Today, I'm talking about the baby maker and, mmm, yes, Keegan Russo is as yummy as he looks. What's better? Where Calliope is concerned, his ego is nonexistent. He doesn't need it, he's already got the girl, or so he thinks. If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of M.L. Broome, so when she mentioned this one being out, I snatched it off Amazon . The book is part of KU, too! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you to read the blurb and my review while I get back to Forgot to Tell You Something, also by Ms. Broome. I had started it a few weeks ago and got...um...waylaid. I'm blaming the baby maker.
I believe in love. Or I did until my husband died.
Now, I believe in surviving this world without him.
I have a plan mapped out for the rest of my life, and it doesn’t involve a man. I’ve been down that road, and I’m not willing to risk my heart again.
Not even for the devastatingly handsome and charming Dr. Keegan Russo, who also happens to be one hell of a kisser.
My head has plans, but what happens when my heart can’t say no?
Hot as hell sex with no strings attached. That’s my credo.
It works, too, until she walks into my office.
Calliope. A young widow with totally different priorities than me.
There’s no future for us, but I can’t stay away, either.
For the first time, I want something complicated and messy, and I want it with her.
But that means breaking the promise I made her on the day we met.
This book, let me tell you, tore my heart apart and then pieced it back together in the exact way grief does. Sliver by sliver until you felt like a semi-whole person enough that you could function in a world that didn't make sense to you anymore. M.L. Broome is excellent at making you feel every emotion that Calli had all the way to your toes. I could taste the whiskey on my tongue as she drank it (and I hate whiskey). She made you feel the anger Keegan tried so valiantly to hold in, knowing that the woman he occasionally dealt with wasn't her all the time, only the times when the world she lived in stopped making sense for a couple of trips around the sun.
I was finally putting myself back together again, hoping and praying that Calli could find that little patch of ground that she and Keegan could stand on together when Ms. Broome hit me with this: "I'm glad that you're taking advantage of your chances. We never know how many we'll be given. We assume opportunities will always present themselves, knocking at our door. But we never stop to consider that after being ignored, that opportunity may seek out a new dwelling." I had barely finished the last word and I took a screenshot. I had to get it exactly right when I quoted it, but I also had to read it a few more times over the course of the next few days. I had to read it, digest it, remind myself how flipping true that is, and then remind myself again that life is all about chances and we miss all those we don't answer.
Calliope is your friend, sister, aunt, mother, or neighbor. You pass widows like her on the street all the time. They're walking their dog, teaching yoga, getting coffee, and maybe even smiling, but they aren't the person they used to be. They never will be again. They are looking for themselves in a world that doesn't make sense to them anymore. Grace is needed. Honesty is needed. Pain is a given. False starts are expected. Loving a widow or a widower is no easy task. Taking their anger and uncertainty onto yourself when you are hurting too, is no easy task. Trusting the person who keeps breaking your heart with it again requires an insurmountable faith. Being the strong one in the relationship that one person thinks is doomed to fail, is the hardest of all.
Kudos to Ms. Broome for writing a character who is so undeniably broken by life, but finds a way back to one that includes everything she harbors in her heart. The hurt, the loss, the pain, the acceptance, the anger, the trust, the hope, the joy, and above all else, the love of two men who love her differently but still love her the same. Whether she's laughing or crying. Whether she's mad or happy. Whether she's beaten down by life or flying on cloud nine, she has the love of two men who will carry her through the hardest of times because she grasped that little sliver of hope she found one day on the floor of the shambles of her life and let it grow. Letting people in to see your ugly is something every human struggles with because we're afraid of rejection, but sometimes, opening up our 'ugly' to someone else, shows us just how beautiful it can be.
A five-star read for all of the above reasons and for a well-written book that was character-driven for the entirety of it. Baby Maker, while a title you take as likely less than serious, doesn't need anything but these two magical people to keep a reader riveted to the pages until the very last one.
Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales, filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters.
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