When I’m Gone, by Abbi Glines

When I'm gone

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 95%

Catnip: Holding Out For A Hero; Insecure Heroine; Sexual Healing; Cowboys

Shame Scale: Medium. It’s a cloying, saccharine romance, but we love it anyways. We like what we like, ladies.

Fantasy Cast: Luke Eastwood; Megan Fox

Book Description:

I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…

Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…

Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different?

Abbi Glines has a formula and it’s so catnippy, I don’t see any reason for her to change it. Her heroines are dazzlingly beautiful, saccharine sweet, selfless, and always have some sort of trauma in their past they’re courageously overcoming (also – the majority of them are poor). Her heroes are always gorgeous man-whores who meet the heroine, instantly renounce their whoring ways, and turn into overprotective white knights (The majority of them are rich). Add in one slutty World’s Most Unsympathetic Evil Villain Woman, and a huge misunderstanding, and you pretty much have a book. This is book 11 in the Rosemary Beach series, and obviously since Cleone and I have read the other 10, we’re not complaining.

This book starts out a few years in the past, with Reese narrowly escaping being sexually assaulted by her stepfather, when her mother comes home and throws her out for her obviously whorish ways. Seriously. There are never any ambiguous characters in these books. The heroes are Heroes, and the villains are Villains, and no one writes an evil woman like Abbi does.

The story picks up a few years later, and Reese is working as a cleaning lady in Rosemary Beach. She’s cleaning at Nan’s house (one of Glines’ go-to villains), when she accidentally wakes up Mase, Nan’s cowboy half-brother, who is sleeping in the guest room while in town to visit his other sister, Harlow. He’s instantly smitten with the birthmark on Reese’s buthigh. She thinks he’s hot, but she’s pretty much scared of everything. Reese accidentally breaks a mirror, and Mase insists on taking her to the ER. While he spends the day with her, he starts to feel “feelings” and the over-the-top protectiveness we love so much from these books starts to kick in – like, making sure she always has a ride home from work, because it’s so DANGEROUS for Reese to be walking in this rich seaside country club community.

They cross paths a few more times before Mase has to head back to Texas, and he realizes that there’s something wrong – Reese can’t read or write. He calls in all sorts of favors, and pays people lots of money to get Reese seen by Dr. Astor, the best learning disorder specialist in the area. Reese is severely dyslexic – something that I was able to diagnose immediately, yet no school official ever caught – which is a huge relief to her because she was raised to believe she is just stupid with a broken brain. She starts seeing him weekly for reading lessons, and her self confidence improves.

Besides, it wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Astor had told me that several times. He’d even had me repeat after him, “I am not less than. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a smart, capable person.”

So yeah, Reese’s insecurity was a little annoying.

I ducked my head to hide my smile. He liked my butt. It was too fat, but he liked it. I couldn’t keep from grinning.

And the romance is a little cloying – we’re aware, but we like it anyways. It’s Abbi Glines and sometimes we just feel like cotton candy for our brains. We want a guaranteed happy ending and the kind of devotion that doesn’t exist in real life romance. Glines’ characters are exaggerated versions of the ones you might meet in your college dorm, they might be annoying in real life, but we like them safely contained in our ereaders.

Take Mase’s 100% turnaround after meeting Reese. He’s so done with other women, that he needs to get a new mattress. I mean, it’s ridiculous, but it’s a romance novel. We’re not reading it for realism, we’re reading for the fantasy.

I would need to get new sheets and a new mattress before I brought Reese here. Get rid of what I’d fucked Cordelia and a few other women on. Reese was too good to be where they’d been. She was special.

This wasn’t the best in the series, and there was not much action in this one, and they didn’t hit the grand slam till almost the end. For that reason we’re putting this one in C- territory, but since there was a cliffhanger ending, we’re eagerly awaiting the next in the series which is sure to get with the getting it that we love in these books.


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