Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Devney Perry as Willa Nash has once again created a contemporary small-town romance that steals a little bit of your soul. The Bluff, book 2 of her Calamity Montana series, features a hero and heroine who, battling the pains of past choices, find solace in each other, initially through strictly physical means and later more emotionally. At first sight, Reese “Hux” Huxley and Everly Christian shouldn’t work. Hux is the town outcast having made a poor decision in his youth. Ostracized by his family, his wife, and the town, Hux has become a recluse over the years. Everly Christian is trying to find her place in Calamity after relocating from Nashville. Having given up on her dreams and trying to move beyond her guilt over her decision to come to Calamity, bringing her best friend’s stalker into town, she’s bored, trying to figure out her next move. It takes one night, one fated meet-cute in Jane’s Bar to set their story in motion. As The Bluff progresses, a marriage of convenience seems like it might turn into more…until it doesn’t.
I think what I find most interesting about Willa Nash’s The Bluff is its capacity to hold its reader at bay. While Hux and Everly fall quickly into bed, their romantic journey is a slow one. For much of the story, Nash slowly reveals any burgeoning feelings between the two. Some might become impatient for this pair, but I relished in the pacing of this story because it allows for the reader to invest in Nash’s characters. I thought The Bluff was perfectly timed for the gut punches it throws later in the book, and I reveled in her characters’ trek up Nash’s emotional mountain.
Additionally, while this book is a marriage of convenience, single dad story, there is also a bit of opposites attract. Hux is the darkness of this story. Nash makes it clear that his past indiscretion has changed him and made him a social pariah. Instead of cleaning up his image, he’s accepted Calamity’s belief about him. Everly is the light of the story. She brings a balance to the brooding artist. She pushes him to embrace his town, to make an effort as a means to win his daughter. As Everly struggles to find her way, she guides Hux to be a better person, to trust her. It is in that journey where the strife of their coupling exists. My heart hurt for Everly as it takes Hux some time to fully understand what it means to live. As Everly challenges Hux, she forces him to live a more abundant life, which makes him a better man and a better father. However, in doing this, she also endures his ire and the consequences meted out by his past choices. Together, Hux and Everly are romance gold. They complete each other, but they have to struggle in their growing together to find a happy ending. That is where the emotional gravitas of this book resides, and it’s a spectacular punch of emotion.
One of my favorite aspects of a Devney Perry/Willa Nash romance is its readability. When I pick up one of her books, the read is seamless and easy. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I easily gobble her story and become satiated by the end of her stories. She writes some of the best epilogues and bonus epilogues in the romance world. And The Bluf is no different.
If you adore a broody artistic hero with some serious dominant vibes and a heroine who is introspective enough to know that she needs and wants more from life, then you should be reading Willa Nash’s The Bluff. You will NOT regret this book.
In love and romance,