To the Max by Elle Aycart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.
Have you ever read a book and gotten mad at yourself once you finished the book because you enjoyed it so much that you’re left questioning your sanity for putting it off for so long? Yeah? Then you know what I’m feeling now that I’ve finished reading To the Max. The worst part about it is that I LOVE Elle Aycart’s writing. I know I love her books and STILL I put off reading To the Max. Between the combination of a sexy as sin Bowen brother, a witty heroine, loads of laughs, and seriously hot sex scenes, I must be batsh!t crazy for depriving myself of the read for as long as I did. And as expected, Ms. Aycart more than delivered on the “hitching” of the youngest Bowen brother, Max <= queue the mournful wails of the single women of Alden.
Because it has been a couple of years since I’ve read More than Meets the Ink and Heavy Issues, I didn’t remember Annie; now Max being a Bowen was another matter entirely because you just don’t forget the Bowen brothers. Once the circumstances behind her pregnancy were revealed, I knew that I had indeed met Annie before and hunkered down to enjoy the fireworks that were practically guaranteed when I realized that a 35 year-old pregnant forensic accountant/heiress was about to take the final Bowen brother off the market, even if she had no intention of doing so and started her journey by vomiting all over his shoes at his brother’s wedding reception. Yep! What a way to begin a book and a relationship. When Annie finds herself homeless due to fire damage at her condo Max offers her lodging at his home by the lake, in exchange, he asks her to take care of his pets while he’s gone on a movie shoot for several weeks. Annie reluctantly agrees and the meeting of Tango and Cash was priceless. Suicidal guinea pigs indeed!
I suspect because of the age difference and her pregnancy, Annie was more comfortable in Max’s presence than she expected. While she was intimidated by his looks, she never considered herself a viable option for “the county’s most famous landmark” and this is what allows her to be herself – cracking jokes with Max, geeking out over TV and movies, and being as comfortable in sweats and yoga pants on the weekend as she was in business suits and pearls during the week. And because he got to see the “real” her, Max found himself falling for Annie as he spent time with her. In fact, Max does such a good job of hiding his attraction to and feelings for Annie, that as the reader I couldn’t pinpoint when he actually fell for her. This gradual development of their relationship is what made the romance aspect of the book so enjoyable. But I certainly enjoyed when their relationship entered the physical phase because Max demonstrated the benefits of being a serial dater. Boy howdy does that man know his way around a woman’s body!
To the Max was a thoroughly entertaining read. I laughed until my stomach hurt over far more scenes than I expected, but each and every time they used their nicknames for one another. I teared up when Max revealed a very powerful memory from his childhood and later when his dad, Nate, claimed Annie’s child as his first grandchild. I felt Annie’s fear when Max jumped in front of a bullet for her and Max’s fear when Annie’s condo exploded – oh yeah, there’s a bit of mystery embroiled within the book as well. I understood Annie’s hesitancy at introducing Max to her family – not in fear that he would not live up to their expectations (which he wouldn’t because no one would), but that meeting her family would send him running away from her as fast as humanly possible. I without a doubt found their myriad of sexual encounters to be extremely stimulating, yet was thrilled when Annie called him out after the gym encounter and equally as pleased that they worked that out almost immediately. I was amused by the doomsday preppers’ evac drill (don’t even try to decipher that without reading the book). Most of all, I was swept away by Max and Annie falling in love and making their own family. And the icing on the cake is that I have found my new hashtag for blogging – #Cliterature – I cannot wait to use it. The bad part of finally having read To the Max is that now I’m hankering for a Bowen marathon but alas my schedule will not allow it. Fortunately a Bowen novella is slated to be released next month so at least I can return to Alden sooner than I expected.
Check out the To the Max by Elle Aycart post on Wicked Reads.
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