Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
So. I’ve been involved with Roxie Noir’s Loveless Brothers since Daniel and Charlie, the second book of this series, Best Fake Fiancee. There is just something about these brothers. Maybe it’s the small-town romance aspect of it. Maybe it’s the brotherhood shared in each book. Maybe it’s the way in which they feel protective, guarded, and ready for love. I’m sure it’s the women who enter their lives, their protected, comfortable lives, and shake them up. I know that has a lot to do with it. However, over the course of reading their stories, I have fallen in love with Roxie Noir’s ability to draw us into their lives as though they could be our family or our friends. Thus far, Levi Loveless has been my favorite, and even after Noir’s newest book, One Last Time, he still holds that title.
One Last Time tells the anticipated story of Seth Loveless and Delilah Radcliffe. If you’ve read any of the other books of this series, then you are vaguely familiar with their story. However, thus far, it’s possible that the Loveless Brothers’ perspective of Delilah might be tainted, and you must enter One Last Time ready for an unreliable narrator in Seth. That’s only fair to Delilah. What you receive from One Last Time is a muti-faceted lesson in love. Of the books in this series, for me, this is THE most complex one. There is much you gain from this epic romance told over the years. Because at its base form, One Last Time is a second chance romance. You move slowly through Noir’s romance. Normally, I inhale books, reading through them with ease. Noir crafts this book to move you slowly through Delilah and Seth’s relationship, and this is brilliantly intentional because interwoven through their coupling are questions about right person-wrong time, the difficulties of relationships in general, and feelings of inadequacy which lead to unhealthy versions of one’s self. Honestly, Seth and Delilah’s story is a painful one because, before they mature, they must work through their immaturity at love, and that can be difficult.
Over and over in this book, Noir illustrates how damaging people in relationships can be to each other. She shows us that the past cannot stand as the ultimate measure of the future because we grow and change and move on. This is the burr in the saddle of Delilah and Seth’s journey, and you must sit back and acknowledge the truth that Noir lays bare in this story: that no relationship is perfect. It’s fraught with the insecurities of its participants. This understanding feels necessary in the world of romancelandia where that pain is often glossed over with happy endings. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a happy ending with One Last Time. In fact, that’s the promise of enduring the pain of Seth and Delilah’s journey. However, the happy ending feels nuanced in the context of the reality of relationships. That they are, quite frankly, hard. For this reader, I love Noir’s insistence in this story of making her hero and heroine WORK for that happy ending. Through flashbacks and present-day trials, you find them falling back into love, but it isn’t simple in this book. This book doesn’t have the ease of Daniel and Charlie or Levi and June. Noir creates this tension between her characters that feels palpable until her characters come to understand that the past doesn’t have to define them, that they can change, and that happy endings are worth fighting for. In a world where messy TikTok exists and the divorce rate is high, I think Noir’s insistence on Seth and Delilah’s difficulties feels very, very important. We live in a world where we believe that relationships are easy, and if they aren’t, there is something wrong. What Noir suggests through One Last Time is that any good relationship is worth the effort.
I am going to miss the Loveless Brothers. I hope Roxie Noir gifts us with bonus scenes full of babies and marriages and everything good you find in romancelandia. However, if she doesn’t, I know she has ended this series well with the final book, One Last Time. It’s a perfect period to end a very imperfect relationship. Delilah and Seth is the Loveless relationship you need today in our messy world.
In love and romance,