FALLING FOR MAX – Shannon Stacey
The Kowalskis , Book 8
Carina Press (Print)
Whitford, Maine – Present Day
Tori Burns moved to Whitford to get away from her parents acrimonious attitude against each other that put their only child in the middle. She is an artist, but enjoys working on the side at the local diner. Also fairly new in town, Max Crawford is serious and has everyone buzzing about what he does for a living. He also seems to never date, so when he asks Tori to be a matchmaker for him, she's surprised, even as she agrees. First Tori has to teach Max about the rules of attracting a woman, yet the more she's around him, the greater she finds herself jealous of any woman who might land Max. Does she care more for him than she's letting on?
Max is what people call socially inept, mainly due to his lack of experience around women. He does feel comfortable with Tori, who is part of his extended group of friends that hang out together. While he considers Tori a friend, he soon discovers that he is measuring the first woman he dates to her. After first resisting the mutual attraction, Tori and Max soon drift into a “friends with benefits” arrangement, even as she makes it clear that she has no plans to marry because of her parents' own failed marriage. Can Max convince Tori that he's the one for her?
Everyone in town has welcomed newcomer Tori into town, but Max is looked at with trepidation as he keeps to himself and has a mysterious source of income. Max decides to expand his options and find a woman to love, but needs help and enlists Tori to help him. After some instruction ala My Fair Lady , Max takes the plunge and asks a woman out. He's loveable but goofy as Tori tweaks his rough edges in FALLING FOR MAX. But the woman he falls for is Tori…
Tori rebuffs Max's attempts at changing their relationship from friends to lovers, but soon gives in when the desire between them heats up. She makes it clear that they can't go beyond romps in bed because she plans never to marry. Even as much as she hates the idea of seeing Max with another woman, she can't give her heart to a man for fear she'll end up like her bitter mother. Soon Max is seeking out Tori and doing all he can do to win her, but when she puts the brakes on a future for them, he wonders how he can be around her any longer…
FALLING FOR MAX is filled with both emotion and humor as Max and Tori's road to happiness is one bumpy ride. Living in a small town like Whitford, neither can keep their relationship a secret. If you haven't read the Kowalski series before FALLING FOR MAX, it might be a bit difficult to understand who is who, but this tale can be read as a standalone as I had no trouble following the story.
Love hits just when they least expect it for Max and Tori in FALLING FOR MAX and makes for a tale that is both enjoyable and poignant.