Unexpected Love. Casey Clipper. 2014. 213 pages. Amazon Digital Publishing. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of The Book Gurus.]
Unexpected Love is the second installment in Clipper’s “Love Series.” As far as I can tell, the series revolves around a group of cousins in the Millen family. Close-knit to a fault, the family is filled with ex-military alpha males who protect the women in their families at all costs. This book in particular focuses on Ryan Millen, a playboy whose life is turned upside down when he unexpectedly becomes a father overnight. Financially strapped Lynn enters his life and the two find a seemingly mutually beneficial arrangement around the care of his son newborn son Brady.
I think this is a great book for readers who enjoy romances filled with Alpha males and/or military-types. Every single man in this book is imposing and aggressive, bordering on overbearing. The women in the book seem to enjoy that so it works. But if that’s not your thing … Unexpected Love may not suit your fancy. Regardless of personality type, the guys in the book mean well and Clipper does a good job of pairing them with women who balance them out and in some cases go toe-to-toe with them. The author also manages to highlight the value of loyalty and family throughout. She captures the love that the couples have within their relationships, though that often looks different from one to the next.
The story is an interesting read, but there are a few issues I ran into that kept me from really enjoying it. First, I struggled with the plot. I didn’t find Ryan’s growth entirely realistic, and Lynn was more at his beck and call than in charge of her own decisions. While the sentiment behind their actions seemed genuine, they didn’t seem very likely to happen at the pace the author presents them. I also felt the plot created new obstacles and resolved them at a rushed pace. It’s as if the loose ends were tied up simply to be able to get to a new obstacle. I also found the grammatical errors frustrating, although not overtaking. A re-edit would resolve the issues easily.
The treatment/development of cursory characters left a lot to be desired. While a significant amount of development wasn’t necessary for Brady’s mother Katey or Lynn’s ex-boyfriend Robert, their roles in the plot are undeniable. I felt Katey’s reappearance was unrealistically sudden and its resolution left me wanting more. The same can be said for Robert’s initial presence and exit. I would have appreciated a more fleshed-out handling of how these two fit into the story, rather than something that felt rushed to pull or push them out of the storyline.
This book can be read as a standalone, but I don’t recommend doing so. It is very clear that in order to understand the complex relationships and references in Unexpected Love, you need to know the back-story of the other couples, namely Sean and Beth and Darren and Courtney. I found myself getting frustrated because I wanted to understand the nuances of character behaviors, responses and descriptions of previous events. I hoped they’d be addressed in this book, but they weren’t. After doing my own research and seeing there are at least 4 books prior to this one that tell the stories of all of the characters, I will make an effort to read those before moving on to another book in the “Love Series.”