Worth the Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters is a friends to lovers, second chance lesbian romance. It’s the third book in her Out in Portland series, although it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read any of the other books.
Avery Crown and Alistair King have ruled the home renovation reality show space for 15 years, taking them all over America to restore ramshackle homes into something beautiful. Everyone in the world knows they’re the perfect couple, with the kind of relationship we all aspire to. Except, of course, Avery is a lesbian and like everything else on King & Crown, their relationship is fake (even if their close friendship isn’t).
When Avery goes to her high school reunion, she’s both excited and nervous to see her Merritt Lessing, her old high school crush and best friend. Nothing ever happened between them 15 years ago, since Avery left before she got the courage to share her feelings with Merritt. And while she’s done her damndest to forget Merritt, Avery can’t ignore the spark that’s still there.
Merritt had been in love with Avery in high school and was crushed when she left without a word. Despite the anger she still holds, Merritt still agrees to a night with Avery. When Avery’s work brings them together in a way that means they’ll have to see each other throughout the summer, things get a lot more complicated. Can Merritt let Avery into her heart? And can Avery find a way to make things work, even though her career requires her to stay in the closet?
I have to admit that I found Avery kind of difficult to like for a lot of the book. She’s very sweet, kind, and thoughtful, all of which are to her credit. And while she really is a total sweetheart, I kind of wanted to tell Merritt to run the other way! It’s a huge deal for Avery that she stay closeted because of her career, and I thought Merritt deserved better than that. Thankfully Avery makes up for it in the end and I was very happy with how they ended up.
I liked Merritt a lot. She’s the ultimate androgynous dreamboat, and doesn’t trust anyone with her heart for a number of really good reasons. I especially loved watching her get vulnerable because we know there’s a strong emotional cost to it, and I’m glad that it pays off for her.
There are a bunch of side characters in Worth the Wait, between the people who work on King & Crown, and Avery and Merritt’s close friends. Hands down, my absolute favourite was Avery’s other best friend DX. She’s a huge pop star and not only are some of her antics outrageous (there might be a helicopter), but several times she said things that had me laughing out loud. Like, look at this conversation!
“What would you do if you weren’t a singer?” Avery asked.
“I’d start a cult.”
“No, for real?”
DX’s face said, Yes, for real.
The Writing Style
This was a really easy, fun book to read. I’m a huge sucker for reality show stories, plus I adore second chance romances. Some of the premise didn’t really work for me, and I’m going to talk about that down in the cons section, because it’s hard to explain without mild spoilers.
DX! Seriously, I haven’t laughed that hard at a character in along time. Also, I enjoyed the relationship development between Merritt and Avery.
Okay, so like I said, kind of spoiler-y. Jump down to the conclusion if you don’t want to see it.
Okay, are you still here?
I don’t understand why it was such a big deal that Avery couldn’t come out. She’s hosting a renovation show, not an A-list actor. Even more baffling was that there’s some blogger who was always following her. While that added threat to the situation, it seemed silly, because that dude would have to spend a bunch of money following them from city to city, but for what? To get the scoop on the equivalent of an HGTV star?
That aside, I really enjoyed the book. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it didn’t make sense.
I had a lot of fun reading Worth the Wait and I’d happily read more from this author in the future. This is probably one of those “your mileage may vary” kind of books (especially since it’s a second chance romance, and people tend to love or hate those), but I really enjoyed it and would love to catch up with these characters again later.
Excerpt from Worth the Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Avery walked slowly across the courtyard, past the people enjoying the wine bar and the perfect, eighty-degree twilight. Merritt leaned against a concrete pedestal. Her short, silky black hair fell over her eyes just as it had when she was eighteen. Her dark eyes and dark hair made a striking contrast with her pale skin. She was wearing tuxedo pants, suspenders, and a crisp white shirt that revealed the lace edge of her black bra. She looked at ease in the flock of women in pastel linen suits. Just like always. A half smile played on her lips, saying, I’m better than this, but I don’t care.
Olive, the class president, appeared at Avery’s side, leading her toward Merritt.
“Do you two remember each other? Merritt transferred in our junior year.” Olive fluttered a hand over her frizzy hair. “Merritt Lessing was our alumni speaker two years ago.”
Merritt had always made the Vale girls nervous, and even the straight girls had looked at her at least once and thought, Maybe.
“The famous Avery Crown,” Merritt said, leaning back a little and pushing her hands farther into her pockets. “Fifteen years.” She eased off her pedestal. “It’s been so long. I thought maybe you were in jail.”
“Avery is the star of King and Crown,” Olive exclaimed. “That travel decorating show. You’ve got to have seen it.”
“Oh, I know Avery Crown,” Merritt said.
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Worth the Wait
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781538727034
- Publisher: Forever Yours
Karelia Stetz-Waters Online
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