After All by Karina Halle
Published by Metal Blonde Books on July 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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After All is a standalone lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance from the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact and Before I Ever Met You.
Emmett Hill is the perfect gentleman.
At least that’s what his PR team wants the world to think.
Tall, handsome, and wickedly charming, Emmett is in the midst of a career comeback, having landed the role of a villain in a popular TV show. The only problem is, Emmett has come a long way from the “nice guy” characters he used to play and his old squeaky clean image is quickly being tarnished by bar fights, womanizing and bad boy behaviour. Considering he’s two years shy of forty, it’s an act he needs to drop. And fast.
Enter Alyssa Martin.
At twenty-eight, Alyssa is tired and ready for a change. Her job as office manager has grown stagnant and unfulfilling, while she’s become continuously frustrated with Vancouver’s lackluster dating scene, always searching for Mr. Right in a city of Mr. Wrongs.
When Emmett and Alyssa’s paths cross at a mutual friend’s wedding, their chemistry is off-the-charts hot, culminating in a steamy one-night stand.
What neither expected was for the media catch wind of their coupling – and run with it.
Now Emmett has to convince Alyssa to date him for the sake of his image. Her curvy, cute and “normal” persona is just the ticket to smoothing out his reputation, while Emmett provides Alyssa with the excitement and change her life has been lacking.
The only problem is, the two fight like cats and dogs outside of the bedroom.
And considering their arrangement is just for show, they shouldn’t be in the bedroom with each other anyway.
Try telling them that.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
After All took me by surprise with the light-hearted entertaining pretend/real romance between Emmett and Alyssa. Emmett’s reputation precedes him and he reinforces the public’s opinion of him by constantly getting himself mixed up in trouble. At his best mates wedding, his world is turned around when he finds out he has to accompany two bridesmaids he has dubbed “Blondie” and “Non-Blondie” down the aisle. Blondie also known as Alyssa is the same woman his mates have told him is off-limits.
The wedding ends up rating as one of the best nights Alyssa and Emmett have experienced. Alyssa assumes it will stop there but where would the fun be with that?! So begins a story of enemies to friends and eventually lovers.
Emmett is an actor, a bit older than Alyssa and totally smitten with her personality and looks. He’s a guy who can’t seem to win a trick when it comes to living his life without drama, especially where the paparazzi are concerned. Drama or acting is a constant theme woven into the plot to the extent I mistook an early scene as being real rather than pretend.
Whenever she is with Emmett, Alyssa is frequently wondering if what they are sharing is reality or pretense. Rightly so, because initially, they both agree to a deal to fool the media to put a positive swing into the reporting on Emmett’s private life.
Both Emmett and Alyssa come from troubled backgrounds, Emmett’s overshadows Alyssa’s but both have an influence on their fears of entering relationships and cautiousness in trusting others.
Putting aside the dramas they both encounter, their story had me smiling so much more than you would imagine. Alyssa is a strong woman, who came across as distant and snappy. In reality, she used her prickly nature to ward off others to protect herself from hurt. Coming across a known player like Emmett brings her totally undone. He challenges her on every level and in doing so slowly brings down the walls she has built around herself.
As an Australian, I found the Aussie references spot on as if they were added for my benefit (which I’m pretty sure Ms. Halle didn’t do LOL). The characters had a lot of lighthearted debates that treated the topics broached with a poignant respect. Each time I raised my eyebrows either as in agreement or surprise!
After All warmed my heart and added cheer to a cold wintery day, not only taking my mind off the weather but a rather stressful day. I snuggled up on the lounge whenever I could, knitting and balancing my Kindle, delighting in Emmett’s charm and Alyssa’s determination to be true to herself. For a contemporary romance, this had just the right mix of angst, drama, and romance. Emmett certainly knew how to play his part on and off the stage!
Rating: 4 Charm filled Stars
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