Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“He dropped his forehead to hers. ‘Jesus. You level me.’”
So what is it about rom-coms that make us come back for more? The usual smart-alecky hero? The heroine who easily stands her ground against said hero? The sarcastic quips bantered back and forth? The snarky words that act as foreplay to some steamy bedroom scenes? The author’s inherent humor infused in the lines of her/his story? The underlying earnestness of the hero and heroine’s trial to a happy ending? If you answered “yes” to all of this, then you know the power of the rom-com. And Lucy Score writes rom-com SO well. Enter Protecting What’s Mine, and you have one of my favorite new romantic comedies.
So what is it about this new book that should move your finger to the cursor to one-click Lucy Score’s new romance? Well, here goes:
*Linc. Hands down, Linc is everything you love in a rom-com. Equal parts handsome, smarta$$, and smart but emotionally dense, he is also a firefighter. He’s no stranger to entering dangerous situations, acting as the big hero. His heart is big, and he’s great with kids. He is everything you love about a hero in a rom-com because, from the first chapter, Linc is bought into the character of Mackenzie. Even when he’s making mistakes pursuing her, it’s clear how much Linc wants a future with Mack that he’s willing to forgo his own safety for her. He is your favorite requisite hero. He’s good, mind, body, and soul. And he has a cute nickname for his doctor love, Dreamy. <Swoon>
*Mackenzie “Mack”. Like Linc, she is everything that makes a rom-com interesting. Quite frankly, Mack is a “bad-a$$” female. She thrives on danger, one-night stands, and temporary situations. However, when you look deeper, these are all symptoms of past emotional injuries. She challenges Linc in that she doesn’t fall quickly for his “game.” Instead, she makes him work for her. She’s mentally intelligent, but she has to learn emotional intelligence on her journey. Her struggle towards permanence and falling for Linc is the challenge of their journey. While Linc has lived the single life, he’s willing to forgo it for the right woman. Mack becomes the hold-out in this story, driving its tension. When she finally accepts Linc’s love for her, her journey becomes the message of Protecting What’s Mine: allowing yourself to be more than you believe you can be and letting go of dreams that no longer work.
*The surrounding cast of characters. Protecting What’s Mine is settled within Score’s other books such as Pretend You’re Mine and Finally Mine. As such, there are characters here who Score readers have already fallen for, so they return to pull you back into Score’s storytelling universe. This is like returning to high school for a reunion, but you actually love the people in attendance. It’s nostalgic and welcoming. And these other characters provide support for Linc and Mack. Thankfully, they speak wisdom into them as they struggle toward their happy ending. Infused in their relationships is hilarity, adding the layers of humor endemic of rom-coms.
*Scenes upon scenes of funny, sad, or sweet. It’s all here. There were so many times when I sighed from happiness, wiped a tear from my eye, or laughed out loud at Linc’s version of wooing Dreamy. Add to that the quips of their friends, along with the wisdom of Mackenzie’s co-workers. There is so much to love in this book that, before you know it, it’s over. The plot points and inherent scenes keep you reading page after page until the end, which brings the sweetest of surprises, usurping your typical rom-com proposal. There isn’t any part of this book that you don’t love.
So, why do we read rom-com? I mean, they’re predictable. We know there will be a happy ending, and the journey of the hero and heroine will be somewhat easy. Well, we read writers such as Lucy Score because, quite simply, they put easy smiles on our faces and leave us with the levity of their story. As a book reviewer, I have found myself, of late, mired in heavy reading, stories that tear at my soul (of which I adore…don’t get me wrong). However, stories such as Protecting What’s Mine lift my soul and help me fall deeper in love with romance because their stories are essential to the world of romance. We need laughter with our pain. We need the predictability of their form to offer us respite from the darkness of romance. Even more, Lucy Score has so much diversity in her storytelling that she challenges romance tropes within the realm of her light romance. There is always a message running deeper in her stories. Protecting What’s Mine is the best of what you love about rom-com, and it’s an easy one-click.
“Plans changed. Dreams grew. And happiness sometimes just snuck up on a person when they were least expecting it.”
In love and romance,