Title – Paige in Progress
Author – Brighton Walsh
Publication Date – January 19, 2016
Series – Reluctant Hearts, #3
**Can be Read as a Standalone**
She wanted a one-night stand…and then he moved in next door.
Paige Bennett is more than content with her life and what she does—and does not—have in it. She’s got a supportive family, a great apartment, and the best friend a girl could ask for; so what if her relationships expire faster than a carton of milk? After a disastrous detour courtesy of poor judgment in the boyfriend department, her plan is back on track and her dream job is finally within her grasp. Nothing can make her lose focus now. Well, nothing except the one-night stand she had with her best friend’s surrogate brother. The one-night stand she can’t stop thinking about.
Adam Reid has always been reliable…the responsible son, the loyal friend, the steady boyfriend. Two years ago, he graduated Magna Cum Laude and is well on his way to making a name for himself at an accounting firm in Denver—a far cry from working as a helper in the Mom and Pop store his parents own in Michigan. But when said store starts failing, he’s the only one who can step in and help. So reliable Adam does what he always does, and he comes to the rescue.
Paige thought Adam was a safe bet because he lives halfway across the country. But then suddenly he’s moving back to their town, and then into her apartment building, and soon he’s worming his way right into her life. If she’s not careful, he might sneak his way into her heart, too…
Brighton Walsh continues her Reluctant Hearts series with the fun, sassy new addition, Paige in Progress. Not only do we get a little more of unforgettable series characters Cade, Winter, Tessa, and Jason, but Brighton Walsh also delivers two more incredibly lovable characters in Paige and Adam. Adam’s preference for the stability of a relationship is no match for his attraction to Paige, the beautiful girl with a wild heart who is determined to never fall in love again. Together, these two seemingly opposite personalities absolutely combust. Brighton Walsh has written a chemistry that is palpable and electric, delivering a story wrought with escalating tension, flirtatious banter, and unexpected emotions. This novel captures all of the things I love about this author’s work, her easy writing style, relatable characters, and fresh dialog never cease to capture my attention. Paige and Adam’s story is fun, sexy, and hilarious – a great new adult novel you’ll definitely want to dive into.
“But Adam is more than that. I actually enjoy spending time with him, and that it happens when he’s not touching any part of me is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying.”
Paige is the kind of character you wish was your best friend. She’s funny, sarcastic, intelligent, fierce, and totally sassy. She lives her life vibrantly, determined to keep her relationships uncomplicated and casual. I loved the depth that Brighton Walsh cultivated in this character. When Paige could no longer keep her heart detached, she struggled to make sense of her changing feelings and their implications. Brighton Walsh wrote her emotional turmoil in a way that allowed the readers to experience it for themselves, making connecting with Paige effortless. Adam was a fun character to unravel. Paige seemed to totally undo his normally regimented lifestyle, pushing him outside his comfort zone and challenging him to live in the moment and just feel. Brighton Walsh expertly captured his emotions as he allowed himself to discover an entirely new version of himself, revealing a man who was vulnerable, unsure, and every bit his age. This enigmatic couple was truly captivating and I found myself wholly invested in their journey.
“She’s running away from everything I’ve ever run toward.”
The storyline was lighthearted and youthful, perfectly reflecting Paige and Adam’s relationship. Their many adventures and non-dates made me smile, loving the way they turned simple athletic endeavors into steamy foreplay. The push and pull between this couple was addictive and unquestionably my favorite part of the book. Their easy flirtation and witty banter kept me laughing. I adored the sense of humor and good-natured teasing that made Paige in Progress simply sparkle. The carefree fun proved to be the perfect balance to the underlying emotional component of this story. Both Adam and Paige face the challenges common in the new adult genre, struggling to define themselves, find their place in the world, and decide where it is their hearts truly lie. For the most part, the story was well paced. It was a little slow for me in the beginning, but eventually picked up and took off running. I had hoped for a bit more of a bang at the end. Their entire relationship was so hot and cold, that I expected something more to wrap up their story. Overall, Paige in Progress is a fun and fierce addition to the Reluctant Hearts series. Sweet, funny, sexy, and smart, Paige in Progress is another gem from Brighton Walsh!
If there is one thing I can say for certain, it’s that I always look forward to a new release from Brighton Walsh! Her writing is fresh and fun with characters that make you swoon. Paige in Progress is the latest in the Reluctant Hearts series, and I’d venture to say that we were introduced to the two most reluctant characters yet. I had a big ol’ grin throughout most of this one because it’s just one of those feel good, laugh out loud books that you can’t, and don’t want to, put down.
“You’re a work in progress. Don’t be so jaded that you ignore the parts of you that still need to grow.”
Paige is such a feisty, crazy heroine that you couldn’t help but fall in love with her. I wanted to be her best friend and have the chance to experience all her antics. She’s quick-witted, independent, and though she may be scarred by her past relationships, there’s something so loveable about her. Paige is determined not to fall into a relationship and watching that play out was just so much fun. Adam was the perfect counterpart hero; he was essentially the complete and total opposite of everything Paige stood for. He pushed her boundaries, while unknowingly surpassing his own, which made for some interesting transformations by the end of the novel. I loved both of them separately, but when they were together, it was pure gold. Their witty banter, teasing playfulness, and non-traditional relationship truly made for excellent reading material.
“Her lips speak the words, but her body is telling me more than her mouth ever could.”
My only issue was that I felt like the ending sort of happened abruptly. With the characters’ personalities that I had come to know, I expected a little bit more from them in terms of the resolution. That’s not to say it was lacking, because I definitely don’t feel that, but I think my own expectations just hindered it slightly. That being said, the shining star for me of Paige in Progress was the dialogue between the characters. The back and forth was filled with so many one-liners, zingers, and just playful teasing that reminded me of youthfulness, but not in an immature way. It brought me back to the fun of flirting with the person you’re interested in. I’d also venture to say that this novel is Walsh’s steamiest to date. There were certainly a handful of scenes where I was fanning myself off! I didn’t know that we’d be receiving Paige’s story, but I’m glad that Brighton Walsh chose to tell it. Each book in the series is so different that I honestly couldn’t choose a favorite. Her storytelling ability keeps getting better and better; I’m so looking forward to what she delivers next!
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Don’t miss the rest of the Reluctant Hearts series:
Caged in Winter (Reluctant Hearts #1)
Tessa Ever After (Reluctant Hearts #2)
Our Love Unhinged (Reluctant Hearts #3.5)
Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.