Well, Megan Erickson did it again ... she just made me fall in love with her characters, this time with Brent Peyton, the middle Peyton brother, the jokester who doesn't take things seriously. But truly, Brent has layers, man, there's more than meets the eye with this guy and I LOVED him immensely.
I thought Brent was amazing; despite what he thinks of himself, Brent is actually the solid one among the Peytons. His steadiness and his take towards life makes it possible for Cal (the older brother) and Max (the younger brother) to be the best version of themselves. Brent is reliable -- and my God, the way that he befriends his wheelchair-bound neighbor, Davis, makes connection with Ivy's daughter, Violet, and of course when he is with his dog, Honeybear ... I fell in love with him more and more. I think Brent is probably my most favorite Peyton!! At least until Asher gets his own story (haha!).
Unfortunately, this is one of the 'common' situations in romance novel where I thought the hero shines better than the heroine. Ivy is okay, I guess. I just didn't think of her having as many layers as Brent. To be honest, I thought Ivy was rather plain. I found Alex to be more complex, being the stronger protective older sister but the one who 'fell' into abusive relationship (I look forward to Alex's story, by the way, maybe with Davis? That would be really cool!). Compared to Jenna, the heroine in book #1, Ivy felt short. BUT, Brent is head over heels in love with her, and she makes him happy, so I guess I welcome Ivy with open arms.
There are some beautiful moments that just made me smile (or emotionally choked up). The date with Brent and Ivy having crabs is fun-tastic. The girls night out (I love girls friendship!!) is adorable. Then that last moment, where Jack Peyton proves that he's more than just a grumpy stubborn old man, well, that is the moment I got all choked up. Maybe Jack should get his own woman (*grin*).
I wasn't satisfied with the sub-plot that contributes the conflict and threatens Brent and Ivy's relationship, though. It isn't anywhere resolved. But then again, maybe that was Alex's story to tell, and it doesn't belong in Ivy's book.
PS: One last comment. Captain America and Black Widow? No. No. No. Captain America belongs to Winter Soldier. That is all.