This review was originally posted at The Book Pushers
Molly, who had to deal with an icky boss and a sister who needs her support financially, has decided to leave her job and cut loose with her friends in Las Vegas. Instead of relaxing and enjoying cocktails in the bright lights of the city, her friend Arden has persuaded her and her friend Sofie to check out a dive bar on the outskirts of the city where she encounters a sexy biker called Cash who intrigues her. Circumstances lead her to having a date with Cash and their relationship soon turns into a hot fling. But Molly finds herself in danger of losing her heart to the care-free stranger who has a love ‘em and leave ‘em philosophy.
A rowdy bar, bad boy biker heroes and a heroine who wants to let her hair down during a Las Vegas trip with her friends sounds like a great recipe of a fun and sexy romance. ROUGH AND TUMBLE did offer that element in the beginning with a great opening. It had a fun introduction to the characters, especially when Molly and Cash first encounter each other. I really liked their scenes with each other, which was filled with witty and funny dialogue that helped to establish a good chemistry between them. Molly’s friends also made a good initial impression with me: Arden was wild and impetuous while Sofie was more careful and wary and is a voice of reason.
Nonetheless, I soon became annoyed towards Arden a few chapters into the book, who made some really stupid decisions over gambling. Although it led to a date between Molly and Cash as part payment of her losing in a shark game. I was left frustrated when it soon became apparent that Arden developed a gambling addiction and I was not keen on how it was handled towards the plot. I especially felt that it was a plot device to introduce a conflict and a way for Molly and Cash to have a date instead of developing a subplot with Arden. Arden had a lot promise as a character but became irritating, especially with the way she dealt with her issues with gambling. I was also left wondering if Sofie was going to have her own subplot romance with one of Cash’s friends because there were a few scenes in her POV. Nothing developed with Sofie, and I was left wondering why the author felt the need to show her POV when nothing really happened, other than illustrating the plot with Arden and her gambling. That in itself didn’t really bring the overall story forward in any way because I was not interested or drawn into their characters.
The promising beginning fizzled out for me, especially in the halfway stage of the book. I also had trouble connecting and engaging with the characters, although I liked Molly and Cash in the beginning. Their romance was frustrating because while the buildup had some sexy moments, I have to say I was disengaged with the plot and the characters, although I did enjoy some scenes between the two main leads. Those small moments was not enough for me to be engaged with the plot or the characters. I was also disappointed in the way the romance developed. The conflict between Molly and Cash was dragged out for too long. And the real reason why Cash became such a drifter and loner left me wondering if the romance and HEA was that believable, especially in the end which was rushed and glossed over.
I enjoyed some aspects of ROUGH AND TUMBLE, especially with the setting and some of the characters. The overall plot and the rushed ending left me a bit disconnected with the story. I would have loved to be drawn into this book because it had all the hallmarks of a wonderful romance, but it didn’t hit the sweet spot for me and I found it lacking in pace and lacking in characterisation with some of the characters, especially Arden and Cash.
I give ROUGH AND TUMBLE a C-