Absolutely zero emotional pay off in this. There was no connection between the main characters and me as the reader and it took a lot to swallow the idea of Bram and Georgie falling in love when there was barely any page time actually showing
them falling for each other. And lets not forget that cockamamie confusing-as-hell stunt Bram pulls near the end. Are you kidding me? Seriously SEP?
Instead 90% of the book shows little to no movement in the story or couple's relationship for that matter. It was weird to see how much page time was wasted on showing these two going through day-to-day routines while trying to avoid each other and plaster fake smiles and fake brittle lovey dovey moments for the public while there was zero intimate genuine moments (including the sex). It all came off so hallow and fake. I think SEP went a little too far in convincing readers that their marriage is indeed a sham and totally fake cause that's exactly what I was getting through the entire book. What we really get is a whole bunch of shallow bickering, goading, sarcastic half truths used as cute 'banter' filler with no real genuine meaningful dialogue between them. There wasn't even ONE meaningful moment between these two. And yet here I am supposed to buy the ending where Bram has his magic 'aha!' moment where he discovers that he really does love his 'wife'. Oh please. Sure snarky jabs can be fun and great to use as humor but it can only go so far. Half the time I wasn't sure whether either one was being serious or pulling another snarky lie to play up the sham of the marriage they are trying to convince everyone is real. It just got to be one big muddled mess. I struggled the entire time to see these two actually falling in love given the countless lies and easy denials coming from both about not loving the other. It's not cute or funny.
And once again in typical SEP fashion we get a chauvinistic self-centered cruel dickwad for a hero in this, Bramwell Shepard. He's a real pill in the first half of the book but of course he shows another side of him that no one expects to see and of course everyone (including Georgie) sells him short continuously thinking he's never going to change (which I found irritating as hell). I love broody angsty messed up heroes who have a little bad side in them but SEP's heroes push the boundaries and test my limits with how much fuckery and assholiness I can take. And Georgie frustrated me too at times, at one point I wanted to throw my shoe at her. I did like the epilogue in this, it was needed considering the initial ending I found to be weak so the epilogue did help and made me less agitated. But still, the overall pacing and momentum of this story needed serious cutting down or juicing up. I was surprised at how much unnecessary tedious filler crap was stuffed into this story only for it to drag out to a shaky poor underwhelming ending. The pay off wasn't there IMO.