3 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Review: Gotta Be Bayou by Erin Nicholas

How do you get over a woman you never should have been, ahem, under in the first place?
Just when FBI special agent Spencer Landry had decided to forget about investigative journalist Maxine-Max-Keller and their one hot night together, there’s a threat made against her and Spencer’s protective instincts get all riled up. Again.
So now they’re shacking up on the Louisiana bayou and pretending to be in love so he can keep Max safe until the guy is apprehended.
Considering their chemistry and that he can not stop thinking about the gorgeous-and-doesn’t-know-it, smart-mouthed, bold-and-yet-vulnerable redhead, this could be a fun few days, right?
Nope. She’s all wrong for him.
And she hasn’t forgotten he can be kind of a jerk.

Sure, the naked-times are great, but he told her exactly what he wants— a bubbly, sweet school teacher who bakes him brownies and loves to cuddle—and Max ain’t it.
Max not only doesn’t bake, no one has ever called her sweet. And cuddling? Shudder.
Plus his bossiness is super annoying for someone who’s been taking care of herself all her life. But now they’re stuck together and dammit, besides being hot and very good with his mouth, Spencer is pretty irresistible with baby goats, little kids, and attempts at baking. And don’t forget alpha-protective. All of which makes her stomach feel very swoop-y. No wonder her clothes keep falling off.
But this is a temporary situation and they’re only faking it. So falling for the guy is a terrible idea.
She really should have kept that in mind.

Title:Gotta Be Bayou
Author:Erin Nicholas
Series:Badges of the Bayou (Book 1)
Trope(s):Small Town Romance
Opposites Attract
Law Enforcement
Point of View:Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoints (H & h)
Location:Autre, Louisiana, USA
Release Date:13th September, 2022
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A little love story – a lot of Bayou

3 stars

The first page of this book tells me that I can read the prologue of this story in an anthology of story starters that I haven’t read and have no intention of buying (I mean, a whole book of cliffhangers – yeah, no). So I was grumpy from the start as the story referenced things that I had no clue of. Having passed on many of Erin Nicholas’s recent stories, I was excited to get back into her books with this one, the start of a new series called Badges of the Bayou.

And yes, this is the first in a new series but it leans heavily on all of Nicholas’s previous books set in Autre, Louisiana. And having skipped many of the more recent offerings, I had zero clue who all these side characters – and there were a lot – were or how they fit into this particular story. It was a bit much, to be honest. I like a series as much as the next person but when it becomes so convoluted and you need cheat sheets, or the best memory going, just to follow along – that’s where I tap out.

All that aside, our actual love story is between uptight FBI agent, Spencer, and the woman he’s determined to protect, independent loner, Max. Who also happens to be someone he had a smoking hot one-night stand (or it might be two nights – I didn’t read the story starter, you’ll remember) with a few months back. Forced to live together, the pair realise that there’s more to their relationship than just the chemistry.

“The chemistry between Max and Spencer was never going to be a problem…”

Spencer is my favourite kind of hero; Kind of uptight, very protective, amazingly hot and a dirty talker to boot. Yum! He’s got some baggage that means his plans for his life aren’t what Max presents – but I liked his honesty in his baser feelings and his obvious (to the reader at least) smitten-ness with Max. What I didn’t like – and never like in a story – is the way he told Max she wasn’t his type and wasn’t what he was looking for in a woman. It was meant as facts rather than with any cruelty, I just feel really uncomfortable when anyone says something like this.

Whenever a heroine is portrayed as a kick-ass, independent woman who doesn’t come across as overtly feminine – I’m always concerned that I won’t be able to relate to them. And I have to admit that it took me a lot longer than normal to connect with, and like, Max. By the end, I was all in and rooting for her to get her happily ever after. And by the epilogue I was in love with Max as much as she was with Spencer and vice versa.

The chemistry between Max and Spencer was never going to be a problem – something we see almost from the first page. They rubbed sparks off each other in a most delicious fashion and add in Spencer’s dirty talk and I was a goner. Happy sighs.

Erin Nicholas’s writing style is always engaging and she really brings her characters and their world to life. For me, I just want to focus on the love story between our couple – which I ultimately enjoyed. All the other stuff about previous characters, future characters, relatives, friends, animals and in-jokes – it was too much for me. I won’t be picking up the next in this series and sadly I can only give this one 3 stars – and that’s with a fantastic epilogue!

3 stars

*I received this book in exchange for my honest view*

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.

Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).

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Badges of the Bayou Gone Wild Series:

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