Sometimes all it takes to change your life is a chance meeting. Cameron Kassen is a lawyer just looking for a jolt of caffeine when screenwriter, Julie Carter accidentally spills hot coffee all over her. They strike up a flirtatious conversation which they both agree can go nowhere despite their instant chemistry.
Cameron is great at flirting, but that’s as far as anything ever gets. Having been widowed at a very young age, it took her a couple of years to learn how to get on with her life. She is afraid that if her heart ever breaks again, there will be no getting over it. Her solution: no dating, no commitments.
Cameron and Julie keep in touch. Texting between Toronto and San Diego is easy and with Cameron making regular business trips to Julie’s hometown, their friendship starts to turn into something more. Julie is ready to embrace her feelings for Cameron and see if they can make a long-distance relationship work. The deeper Cameron’s feelings for Julie become, the more resolute she is about keeping Julie at arm’s length.
When Julie announces she is marrying another woman, Cameron’s world is rocked. Can Cameron overcome the self-imposed quarantine she has put her heart under or will she take a chance on love?
I absolutely adore Cameron. Everything. About. Her. Brown does a remarkable job creating a character who is deeply conflicted. On the one hand, she is an emotionally damaged woman, but on the other, she is confident, witty, and vivacious. I couldn’t help but empathize with Cameron and her fear of facing another devastating heartbreak. As much as Cameron says she has no desire to date again, Brown lets the reader know through her internal one-liners that she still yearns for someone to love. Thank goodness this is a traditional romance! My heart sang watching Cameron put her heart back together with Julie’s help.
Julie is fabulous. She is charming, funny, and optimistic without being overly saccharine. She’s smart and knows that to win Cameron, she has to play the long game. Her willingness to keep things platonic with Cameron allows Cameron the space and time she needs to get comfortable with wanting someone again. Unfortunately, unrequited love finally takes its toll on Julie and I just had to keep my fingers crossed that these two would finally get in sync.
The Writing Style
The story is told from Cameron’s point of view which makes perfect sense since this story is about her internal journey. Brown takes her time with this plot. The story takes place over the course of two years which I love to see. This is no insta-romance and Brown gives the reader snapshots of their relationship through Cameron’s visits to San Diego. To keep the relationship progressing, Brown includes full text conversations between the two of them and they are just as clever as the rest of the book.
The dialogue is a dream. It is quick and witty one moment and heavy with emotion the next. The banter between Julie and Cameron is so easy that it feels like these two women honestly belong together. I believe that’s called: good writing.
During the course of the book, Julie writes a romance for Cameron, as Cameron is scared to death of the horror movies that Julie writes for a living. This book within a book has its own unique writing style. I thought it was an utterly original way to give the reader some insight into Julie’s character since she doesn’t have her own point of view in the story. It’s so clever but to say more would be a terrible spoiler.
Trigger warning: during a very heated argument between the two main characters, one of them slaps the other across the face. I know. I winced. I don’t like to see physical violence like that no matter how volatile the argument. However, this did not prevent me from loving the characters and their story.
Sometimes this is the hardest part of a review for me. If I only had 280 characters at my disposal this would just be a string of smiley faces, rainbows, and heart emojis. I love it when a book makes me feel so much that my heart breaks open and I shed tears of pain and tears of joy. When I realize that I’m laughing out loud at my little table in Starbucks because a clever turn of phrase triggered my odd sense of humor, I feel like the book was written just for me. And when I catch myself saying, “Oh no she didn’t!” to an empty room, I know I’ve found a winner. The characters and the plot checked off everything on my list of what I want in a romance. Cameron’s journey will resonate with me for a long time and I highly recommend this book.
Excerpt from Cameron’s Rules by Baxter Brown
She chewed on her bottom lip. “I’m failing to follow your logic and see the problem here, Cameron.”
“I don’t want to date. I have no desire.” I don’t want to want.
“But this isn’t a date,” she said.
“No? Traveling up the coast at sunset, amazing food, night walk on the beach, moonlit drive. It’s as close as I’ve been to a first date in a really long time.”
“You’re overthinking this.” She looked over at me. “You had a great time. Just focus on that.”
“That was the initial problem.” I laughed lightly.
“Well, then…” She paused for effect. “I’m having a terrible time, worst non-date ever. I’m going to journal about it when I get home. ‘Dear diary, she had one piece of hair out of place during dinner. It distracted me the whole time. It ruined my whole night.’”
“Liar.” I turned to her and softly smiled.
“No, it’s true.” She reached over and gently tucked a loose strand behind my ear. “There you go.” She smiled gently. “Perfect,” she whispered and focused back on the road. “Damn it!” She threw her hands up in the air and then quickly put them back on the wheel. “Now I have nothing to journal about!” She grinned from the driver’s seat.
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Bits and Bobs
- Publisher: Bella Books
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