Kate Canterbary has saved the best Walsh for last. A combination of Andy’s family disgruntlement, Sam’s sexual freakiness, Matt’s intensity, and Erin and Shannon’s secrecy. Riley and his girl hit all of the greatest hits and do it even better. They’re an Opposites Attract, Arrangement, and Friends to Lovers Trope Romance. Riley’s laidback and klutzy and his heroine is intense and often “hangry”. However they’re attracted to each other almost from their first meeting. The more time they spend together the more they learn they have in common. Both were disappointments to their parents, they enjoy eating (a lot), and to Riley’s immense delight she’s a superhero aficionado. Oddly enough Riley can’t select one nickname for his girl. For him it’s meaningful, for her it raises her insecurities. She wants to be loved, to be someone’s first choice. Unfortunately Riley’s still carrying his secret, impossible, unrequited torch.
It’s quite obvious, at the start of the novel, Riley’s still deeply entrenched in his impossible, never-going-to-happen love affair. To the point of intense frustration. At work the summer interns have vacated the premises much to everyone’s relief’. But the siblings realize they need to find “fresh meat” for next year. Riley’s going to his alma mater’s (Rhode Island School of Design) version of Homecoming, RISD Weekend. He’s tasked to look scope out some interns. Some of his siblings have concerns. Riley’s “It’s Complicated” cause “She’s Trouble” college ex-girlfriend will be attending. They want him to take a “buffer”. There’re some suggestions for his consideration which he’ll think about. Unexpectedly one of Riley’s siblings sets him up with a friend also needing a “faux love interest” for social engagements. They arrange a get-to-know-you date to pull of their ruse believably. His potential date has concerns that Riley’s trust-worthiness.
For the first faux date Riley plays his part flawlessly to the point his date’s muddy-headed and emotionally confused. Opening the floodgates to more real dates, texts, and touching. By the time RISD Weekend rolls around things are sexually tense. Riley’s 50/50 torn between his unrequited love and his not-real/maybe-real girlfriend. The not-so-real girlfriend’s pulling ahead and might just become really real. Shannon’s hotel reservations are incorrect and two rooms turn into one room with two beds. This doesn’t do Riley’s blood pressure any favors. During a run-in with the “It’s Complicated” cause “She’s Trouble” college ex-girlfriend Riley’s “buffer date” gets “possessive”. Their first kiss is tender moving onto bordering on XXX. This leads to an emergency exit to their hotel room. Unfortunately memories are sketchy do to copious amounts of liquor imbibed the previous night in the name of honesty. But a trashed hotel room tells quite a story.
The faux girlfriend remembers many bits and pieces but Riley remembers nothing, and unfortunately he doesn’t communicate well. This leads to a serious misunderstanding and split. Riley goes to the relations who set him up for help to patch things up. Leading to an interesting turn of events and a sexual fetish/hobby. Which later causes Sam to make everyone reconsider his status as the family pervert. But it’s a hot and risky kink. Things go well and the Walsh women welcome her into their pedicure and margarita club. Extending their friendship even if things don’t work out with Riley. Riley and his girl exchange “I Love Yous”. Unfortunately the siblings must confront their demons, during Andy’s project conclusion event, at their childhood home. It’s during this event that Riley’s girl figures out his secret love even though he’s over that obsession. The couple’s split’s irreconcilable. Both are desperately heartbroken.
The Heroine in “Preservation” appears in a previous installment of The Walshes series. However I don’t want to spoil it letting the cat out of the bag. What’s really sweet is that Riley doesn’t have just one nickname for his girl. He tries to explain one of them to her – but she doesn’t understand its nuances. Needless to say it isn’t a superhero. Riley really does have a gift with nicknames. Kate Canterbary puts so much character growth in “Preservation”. Riley grows out of his “Man-Child” persona learning about True Love; his heroine becomes softer and adventurous. This novel’s so much fun and a joy to read. Riley’s a fabulous sexual beast yet terribly tenderhearted. Kate Canterbary’s reached the end of the Walsh siblings. I do hope she backtracks; revisiting a few of them. They’re truly an addiction of which I’m not ready to cure myself.
I’m giving “Preservation” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.