Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
Tropes: friends to lovers, fake relationship, forced proximity, soulmates
So let’s get all of the good stuff out of the way when talking about Adriana Locke’s Fling:
*it has some fire, but if you’ve read Adriana Locke, you know she doesn’t smut all over her books. She doles it out and balances it well with her characters’ stories.
*I just can’t with this Carmichael clan. I mean, all of these characters feel familiar, yet different. I will not mention the youngest Carmichael because apparently he’s taken up space in other reviews. However, Locke has taken the most unlikely of wizened guides and gifted him with the wisdom to share with her MMC, Maddox. But, honestly, he isn’t everything. Instead, the Carmichaels are the foundation for every character we’ve met thus far. Each of them brings an angle to the story. I know Maddox is Locke’s fav to date. And I imagine others will choose the brother I refuse to name here as their favorite. Personally, I cannot WAIT for the reclusive Foxx’s story.
*Ashley is the every person FMC. She’s independent, compassionate, and intelligent. She’s also fun-loving and sensual. Yet, like most of us, she’s a little bent from a messy relationship with her father. As we know from the real world, daddy problems often breed relationship issues, and she has this in spades before her relationship with Maddox. What I love about Fling is she breaks this pattern with Maddox, once the two of them realize that relationships are messy even if you adore your partner. Her life has been messy, yet Ashley perseveres, thanks to two best friends and an insightful mother. This is also what I love about her characterization: the strong female bonds that heal the wounds of patriarchy.
*Ashley and Maddox are a perfect combination of fun, feral, and fabulous. Seriously. These two heat the pages of Fling. They make you laugh with their banter. They are also believable as friends becoming more. I know that isn’t a popular trope for many, but Locke writes it well. This is another shade of the trope much like we were gifted with Moss and Brooke. From the very beginning of this book, you want Ashley and Maddox to be end goals, and it never feels manufactured. It absolutely makes sense even if you know they should have figured it out sooner. But people are dumb, so this type of story works.
*Oh…and there are pigs. Ashley and Maddox swim with the pigs in the Bahamas. What’s not to love about that!
*And…who is the mystery person sending texts about penguins and flamingos? I have a suspicion but I’m impatient for the texts in Jess’s story, the next book of this series.
Now, if I have any criticism, it’s the insertion of Eton to complicate Ashley and Maddox’s journey. I would have preferred if Locke had developed his interruptions more. This is the one aspect of the story that felt manufactured to create the inciting incident to trouble their relationship. It did not feel as organic to the story as I think it could have been had Eton hounded Ashley more. It was the one miss for me in Fling.
Honestly, reading Fling feels like going home. Adriana Locke has found her magic treasure chest of stories in romancelandia, and she continually gifts pieces of gold from it with her stories. Don’t miss out on Maddox and Ashley. Fling brought a big smile to my day.
In love and romance,