A delightful story and a fabulous add to Barth’s romantic series.
For the past decade Riley Ness has been trying and succeeding in keeping his demons at bay by following the Boy Scout motto “always prepared” for all possibilities, paying attention to every detail, leaving nothing to chance. Those are a lot of absolutes to define one person, they’re great qualities to have in his line of work, not so great for the people that are close to him. Except this blood brothers. The other four men who were there in the horrific accident that solidified their brotherhood all those years ago. So when one of his friends. So when one of his friends’ girlfriend starts bringing her wild and carefree BFF around, Riley’s life turns inside out. Because while his brain is screaming “Danger, run away!” his body is telling him the opposite.
For a woman who lives by the seat of her pants like Summer, someone who frowns upon little things such as jaywalking is way too uptight to even be around, much less interact with. Too bad all those boring suits hide a ridiculously attractive man. This juxtaposition is probably the reason for her knee jerk reaction to mock him at every turn, why they’re at it like cats and dogs and why, for the sake of their best friend’s they’ve reached a cease fire, which started when Riley kissed her to shut her up. Can they find a way to meet each other in the middle so they can not only explore their obvious attraction but perhaps more?
I have thoroughly enjoyed Christi Barth’s Naked Men series so far but I think this one is my favorite yet. Perhaps it was the tortured hero and heroine combination, both having lived through traumatic experiences but coping in diametrical ways. Perhaps this being the fourth book, I just feel like one of the gang or maybe it’s the deliciously hot chemistry between Riley and Summer. It could very well be the combination of all of the above. The point is, I definitely took pleasure in reading this story.
I’m going to go back a bit and comment on the reason why I was attracted to this series in the first place because it’s very original and I feel it got a bit lost in this one. Naked Men is a blog turned into a highly successful podcast. It was originally created by the five friends, also known as the American Soccer Survivors. Growing up and going their separate lives, the blog was created for them to keep in touch and to share with the world their thoughts on anything and everything. Can you imagine what guys like to talk about?
That’s the bare bones behind the Naked Men and in this book Riley wants to take them further by creating a foundation that would get seatbelts put in buses, something that would have mitigated their injuries when their bus slid down a cliff. Riley is a great hero. He’s selfless and wants to make a difference, is always trying to help others, but his life is ruled by fear even though he doesn’t see it that way and it’s easy to dismiss because his meticulous actions make for sweet and swoon worthy moments.
Even though I wanted to shake some sense into Summer almost at the end, I loved and even envied her cheerful and relaxed approach to life. Which on paper was completely wrong for Riley but her happy-go-lucky attitude combined with her strength and understanding makes her perfect for Riley.
I enjoyed Summer and Riley’s push and pull enemies to lovers relationship. They both had big issues to overcome but with the right partner and a little help from their friends, who by the way I loved catching up with, almost anything is possible. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, but I’m also dreading it because it’ll probably be the end of an awesome series.
Trying It All is book #4 in the Naked Men series by Christi Barth. It is a standalone contemporary romance. Told from both points of view and has a happy ending.
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *