Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: instant attraction; one-night stand to more; workplace romance; teacher/student; contemporary romance
Thank you, Louise Bay, for the Cove brothers, specifically Jacob Cove: that overachieving, stick up his heiney, oldest Cove brother. Thanks to him, we are treated to almost a grump/sunshine trope when he meets and falls quickly for Sutton, the compassionate, empathic, world-wise FMC of Bay’s Dr. Off Limits. This story promises so many more delectable stories in her newest series based upon the Cove brothers.
What did I love the most about Dr. Off Limits?
- I love a hero who needs to get emotionally messy. This is the case with Jacob Cove. He’s standing in the shadow of his successful parents, and it’s left him on a journey of striving. However, his motivation isn’t solely focused on his love of treating children. It’s cast in the light of what he believes his parents expect of him. Through Jacob, Bay treats us to the negative impact of parental expectations. Early in his life, Jacob is pushed to perfection by his father. However, through his journey, he learns about his father’s mistake in treating him as such. His father did this out of his compunction about being a “good” father due to his absenteeism related to his job. Anyone who has ever been dealt a bad hand by a parent will feel seen through Jacob’s evolution when his father takes a moment to apologize for his early parenting errors.
- Sutton is one of my favorite FMCs. This is a woman whose path has been littered with disappointment, and she’s been left to make her own way in the world. She has strived for the opportunity to practice medicine. And she believes she is not worthy of the rewards of her hard work. While Jacob’s family life was muddled, overall, he knows he is loved by his family. They may be messy, but they show up for each other. This isn’t Sutton’s experience, so the treasure of her journey is being on the receiving end of their love for her. As Jacob acknowledges her giftedness in treating patients, she begins to find herself. It takes the effort of several ancillary characters to get her to accept her gifts fully.
- Obviously, this is book one of a new series, so Bay carefully uses her ancillary characters to add layers to her story. One minute, they lend humor to the story, and the next, they act as wizened guides or solace. They are also pronouncements for future stories and reminders of the past.
One of my criticisms of Dr. Off Limits is its last two chapters. For me, the chemistry doesn’t grow enough between Sutton and Jacob. Their ending feels rushed, and it didn’t have the emotional impact I was hoping for, given their journey. Maybe it was my reading, but this seemed out of character for Louise Bay. Overall, however, I enjoyed this new book, and I read it swiftly.
In love and romance,