I wasn't going to leave a review but I will anyway because I loved this book so much. This is the third book in the Travis series. Here we have Jack Travis, the second eldest from the Travis siblings. He's a billionaire playboy who loves women and who pretty much lives by the 'play hard and work hard' ethic. Ella Varner is a love-advice columnist who ends up with a newborn baby in her arms thanks to her sister Tara's reckless affair. Ella is responsible for the baby Luke, while her sister is away at a clinic. She goes on the hunt to find the father of the baby and ends up in the swanky office in Houston, Texas of none other than Jack Travis.
I must say what really caught me by surprise was the pacing of the book. I had trouble with the first book in the series, Sugar Daddy. The pacing and set up was much slower and harder to get through but this one thankfully picked up really fast. Similar to Blue-Eyed Devil, there are some dark heavy issues the heroine Ella faces and tries to deal with with her very dysfunctional volcanic family. Kleypas really delves deep with some serious topics and doesn't shy away from it which I really love and commend her for doing. I of course had issues with Ella's family and how they went about interacting and asking 'favors' from her. Her mother in particular was complete poison to her and I got nervous whenever that woman came around Ella. No one should have a mother like that. I found myself wishing she would just tell her mother and sister to take a hike, I felt she gave them the easy way out one too many times and didn't put her foot down. But I understood where she was coming from and why she did what she did. The level of manipulation and complete delusion her sister and mother in particular carry is the only thing I found unbearable while reading.
Jack Travis was just simply marvelous all around. He made me swoon from beginning to end. I wasn't expecting that either. To be honest after reading the 'synopsis' on the back of the book I wasn't really interested in reading it I kept picking it up and putting it down but I finally gave in. I'm so very glad I did. I fell really hard for Jack. Yes he's got the confident swagger and Southern charm but he was so damn genuine and sincere in everything he did and just all around total sweetheart that you can't help but love the guy. That to me was a lethal combination. To have such a confident handsome man, a total alpha male, be so affectionate, playful and passionate with no apologies was really great. From the very first moment he met Ella, he regarded her with open curiosity and interest. No ulterior motives, no games, he simply went out of his way to help her and a baby he just met. That blew me away to be honest. I was waiting for volcanic arguments and Jack turning all nasty on Ella for coming into his life with a baby but no he totally surprised me. Even after Ella is convinced he's the father of Luke and demands that he takes responsibility he is completely patient and understanding about the whole thing and willing to take a paternity test. The man is sex on a stick but the fact that he goes out of his way to help Ella and her nephew every chance he gets was just amazing and made him even more appealing. For all the gossip and hype his reputation got for being a playboy he was a complete gentlemen about the whole thing.
And on top of that, what sold me was this line 'I've wanted to do this since the second I saw you.' Oh man. I was putty after that. Yeah I know what's the big deal right? That line has been used and overused in possibly every chick-lit contemporary AND historical romance book. But what really sells it here and makes it so believable and stand out is that the whole book is from Ella's POV. It's a first person narrative so you don't get to go inside Jack's head or get his perspective on anything. So to hear him say that regarding their very first meeting was a nice surprise and sweet treat. I'm generally not a fan of 1st person narratives, so I had my moments where I was dying to know what Jack's POV was but once again LK managed to work around it and make it work. It's safe to say I loved this book and I'm a total Jack Travis fanatic. And Ella was adorable and very fun to read about. I loved her from the very beginning as well. She definitely had a difficult childhood and carries so much responsibility on her shoulders. It was painful at times to see her take on everything by herself and her not even complaining about it but trudging on. She made me root for her and seeing her fall for Jack and overcome her personal fears and demons was wonderful to read about.
Very well written, sexy, smart, fun, playful read with some dark dramatic moments mixed in there. Characters are completely fleshed out and painfully realistic. Serious subjects are touched on in this but it isn't as heavily focused on as it is in Blue-Eyed Devil. Amazing and just so much fun!
And I'm with those who are hoping and praying LK picks up this series once again and gives us a book on Joe, the last remaining sibling who was never paired up. I love the Travis clan and will definitely miss the routy bickering bunch and their family dynamics.