REVIEW: “Twist” by Kylie Scott

“Twist” is the fabulous funny, slow-burn, sexy, poignant, second installment in Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar series.  This novel has depth, humor, and romance along with well developed main and secondary characters and a compelling storyline.  The Hero, Joe Collins, is the loyal, steadfast, workaholic Collins brother.  He’s the opposite to his well-coiffed, womanizing, devil-may-care, Peter Pan-like brother.  The Heroine, Alex Parks, is a work in progress.  She arrives on the scene tentatively and vulnerable and quickly steps outside of her comfort zone.  Alex becomes a force to be reckoned with; she speaks her mind, faces her demons, and defends her friends.  We get reintroduced to the gang at the Dive Bar and learn more about some of them.  We know Eric Collins’ an unapologetic, egotistical skirt chaser.  But we discover his selfishness and narcissism is boundless.  Alex and Joe’s romance is sweet, laden with chemistry, sexual tension and witty banter.

Alex’s an introvert who finds herself bravely in Coeur d’Alene to meet the man she communicates with regularly via email.  Eric Collins and she share their inner most secrets, their day-to-day lives, and dreams.  In a knock-out dress and killer shoes she’ entering the Dive Bar finally meeting the online dating site mystery man.  Unfortunately when Alex arrives the bar is having a private party for the friends and employees of the Dive Bar.  When she explains that she’s there to meet Eric they greet her as a friend.  Everyone except Eric.  He has no idea who she is; maybe a random chick he banged in some bathroom or a scammer.  But Alex knows everyone in the bar by name, what they do, and what their relationship is to each other.  At first they think she’s some sort of physic until Joe comes out of the back room.

Joe instantly pales at the sight of Alex.  By going through clues step-by-step the puzzle pieces lead to Joe being the man behind the emails.  Joe tries to explain he started out doing it in order to get Eric interested in a nice girl.  Then Alex was so real and funny he was intrigued and lonely and couldn’t stop.  Then it got to the point that if he confessed she’d think he’s was a jerk and stop emailing.  He didn’t want to stop receiving her emails.  Joe figured that since Alex lives in another state the would never meet face-to-face.  Alex doesn’t take this well and accuses Joe of being a liar and a user.  She’s been lied to in the past and will never tolerate it again.  No matter what Joe says it’s the wrong thing.

Alex marches out of the bar and into the rain.  She walks several blocks to the local hotel with the intention of checking in and flying out the next day.  Joe follows her trying to explain himself but nothing he says can cool Alex’s fury.  The next morning Alex awakens with a terrible cold.  She has a blood-thirsty yet sympathetic phone call with her friend Val regarding the events of the prior day.  Alex plans to fly out that afternoon.  On her way to get coffee she sees Joe in front of the hotel asleep in his truck.  She wakes him and he confesses he didn’t want her to leave without having another chance to explain.  He offers to take her to breakfast, where Alex almost faints from being so sick.  Joe tells her she can’t fly in her condition and offers to get her some medicine.

Alex refuses to let Joe look after her.  Claiming that she appreciates the meds but can do without babysitting from the man who lied to her for months.  Joe takes her back to the hotel.  Alex wakes to pounding on her door and she can barely pry her eyes open.  It’s Joe’s and he’s frantic.  He’s called the front desk several times to see if she collected the medicine he left for her.  Learning she didn’t he left work early to check on her and was pounding on the door for ages.  Alex slept from breakfast until 9 pm and her cold is considerably worse.  Alex is incredibly sick, she can’t breathe, can’t stay awake, body aching, feverish sick.  Joe goes into caretaker mode and ends up remaining there for several days.  Because Alex is in and out of consciousness for a couple of days.

Eric drops by accusing Alex of faking her illness to torture Joe.  Saying she’s making him jump through hoops to pay penance for his deception.  Alex is now grateful she dodged a bullet the more she learns about the immature Eric Collins.  The close quarters and Joe’s constant caretaking presence cause the very ill Alex to weaken in her anger toward Joe.  In fact she’s beginning to appreciate the “assets” of a man who normally isn’t her type.  When Alex starts feeling better she comes up with feeble excuses regarding why she won’t leave.  Finally she commits to staying for a couple of weeks.  She’s going to help Joe out with a project they talked about when they were emailing as Alex and Eric.  Her job as a Graphic Artist allows her to work from anywhere at least for a short amount of time.

Joe’s friends are desperately trying to push them together romantically.  Finally, Alex and Joe do end up having some intense sex.  But because of Alex’s trust issues she pushes to keep it impersonal as possible.  Just when Alex begins to acknowledge her feelings for Joe tragedy strikes.  It’s then that the perfect storm of stressors hits Joe.  The ex-girlfriend he though he’d spend the rest of his life with comes back into his life with a vengeance.  Joe feels guilt over a life altering event.  Then the work she was helping him gets taken over by his friends and father.  Not only does Alex feel as though she’s unnecessary she believes she’s an additional burden to him.  That’s when she slips away, leaving Coeur d’Alene and going home.  Feeling guilty for leaving without saying good-bye Alex attempts to contact Joe several times but he never responds.

“Twist” has some incredibly moving subplots and events woven throughout the storyline.  Kylie Scott adds another winner to the Dive Bar series with this installment.  Joe Collins is a phenomenal Hero.  Despite his “bigfoot-like” size he’s my favorite kind Hero, a Beta; he’s a caretaker, protective, and nurturing.  Alex is a wonderful character.  She’s a Heroine who exhibits tremendous character growth becoming fierce, brave, and open to trusting others.  The secondary characters add humor, conflict, and pathos.  The reader receives good and bad resolutions as well as a couple of Happily Ever Afters.  There are also FABULOUS cameos from favorite Stage Dive series characters.  Frankly, “Twist” is my favorite book in Kyle Scott’s Dive Bar series, and I can’t wait to read the others!

I’m giving “Twist” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed

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