Megan Hart. I'm perpetually behind on her backlist - but, if memory serves, I've given her three A grades, a handful of B's, and a bumpy C. So there's a history of Good Stuff Wendy Likes. Don't Deny Me was originally published as a three-part serial, which is how I read it, but you can now buy the entire story in one volume (the links I've included in this post).
The first installment starts out with a lot of promise and it landed firmly in my B range. Alice is friends with a married couple who are having a house party weekend to celebrate their anniversary. She attends, even knowing that Mick will be there. Mick is also friends with the married couple and he and Alice had a relationship ten years ago. It was pretty hot and heavy until....it wasn't. Stuff happened. They broke up. Neither of them has gotten over the other one - even though we're talking ten years. For those of you of a certain age, the first part of this novel has a decidedly Big Chill vibe to it. For those of you who don't know what that last sentence means? Let's move on....
Things slide downhill fast for me with the second installment. Instead of picking up where the first installment left off (which had a decent "too be continued...." cliffhanger I might add), we are thrust back in time, 10 years in the past, to When Mick Met Alice. Let me tell you how jarring this was. I literally had to double-check to make sure I hadn't mistakenly read the second installment first and the first installment second (got that?). Plus a lot of it felt like an unnecessary rehash as quite a bit of this When Mick Met Alice "stuff" was reminisced about in the first installment. Yawn. Eventually we learn what tore the two love birds apart and let me tell you how incredibly weak sauce it was. Super weak. Basically Mick and Alice can't talk to each other. Alice gets annoyed with Mick for not dropping his whole life and returning her calls RIGHT THEN AND THERE, something major happens, she gets pissy, they break up. Here's an idea kids - let's try talking to each other? So yeah, somewhere in my D range. But now I need to read the third installment, because it's the last one and I'm stuck in the mud now.
The third installment is all about Mick and Alice trying to make a go of it again after reconnecting at that house party from installment #1 (remember that?). Stuff happens. Mick is trying to do better. But they still can't freakin' communicate with each other. Alice wants stuff from Mick, but instead of telling him outright WHAT that is, she tap-dances around it and gets pissy that he doesn't read her mind. Mick, instead of TELLING Alice how he feels, tap-dances around it by trying to "show" her and gets pissy when she doesn't read his mind.
So basically it's a romance about two people who can't talk to each other.
I'm pretty sure I've heard this story before. From my pissed off girlfriends during happy hour. But at least then I had fried cheese sticks and alcohol to mask my annoyance. No fried cheese, and woe is Wendy no alcohol (having read these installments on lunch breaks at work). Is all of this "true to life?" Certainly. The "conflict" that exists between Mick and Alice happens all the bloody time. Doesn't mean I want to read about it though. I barely tolerate it when I have to hear about it from my girlfriends - and hello? Those are my friends (although maybe not anymore if any of them read this review.....). But you get the idea.
Final Grade = D