She's a distraction he doesn't need, and besides, there's no way she'd be interested. But you know what they say about assumptions?
I'll tell y'all the truth on this one. When I read the blurb? I was totally, 100% ALL IN. It sounded like a typical, awesome Kendall Ryan book. Then I read the first line and started sneering involuntarily.
“In thirty-four years, I hadn't found a woman yet who could handle me.”
Oh, really, you big (and so very modest) stud. Is that right? No woman can handle you? It's not that you're a commitment-phobic, womanizing manwhore, right? No way. It's that all the broads out there just can't handle you in all your glory. Ugh.
I HATE the whole manwhore trope in romance novels. I mean, I hate it like I hated Ramsey Bolton on Game of Thrones. Like I currently hate Negan (and Simon and Dwight) on The Walking Dead. If I could strike the whole notion from the collective worldwide record and forbid any authors to include it in their books going forward until the end of time, I'd do it. But because I love Kendall Ryan, I endured and kept reading past the first line. I'm sooooooo glad I did, too.
It becomes apparent early on that Max is a good guy. He takes the shock of finding out he has a daughter in stride. He doesn't fall apart or whine about missing his previous manwhoring life. He doesn't have pity parties. He steps up and takes care of his kid. And he's good at it! So many times, new dads are portrayed as dumbasses who can't feed or diaper a baby without screwing it up, or without guidance from a woman. Max does what he needs to do from day one, capably, on his own, and without complaint. And in my mind, there's nothing sexier than a mature guy who has his shit together and takes care of his responsibilities. (The scenes where Max is taking care of his daughter, or stressing about leaving her with Addison the first time? Cue sound effects for ovaries exploding all over the world.)
Addison is a super likeable heroine, too. She's got a few self-esteem issues due to a recent bad relationship, but she's resilient and strong, which I totally appreciate. Her instant rapport with Dylan and immediate attraction to Max were really fun to read about.
As with the other books in this series (which can be read out of order as stand alones, by the way), The House Mate was fun, light-hearted and sexy (really, really sexy), with just the right amount of angst. Get to your Kindles, folks. This one deserves a one-click.
And in conclusion, as the author says on Amazon: “What's sexier than a bad boy? A bad ass man who's got his shit together.” Amen, sister. Amen.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! No rehab needed. This one is clean and sober.
Other reading suggestions
I highly recommend The Play Mate and The Room Mate. And if you like Kendall Ryan's style, you’ll love anything by Melanie Harlow.