Me during the first half of the book : What an adorable little story with such a shy and sweet girl.Hector : I love my freaky little girlfriendMe during the second half of the book : Soooo... maybe she's not as sweet and innocent as first implied.I feel bamboozled (sorry if I'm overusing this word lately). But in a good way, I think?So, this chick has a sex toy fetish. I'm sort of jealous that I didn't know as much about them as she did at her age. Was that TMI? Perhaps? Let's backtrack. *rewind*Elizabeth Reyes writes sweet romances with a little bit of added male testosterone. The men act like boys and the boys act like men. Let's put this into perspective - we're dealing with semi-professional boxers - that would be guys who beat the crap out of each other for fun. Of course there's going to be an extra dose of male protectiveness in the air. One thing that I do like about the way Ms. Reyes writes male characters is that she somehow manages to write these males as tough, fierce and sometimes edgy, but the sensitive nature always shines through. I don't feel like I'm getting bulldozed by pure testosterone encased in a package of solid 'roid rage. There's some balance to the overt manliness which I like. Hector was a believable male hero."I can hardly believe you're all mine," he whispered.I adored the first half of this book. It was cute, sweet, fun, fluffy, and completely what I was in the mood for after the last book turned out to be somewhat annoying. This wasn't quite an enemies-to-lovers story, but more of an opposites-attracting-after-they-got-past-some-initial-misgivings (new category : activated). Charlee was an adorable female lead and her shyness only added to her charm, instead of distracting from it. When she finally got to a point where her heart started to become visible, I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her that it would be alright."You make me sad." The second half had a few hiccups, however. I guess I could buy that a shy girl might have a closeted freak side. Although, is self-love really freaky? I didn't think so, but according to the book, it might be. Maybe in this case the concept was dealing more with a heightened awareness of what one wants. *shrug* I don't know. Just be glad I didn't saddle you all with the SEX TOYS OF DOOM pic that I had floating around in my head.My issues were not many, but I was sort of confused about why everyone was all "do-goody." It's nice to see when people do good things, but between the 'making up for previous bullying,' the Special Olympics volunteering, the elderly home volunteering, etc. I was wondering who these young adults were and if I could somehow get one of them to come swap out for my kid. And really...is chess the method we want to use to drive a plot? I can only imagine the stories these two will tell their grand-kids : Well, Mikey - your nana and I started having these feelings as we were facing off in a chess match. The way your nana stroked that pawn drove me wild.My biggest "sigh" moment was probably the use of the word forever. This is not the first time I've seen the word in a Reyes book. Can we let the 18 year olds be 18 without trying too hard to foreshadow the future?But whatever. Point is, this was a fun little love story. It worked for what I wanted to read in the moment, so that's good enough for me. And I got a blast from the past with this :"Cinnamon Binaca. I didn't know people still used breath spray."Technically, the first two books in this series are adult, but I've noticed that Reyes likes to mix it up with the age ranges in her series. This particular installment is NA, given the college age of the characters. I sort of appreciate the variety. In real life, families, friends, and co-workers do not always fall into the same age range.One of my favorite aspects of reading NA is that the sex is not all about "get from point A to point b." Sure, we know we'll be rewarded with sex scenes by the end of the book, but I love the emphasis on foreplay first. It's not uncommon for young adults in that age range to play around with hands and mouths and body maneuvering in a way which stimulates and gets them excited for what's to come. All too often in adult books it's this hurried frenzy to get right down to it, then the sex becomes monotonous after a couple of times. By choosing to write in some foreplay scenes full of tension that come first, it only makes the deed that much sweeter when it does happen.In fact, I think I liked some of the foreplay and 'other' play better than the actual sex scenes. One of the sex scenes was kind of awkward, I thought.But anyway, I got another book checked off on this series. I'll be looking forward to Abel's story next and a return to 5th Street.