn’t perfect and be honest with his supposed best friend and Michelle. A great beach read with a brainiac female lead and a handsome sports star male lead who is full of intellectual insecurities both needing to be honest to have any chance at achieving their happy ever after together. Many thanks to the publishers for gifting me an ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for this, my honest review.
Michelle and Alex haven't seen each other in eight years, ever since Alex made a big mistake that he couldn't take back, hurting Michelle in the process. Back together for his parent's anniversary, a couple who had a large hand in raising Michelle and her brother Kyle, it's the perfect time for Alex to own up to his failings and try to fix things with Michelle. They were friends once - can they recapture that friendship, and maybe now that they are both older and wiser, own up to the depth of their feelings for each other? This is an easy and fairly lighthearted read with some pluses and minuses for me. Alex and Michelle definitely have chemistry together and the sexual attraction between them leads to some sexy scenes. Their families play a key role in the story and I liked all of the secondary characters, especially Alex's parents and his brother Chase (who, as all brothers are wont to do, makes Alex question his motives and actions). Alex is a football star but he's on holidays here, so the sports theme is minimal. This story relies on a 'secret' to explain why Alex never thought he was good enough for Michelle (a well liked and smart biochemist) and that's not my favourite plot idea, especially when it takes until the end of the story to get the big reveal. Also, I'm a little tired of stories with the 'sleep with my sister and you'll regret it' theme, which is part and parcel of Kyle's attitude towards Alex. Despite these minuses, the themes of forgiveness, honesty and moving forward, combined with a sexy romance made this an overall enjoyable read.
DNF at 48%. I'm sorry, I tried more than once with this novel but I found myself grinding my teeth once too often. Michelle Dennis is an academic on the verge of getting a faculty position at a prominent University. She is also on the way to her brother's best friend, Alex Stafford's, parents' wedding anniversary party, days celebrating with a family she has been actively avoiding for eight years after Alex humiliated her. My hackles raised when Alex met Michelle at the airport and calmly announced that not only was he driving her to his parents' house, despite her already having hired a car, but he had also cancelled her reservation at the local B&B and she was being forced to stay at the house. Although actually it wasn't the house, it was the cottage nearby, the scene of the aforementioned humiliation. Alex is determined to 'have it out' with Michelle and talk about what happened eight years ago, and frankly he doesn't care a single iota what Michelle wants. Alex also has a huge chip on his shoulder because he is dyslexic, he's a millionaire NFL player but he suffers from crippling anxiety that he can barely read and write - in fact he orders the same thing in practically every restaurant rather than try to read the menu. Now I have great sympathy for people with dyslexia but Alex's attitude seemed a little bizarre. On one hand he is pushy and, despite being the person in the wrong, forcing Michelle to do what he wants, yet on the other hand he feels intellectually inferior to her and believes she would look down on him if she ever found out the truth. Add in Alex's pushy mother who keeps trying to match-make the two of them, his crone of a grandmother who subjects Michelle to an interrogation, and his father who deliveries irritating homilies - the subtext of which appears to be 'you might be clever, but what you really need is a husband and some children to keep you busy' - and I bailed. I think this might have worked better for me if Alex hadn't been such a bully, if his mother had done all the manoeuvring and Alex and Michelle were her hapless pawns? I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review and I remain grateful even though I didn't enjoy the book.