Hot Pursuit is a hot mess.
I don't know what I was thinking with this one, but in my defense I was bored, in the mood for a good romance, enticed by the pretty cover (just look at that guy), and it was free. But, I guess as any good economist will tell you, nothing is ever truly free. Seems I always learn that the hard way whenever I download these Kindle freebies.
Aside from the pretty cover, the concept of the story intrigued me. The heroine, Evie, down on her luck after being swindled by her business partner, is forced to move back to her hometown. Matt, Evie's former high school crush, is back home for his sister's wedding. Matt also happens to be part of an elite military special forces unit. When Evie somehow finds herself embroiled in a situation created by her former business partner, she is forced to turn to Matt for help.
The story sounded like such good fun, and I think it had a lot of potential to be a fun, sexy romantic suspense if the author had taken more time to flesh everything out. As it was, what I like to call the "emotional pacing" felt off and rushed, and the characterizations were all over the place. These two people were supposed to be in their mid-late twenties, but they felt and behaved more like high school kids. And they weren't the only ones--the conversation between Evie and her friend Julie didn't seem authentic to women in their age group.
I just couldn't wrap my head around Evie and Matt's behavior. I'll give a few examples:
1. Matt and Evie were best friends as kids, and he essentially broke Evie's heart in a rather cruel way. He feels ashamed of his past behavior and apologizes to her...then proceeds to behave like a total sleazeball. Upon their second meeting at a party, after he's apologized for being a total a-hole, he compliments her dress then says, "Maybe I'd like to see what's under that dress."
Yeah. Way to show her you've changed, Matt.(show spoiler)
2. Upon seeing Matt for the first time, Evie wants to maintain some semblance of dignity. Yet, she's immediately hostile and sort of in his face about the way he had treated her when they were kids. Her behavior would have been fine if she hadn't just told me, the reader, that she wanted to maintain her dignity.
3. After seeing Evie for the first time in 10 years, Matt thinks:
"There was something about having her near, something that sparked inside him and made him feel somewhat human again. He didn't know why, and he didn't know if it would last. But he liked it. For the first time in months, he felt as if he could breath again. As if he'd come home for real instead of simply going through the motions."
This would have been fine except for the fact that she'd only spoken about 3 sentences to him and was also hostile towards him. His sentiment didn't fit with the situation and the timing of it just didn't feel right.
Anyway, after a few more ridiculously nonsensical and contrived scenes, I decided to call it quits.