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Content warning listed at bottom of review
In the courtroom, they’re rivals. In the bedroom, they’re . . . divorced. But could the road trip from hell lead to a second chance at love?
Aubrey Gates is the hottest divorce lawyer in Chicago, a barb-tongued stiletto with legs that go on for miles. When her cool gray eyes meet mine across the battlefield, I want her like I’ve never wanted anyone or anything. Then I remember who she is: the woman who brought me to my knees. The woman who destroyed my faith in relationships.
The woman I used to call . . . wife.
And she needs a favor from me, Grant Lincoln.
It seems my ex forgot to mention the demise of our marriage to her dear old grammie, and now we’re both expected to attend her ninetieth birthday party. In Boston. And because it isn’t already awkward enough, Aubrey and I are driving there together from Chicago. That’s more than a thousand miles of tension, heartbreak, and barely concealed lust.
A little piece of paper might say we’re over, but this road trip is the true test. I intend to get my wife back . . . and I won’t stop until “I do.”
Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review
Aubrey and Grant have been divorced for some time and they're still not used to it. There's familiarity that always seems to pull them together but stops just short of reconciliation. With so much unresolved anger and hurt they'd have to sort through before they can even move forward again and possibly have a genuine friendship much less a second crack at marriage. All this matters because they seriously do still love each other. They're also both divorce lawyers who work in close proximity, and they have mutual friends so there's no avoiding each other physically as they have avoided each other emotionally during their failed marriage. In the previous books, their friends speculated about the pair's breakup but no one knew what truly transpired because Aubrey and Grant chose to keep that to themselves. The reason for their separation is heartbreaking and what happened surrounding it is just as sad. It's not exactly a twist that Meader introduces but rather she took whatever assumptions we were going with and gave us something else instead.
The drive to Aubrey's parents' on the East Coast gives them ample time in the car to talk. Their easy banter, nostalgia and jokes would make you think all was right with the world. Yes, things get physical because lust was never really lacking between them. The emotional intimacy is trickier and that's what needs to be addressed. Meader turned things around by having Aubrey be tight-lipped, steadfastly against confiding in anyone and refusing to discuss her feelings, whereas Grant is the one who's desperate to seek advice and to hash things out. When they do finally unleash on each other, reopening those wounds that are still raw, it gets ugly before any healing or forgiveness can begin.
This is a far more sensitive read that unfortunately, a lot of people are familiar with, and Meader, I think, handled it delicately by offering a reminder that everyone processes their sorrow in their own way and time. You know, I liked both Down with Love and Illegally Yours but Then Came You got me right in the gut. As my heart sank and was wrung out through the shocking truths and brutal pain, I held on to the thought that things would right themselves. The bright spot is that this is a second chance romance with an eventual happily ever after.
Content Warning: divorce, miscarriage, dysfunctional family, pregnancy, marriage counseling