MY FUNNY VALENTINE by Lydia Michaels

Jasper Falls, Book 5

From the publisher:

A blizzard leaves Erin stranded and at the mercy of her childhood nemesis. Trapped, with no electricity or dry clothes, things heat up when two frienemies are forced to share a bed.

From bestselling and award winning author, Lydia Michaels, comes a second-chance bully romance about love and redemption that will touch readers’ hearts!

Giovanni Mosconi has returned to Jasper Falls after years of touring as a standup comedian. When Erin Montgomery, his childhood enemy, heckles his performance at O’Malley’s Pub, he holds nothing back and roasts her in front of the whole town. Emotions run wild and secrets are exposed when hate turns to lust and lines begin to blur.

Can trust form where betrayal began? Or should some secrets go to the grave?

This was a difficult read, and may be triggering for some readers.

Erin was an abused child. Her father beat her mother until she left. He beat his kids on the regular, and when Erin’s older brother makes his escape, that leaves Erin to take the brunt of his never ending anger. At one point she leaves, and I wasn’t quite clear on why she goes back to that situation. I suspect it is more psychological than anything and frankly, I don’t really understand it. Michaels does a good job describing Erin’s life growing up, and it is heartbreaking. But I don’t understand a woman who would leave her children with an abuser. I don’t understand why victims go back. I would live in my car with my children before I allowed their father to hurt them. Or me. But I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had to deal with physical abuse like that. I think we try and relate in some way to what we read, even if it is outside our scope of knowledge or understanding. At least I do.

Due to her bruises and injuries, Erin misses a lot of school. School is the one place she feels safe, even though the other kids make fun of her. She develops a very hard shell and in this small town, has no friends other than Finn. They have been best friends since elementary school but in high school, their relationship develops more intimacy, and that is something Erin can’t handle. She knows Finn wants more than she can give him, and when he decides to go into his family’s business, she ends things between them. She wants to escape and knows if he works there, he will never leave.

Erin’s father owns a hardware store in town and is beloved by everyone except his family, who are the only ones who know the truth of his abuse. She has returned to this town and works for her father, increasing her abuse as she spends more time with him. She has zero self esteem, no self confidence, and is quite sure she has never been loved in her life – other than maybe Finn. She knows that anyone who gets to know her will leave her, just like her mother and brother did.

One night Finn convinces her to meet up with him, his wife and family at the local bar. His cousin Giovanni, a comedian, is working that night. Grudgingly she agrees, but when she makes a nasty comment during his set, Giovanni eviscerates her. She runs out into a snowstorm and ends up in a ditch. Giovanni is passing by and sees the car so he stops to try and help. He is shocked to find Erin barely conscious. He gets her out of the car and they walk up the road to the motel where he is staying. The power is out, and they use body heat to stay warm.

They have sex, and Giovanni is surprised by his attraction to the hard, bitter woman. But as they spend time together, he begins to see beneath her shell. There are several steamy sex scenes here, but it is the emotional connection that has Erin so scared. Giovanni is the first man to be truly kind to her, and they do get a happy ending, but it is a very bumpy road to get there. This is not a romcom nor a light, frothy Valentine’s Day read, so if that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere. It is an interesting story but very dark, especially for a romance.

2/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

MY FUNNY VALENTINE by Lydia Michaels. Bailey Brown Publishing (January 31, 2022). ISBN: 978-1957573007. 262p.




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