Title: No Offense, Darlin’
Author: S.J. Sawyer
Series: Like a Lady #5
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: 07-22-2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, YA/NA Romance
Page Count: 340
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Jake Roberson is nothing but a lying bastard. Every whisper that falls from his lips is a betrayal, but I can’t seem to convince myself to walk away. When he comes sauntering toward me, all those particulars go right out the window, and I cave. Every. Single. Time.
No more, though. I can’t. There’s too much at stake this time around, and I won’t have it.
Besides, one night with Beau, that’s all it took. I’m sunk. He was amazing in every way imaginable, and he still is. Why he likes someone like me, I can’t fathom. He’s such a good man, and he only ever sees the best in people, me included. It’s an amazing thing. The way he looks at the world, it’s like magic. Every bone, every muscle, every fiber of Beau Reed’s being is good, and he never stops proving that to me. He’s a good guy deep down in his core where it counts. I’ve always known that, even when I first met him. It’s something that radiates out from him like this big glowing light. Never have I ever met anyone like him.
But because he’s good, I have to make him go. ~Shelby
I can’t focus on anything else:
Soft, brown hair hanging in waves down to creamy skin that looks all too damned touchable.
Big eyes that could never be described with any justice, brown to green, maybe hazel, with so much vibrant light, etching them forever into memory.
Plump, smooth, kissable lips that are the stuff of fantasy, with the bottom one slightly fuller than the top, perfect.
It’s always Shelby, always been Shelby, and there doesn’t seem to be anything or anyone that can make that any different.
Except, now, there’s more at play than just her. For once, it’s not about Shelby Case, and despite my best efforts to save her, there’s things that I can’t rescue her from. ~Beau
No Offense, Darlin’ is the first Like A Lady novel. While it could be read as a standalone, for the full effect of Beau and Shelby’s backstory, the Like A Lady serial should be read as a prequel to this novel. The first part of the serial, Big Girl Panties, is free.
Big Girl Panties
Hide Your Crazy
Fix Your Makeup
Say A Prayer
No Offense, Darlin’
3.5 stars- Enjoyable read
When I review a series, I try not to compare books, but in this case I read them back to back, making it nearly impossible. This is labeled as a standalone, and I think it can read on its own sufficiently. However, there is a lot of drama around this group of friends initially introduced in the serial that bleeds into the subsequent book.
The author again crafted a really sweet hero with a heart of gold. I think it would be hard not to like Beau. However, I appreciated that there was more to his personality. He had facets that warred with his good ol’ boy persona. I liked this depth to his character and how the author used it to explain his attraction to the “bad-girl” Shelby. Beau was willing to look beyond the rumors and assumptions based on her personal and familial history. Not only did this add value to his personality, but it also explained the relationship beyond a long-standing attraction. Shelby proved to be a really interesting heroine. I liked her much more than Red. Her history was well-flushed out throughout the book and provided a solid explanation for her attitude and previous actions, as well as her reluctance to fall into a similar pattern with Beau. Though Shelby’s past choices were explained for the most part, I missed a true redemption for this heroine. I never quite understood her repeated hook-ups with Jake, even after he was engaged. It seemed the reader was expected to excuse her behavior because he led her on, and I think that devalued her strength and character a little. Despite the lack of fully redeeming Shelby from the person portrayed in the Like a Lady serial, she showed growth as a character throughout the book. This was evident with all her relationships, including how she viewed herself.
Once again the conflicts, particularly those among secondary characters seemed excessive. However, the main plot and conflicts remained the chief focus and I felt the distractions encroached less on Shelby and Beau’s romance. The romance itself had a decent amount of depth. The plotline was interesting and kept me engaged throughout the novel. The pacing was much improved from the serial. While it was still very detailed, the time jumps made sense and never disrupted the flow.
I didn’t love the first four novellas in this series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Given the circumstances Shelby is introduced in the Like a Lady serial, I was extra hesitant and couldn’t imagine how the author would redeem her character. For the most part, I don’t think her character was completely redeemed, and that’s the main reason I can’t give this more than three stars. However, a lot of my issues with the serial regarding flow and character development were so much better in this book. Overall, I really enjoyed the storyline, this couple, and their twisting journey to a happily ever after.