Parks and Provocation by Juliette Cross

Juliette Cross has blown me away with a good old fashioned romance story. No vampires, no vessels of light, just a regular man and woman. I mean, if you can call sexy wildfire fire fighters “regular”. I’m always hesitant to read a romance with a fireman as a main character. Being married to a fireman, I’m always worried that the fiction telling will be so far off reality that I won’t enjoy the story. Naturally, Juliette Cross knew what she was doing here.

Lola Landry really could’ve use some anxiety meds. 😂

Our girl really needed to chill out and enjoy the life in front of her. I sympathized with her struggle because, like her, I’ve spent my adult life trying to escape my high school memories. Lola spends a lot of time unknowingly running away from her home to prove herself. She feels a crippling need to be successful, which in her mind means extreme financial stability. Even more than just stability, she craves a big job title and a showy company to work with. Clearly, love is the wrench that will derail her perfectly laid plan.

Let’s not kid ourselves, we all read this book because of Jed. The muscle man with a heart of gold, parental instincts for his nieces and nephews, and a picture perfect golden retriever. Did he have a picket fence? That may be the only thing he was missing. I expected a swaggery fellow, shirtless and in turnouts. I didn’t expect the sweet marshmallow peep of goodness on the inside. Having his POV in the book was SUCH a crucial element to this story. Readers needed to feel what he was thinking when it come to Lola. It wouldn’t have been enough to only live in Lola’s mind while she battled against her natural instincts with Jed while trying to convince herself it wasn’t meant to last.

Even though we need HEAs in romance books, the good ones will still surprise you and leave you squealing.

I found Parks and Provocation to be a refreshing take of “the one that got away”. While they missed a great opportunity to be together in high school, they grasped a chance to try it out as adults. I love that they still had it bad for each other after so many years, but were able to learn and grow without each other for a few years. It feels like a realistic take on young love. I know it works out for some of us, but individuals need time to grow out of their awkward high school selves. Jed isn’t a kid anymore, and he shamelessly pursues Lola with smoldering intensity. Trust me, you’ll need to fan yourself off with this book while reading.

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