"I bet you a kiss you can't resist me."
At six foot six, Axel Heller knows he intimidates most people. He's been crushing on the gorgeous waitress, Rena Jackson, for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he's way out of his depth and she's slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play…
Rena is a diehard romantic, and she's had her eye on Axel Heller for a while. He's got the tall-brooding-and-handsome thing down pat, but he guards his heart well, and Rena is tired of waiting for him to notice her.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, she decides it's time to forget about Axel and find her own Mr. Right. But that's when Axel makes her a bet that involves the steamiest kiss she's ever had...
Harte (Satisfaction Delivered) takes on more than she can chew with this entertaining love story that falls short of its ambitions. Bartender Rena Jackson and bar patron Axel Heller have been circling each other for almost a year. Axel, a white, German-American mechanic with a temper, has been too afraid of hurting Rena to ask her out. Black, hopeless romantic Rena, who is gearing up to quit her job and realize her dream of opening a hair salon, plans on leaving her crush on Axel behind her. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, Axel needs to learn to express his feelings and convince Rena to give him a shot. Harte loads this relatively simple premise with extraneous romance tropes hunky firefighters, abundant miscommunication while attempting to grapple with heavy topics including the challenges particular to interracial couples as Axel and Rena start dating and the racism Rena faces in her daily life, not to mention myriad other topics homophobia, gender roles, mental health issues that feature in the many subplots. None of these meaty themes are given the space to develop, resulting in a bloated plot and complex but underexplored characters. The central love story is sweet, but it gets lost in the noise.
Axel was adorable!
I've been following along with these families and friends for a while now. I'm the kind of reader who loves when characters constantly show up in book after book, so I can easily say that I really enjoyed seeing everyone again.
I've gotten to know both Rena and Axel as side characters. I'm always amazed how different a side character from a previous book can be once they become a main character. Axel was a very good surprise. I adored him in this book.
You get a lot of Axel's pov. The way he feels about Rena was something that just melted me into a puddle. The fact that he is this big, Viking-like guy who doesn't talk that much and can come off a bit scary, could show that shy, crush-like personality just slayed me. I loved him.
The problem with me loving Axel so much, is that I really wanted to knock Rena in the head. A lot. All I can say is if I had this Viking God courting me, I would die a happy woman. Despite wanting to shake Rena a few times, I did truly enjoy this book and seeing all my favorite side characters again.