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Perfection by R. L. Mathewson

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Perfection
A Neighbor from Hell #2

R. L. Mathewson
Contemporary Romance
Published in 2011

H/h - Trevor Bradford/Zoe O’Shea
Setting: Present time.

Read in Feb, 2012.
My rating:

                                                    [spoiler alert]

This book tried my patience more than once. I just couldn’t love it as much as I loved Playing for Keeps. Perfection wasn’t perfect in any sense but I don’t always look for perfection in a book, yet the characters and the storyline of this book I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. It had the much adorable Bradfords, their funny antics, their foods and RLM’s usual humor, which is what, IMO, saved this book for me. Otherwise, I don’t know... It couldn’t be more than a 3-3.5 star in my scale.

The book started off really well. Zoe was having the worst day of her life and honestly speaking, we all do at some point or the other. I got her frustration. Zoe is brilliant with numbers and detected a fraud in her company, only to be kicked out by one of the owners since the fraud was done by his wife. The company was a cheap sh*t anyway and Zoe worked her arse off but after 6 months into it, she knew she’d never get very far no matter what she does. But she’s got no other place to go, no one else to turn to so, this was her only way to take care of herself. Reading about her childhood made me like her more. I empathized that she fought hard through those numerous, bad foster homes and those bad memories since her mother abandoned her as she couldn’t take care of a little Zoe. She never knew her father, or at least that’s what I understood. At 17, when she ran away from the latest home, Zoe knew she has to do something about this situation. She worked hard and got this far. But no matter what, being on the curvy side and always being judged for it can never be a good memory for anyone. Even though, Zoe started off with a low self esteem, I thought as a person she was stronger; she only needed the right support which she never ever got her life. I got tired of reading how not good looking she was over and over and over again in this book, which came mostly from Trevor’s musings and somehow, when Zoe was with him, she begin to believe in it too. I’ll get to that soon enough. So, Zoe moved to this new place a few months ago and her only neighbor is a gorgeous guy. Their apartments are together, with a common entrance. Zoe loves this place and the fact that she can afford it with her little income made her eager to get it. Everything was going good but her neighbor was an a-hole, no matter how studly. He made a lot of trouble for her. But she never said a word since she needed to stay here. What Zoe didn’t know was that Trevor actually owned the place (and a few more like this one which he rented out), and his aunt, Jason’s mother Megan dealt with tenants because he didn’t like to do it himself. So Zoe thought he’s the owner’s jacka$$ nephew and no good would come from a complaint. But now that she has lost her job, Zoe feels the despair. She orders some good, pricey fast foods to shake off her bad day. She goes for a shower, the a-hole has already used all the warm water. Her floormat is still streaked with mud cakes left by the same a-hole. No matter what she does, it still ends up with more dirt on it. The walls of the rooms aren’t insulated so she can actually hear him ... er, not with other women but something else and that was sooo funny, can’t explain. I wanted see Trevor’s face at that moment. Anyway, Zoe goes to do some laundry when she sees her a-hole neighbor on the hallway. As she was coming back hearing a bell, she sees him with some food which he claims to be his order... I think you can guess whose food was it. But as she calls the shop, they inform her that her order has been delivered. Zoe have just about had enough, the day can’t get any worse so she decides to face-off the a-hole who lives next to her.

All his life, Trevor has sought for perfection, mostly because his life was anything but perfect. He has dyslexia, for which his father left him and his mother. The man was actually disgusted by Trevor’s ‘abnormality’ and beat him in front of the others, when a younger Jason saved him. Jared, Jason’s father is Trevor’s maternal uncle. And thank God that all of his maternal uncles loved him, but it was Jared who took care of his mother Sarah and him. Jared was more of a father figure to him than own. Trevor has always been envious of Jason’s perfect life, which started the day since he was born. He was good in everything, while Trevor struggled. Well, Trevor never held any ill wish for his cousin but damn, it hurts! Life is unfair like that. I was pretty sad when these things about Trevor were revealed and thought he would be a great hero. But his obsession with ‘perfection and perfect woman’ got old after sometimes and honestly, it began to feel rather childish and pathetic. He was so misguided in this concept, which pissed me off because the man was 30plus and should’ve known better by now. I get that he worked hard. He learned to read a few words. He didn’t attend the special school since it made him feel small and insignificant. Even most of the people don’t know about his problem but his very close relatives. Jared gave him a job in his construction farm when Trevor was in his late teens. At first he hated the job but sometimes later, his life begins to feel right. Women were never a problem for him, as it isn’t for any Bradford. He’s very good looking, tall and muscular (duh!). He would date women and discard them simply because they wouldn’t meet one or the other of his notion of perfection. Most of the times, he’d date those model types, tall, thin and beautiful; cold as hell. Doesn’t matter to Trevor because he’s pretty optimistic that he’d soon find the right, perfect woman- someone who’d be absolutely gorgeous, won’t be the clingy sort and let him live his life, whom he can take anywhere and show off etc. etc. But his frumpy and plump neighbor certainly doesn’t fall into that category, so there was NO WAY Trevor would look at her way. He could annoy the hell outta her, streak her floormat with mud because he hates the thing, he could steal the last bit of her detergent and use that to wash his own clothes, use up all the hot water and yet the woman won’t make a noise. She has agreed to all his terms while renting this place and so far, has lived by his rules and pays her bills regularly. She’s the best tenant ever! So when Trevor was taking her order, making it his by paying the bills, he knew she won’t say a thing. After all, a Bradford can’t go hungry for long, he’s tired to lift his fingers and this is so convenient so he lies to the delivery man because he was (yes) banned from that shop, to get the food. What Trevor didn’t count on was his plain little tenant come and dare snatch food away from him. Whoa! This is some situation he’s in.

Zoe does that, yes, and speaks out which I loved absolutely. They keep on bickering, throwing words at each-other, where just to embarrass Trevor (because nothing it seems embarrasses him) she informs him that she can hear him in ... er,... um, through the walls. This makes Trevor see red so he does something equally mean, more than mean IMO and in not so subtle words calls her fat. OMG, I was SO pissed! Zoe is hurt, even though she knows she shouldn’t be but God, hearing this from a stud like Trevor hurts like hell. But Trevor soon apologizes her through the walls (which they did a lot throughout the story) but won’t give back her food. Lord, I wanted to slap him. Then they talk, really talk and things kinda become normal. After this their relationship took a new turn. Trevor tells Zoe that he can help her finding a job. Then after he takes a look at her freakishly clean apartment, Trevor thinks why not offer her something- to clean his pigsty aka apartment. He would pay her, which would bring her extra money. He takes the decision and pats himself on the back (which he does a lot too, throughout the book). The Bradfords are a conceited bunch it seems.

The next day, Zoe goes to Jared’s for the job. Even though she was a bit apprehensive about her bad luck lately, Jared soon relieves her of that notion. She’s hired. It’s obvious that Jared likes her a lot. We also meet His Goofiness, Lord Jason, acting on his creepy (but oh, so adorable) obsession over his 2nd time pregnant wife, Haley. BTW: This story takes place approx. two years after Playing for Keeps. I loved reading these two together; some of the best scenes were involving these two and their 1 yr old son Cole, who is already proving himself a Bradford with his food obsession. Zoe sees them together and sighs over their relationship. She’s already agreed to work for Trevor and she likes to work hard, so after that she cleans his apartment and does his grocery shopping .When Trevor comes home, he’s in bliss. His apartment is freakishly clean, much like Zoe’s own and his refrigerator is stacked with food. Zoe even managed to save up on the money he gave her... what’s not to like about his life? Maybe only a little problem, like getting laid, which he hasn’t for quite some times now. Trevor decides to remedy that soon and resume his search for the perfect woman whom he’d marry as soon as he finds her. Trevor even decides to insulate the walls, to protect both of their privacy of course. But it was never done, which was funny in itself.

But as time passed by, Trevor begins to find himself attracted to Zoe, which he interpreted as ‘seriously it’s time to get laid if I’m getting hard looking at my ugly neighbor’. Every time this happened, this is how he interpreted it and God it killed me every time! Since he hadn’t had sex, even though he planned a few times, Trevor is concerned that something’s wrong with his pr*ck. Whoa there buddy! I was pissed again, as I already was every time how ‘frumpy and plump Zoe was’ came out of Trevor’s musings. It kinda rubbed me raw that he was soooo insensitive and immature. I didn’t find any of it cute. It just wasn’t. Of course, Zoe was attracted to him, there’s no way she wouldn’t be but she knew a man like Trevor would never look twice at her, unless it’s a dire necessity, which is why he hired her in the first place. I begin to feel the desire to shake some sense into her when she would go and draw conclusions like this. But I guess she wasn’t wrong because men do tend to think with their pr*ck as Trevor proved more than once in this book. But Zoe was thankful that he gave her two jobs from which she’s earning a substantial amount of money. Now, it’s time to get her romantic life on the move. It’s been quite awhile that she’s had a boyfriend, let alone sex, so Zoe’s desperate to have sex, even if it with some random stranger. Whoa there buddy! WHAT? I get that it’s been years… but hell, show some courage woman! I know you can do it! But sadly, she put me down, so badly that I hurt even from thinking about it. After their first real confrontation in the 1st chapter, I thought she’d give me a hell of a ride and show Trevor who’s the boss... but *sigh*, nope.

Their life was getting along in harmony, unless you take Trevor’s growing obsession over Zoe and interpreting it as you-know-what. Then one day, Zoe goes out, so does Trevor and they end up in the same bar. Both had one thing in mind- sex with random pickups. As Zoe wasn’t any good about these things, she drinks a lot. She sees Trevor and some women but she interprets Trevor’s looking away as in, of course, not interested in her. She sighs but hopes that today she’s finally have sex, with whoever it is. When a man approaches her, she hears Trevor’s voice near her, who scares the man away. A drunken Zoe creates some disasters and confesses in front of everyone why she’s here. This gives Trevor a new patting-his-own-back idea, why not make her his f*ck buddy since she wants no relationship sex too? It seems like his pr*ck still wants her so take her as long as he’s interested and when he finds his perfect woman, he can break off and marry her. Nobody needs to know... SOB! Zoe disappoints me by agreeing to this humiliating little arrangement, when Trevor suggests it the next night. And off starts their months long sex-a-thon, which I found exasperating over times. No I didn’t enjoy it. I hated how it all was... I HATED that this was the focal point of the story. Trevor was still an a-hole, his thought process didn’t change and he’d have logical solution to every desire that comes from within him saying he cares for his plain and plump neighbor. Of course he doesn’t because Trevor wants perfection and Zoe is anything but perfect, unless its sex which was mind numbingly good with her. This took away the fun for me and I couldn’t remedy this, even though the ending was nicer. I couldn’t like Trevor and forgive Zoe for giving into this so readily. It was simply awful that they wouldn’t even acknowledge each-other anywhere.

I started enjoying the book a little when finally Trevor began acknowledging his feelings for Zoe. Zoe was the one who didn’t come out like him and I felt her dilemma. The whole Bradford clan loved Zoe and there were more than once nice gesture by Trevor to win her. Being a book addict myself, I loved when Trevor was thoughtful about how Zoe wanted an Ebook reader and got her one. There were scenes with the Bradfords and their food. The scene in a new restaurant was just about to reveal the mind boggling secret of how do the Bradfords get banned from all those food shops/restaurants but damn that RLM cheated us out of it! The answer was this close... grr! This alone caused this book 0.5 stars, sorry. Then I was questioning to myself, how come the way they are going, Zoe still doesn’t know about Trevor’s dyslexia? And when she begins to feel dizzy and faint, why did she think it was because of her dieting? I mean at their rate (even with protections and irregular periods), I thought a woman would 1st check if she’s pregnant or not, unless there is a reason that she can’t have kids. Note that no one still ‘officially’ knew that Trevor and Zoe were lovers. But after she loses consciousness on her workplace, things go a little crazy and the secret is out. Jason the smarta$$, of course, advices Trevor not to let Zoe go and it was very apparent from their looks that they can’t have enough of each-other. Trevor realizes that he loves her more than anything.

Zoe learns about her pregnancy from the doctors and was planning not to tell Trevor since she was sure their arrangement would end soon. As Trevor has nothing serious in his mind, it’s better to leave ASAP. But Trevor has already made plans for them and their kid (he still didn’t know they’re having twins). He wants Zoe to move in with him. He wants to have their 1st official date too but Zoe stays put in her decision to leave and not take this any further. She doesn’t trust his words of love. I know I shouldn’t have found this annoying but I did. Yah, Trevor was a jerk so she has every reason to not trust him. Though quite late in the story, now that Trevor was trying to make it up to her, somehow I took Trevor’s side this time. Something came out of it all though; Trevor does a lot of self reflecting and is very ashamed of their arrangement afterwards. How could he put the woman he loves through this is beyond his comprehension. Moron! But you just can’t fight a Bradford when he has turned the full force of his charm and goofiness on you (some stuffs he did to make Zoe say ‘yes’ were quite sweet, funny and silly without a doubt). I wish there were more such gestures from Trevor earlier in the story, which would’ve convinced me that he’s worth all the trouble and that these two really belong together. The epilogue was sweet and takes place the same day as it did in Playing for Keeps...

4 stars, mostly because I love the Bradfords. I always will. Now, I’m waiting eagerly for the 3rd book. The hero isn’t a Bradford, which is a shame. I want MORE Bradford stories. *pouts* If you haven’t visited RLM’s website lately and read the excerpt of book 3, know that there are some changes. The hero’s name is changing from Shia to Connor and I second that choice.

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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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