Rose – Leslie North



185 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Giovanni DeRose is manager and sometimes artist at Thorn Tattoo. The shop was started by his deceased father and now belongs to his brother, Antonio, so he is fiercely passionate when it comes to what’s best for it. When Gio finds out his brother went behind his back and hired a new co-manager, Riley, he is none too happy. Convinced she has no idea what’s she’s doing, he fights her on every decision and recommendation. But Riley doesn’t back down easy, which only makes Gio want to ravage her… after he fires her.

Riley and Gio’s love-hate relationship easily draws you in. The drama and situations presented in the book aren’t drastic, but the characters are so multi-layered that you can’t help but invest in them. There’s plenty of angst and their chemistry is palpable. When they’re not at each other’s throats, they’re actually pretty sweet together.

The book’s primary focus, other than on their relationship, is Thorn Tattoo and trying to save it from going deeper in the red. There’re a few scenes where Gio’s temper gets the best of him and he makes for some entertaining drama, but overall, it’s pretty relaxed.

My only complaint is that there’s a lot of introspection in the book and it manages to become repetitive. The same insecurities and doubts keep coming up, yet rather than actively doing anything about it, they continue to ignore their issues. I would’ve loved for Riley and Gio have been a little more proactive and a little less mentally hung up. But overall, it was an easy, enjoyable read.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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