All or Nothing

All or Nothing (Together #3) - Felice Stevens Originally reviewed at Sinfully.

Finally!! I feel like it’s been so long since we first met Adam Barton in [b:Beyond the Surface|25529001|Beyond the Surface (The Breakfast Club, #1)|Felice Stevens||45316695]. Then he showed up again in [b:Learning to Love|30068688|Learning to Love (The Together series Book 1)|Felice Stevens||49982474] where we met Gideon’s secretive friend and business partner Rico (this story definitely works as a standalone though). I always worry that my expectations are too high when I’m waiting for a particular story, but I can absolutely say it was well worth the wait for these two. Their chemistry jumps off the page from the start and I flew through this book. There is real emotion in the story and Rico and Adam are by turns sweet and super sexy – this maybe the hottest book Felice Stevens has ever written.

Since they met briefly during a fire call at the local synagogue, firefighter Adam Barton has been trying unsuccessfully to get chef/caterer Rico Estevez to notice him. It’s not that Rico hasn’t noticed the sexy red head. Dates and relationships are not Rico’s thing. Anonymous hook-ups work perfectly. He’s focused on his business and other than his family and friends, nothing else is all that important. When Adam finally corners Rico and asks him to meet up he’s surprised at his reaction. The self-assured Rico is virtually tongue-tied. After a smoking hot night, Rico runs off, but Adam won’t give up that easy. Since neither wants a relationship, but both wouldn’t mind a repeat of the night before, they come to a sex-only, just fun, no strings agreement. If you’re a regular romance reader you know how that’s going to turn out.

Adam has a past that haunts him but being with Rico calms him and he feels he can finally start to put things behind him. One particularly bad call at work however brings everything to the surface again, but he can’t really open up to Rico about what happened, even when they’re surrounded by reminders. Rico seems to understand Adam’s needs and the two share a beautiful moment together on a dance floor. I think I let out an actual sigh during that scene.

Rico is so closed off, even his best friend of many years, Gideon doesn’t know a lot about him. Rico could certainly never let his father know who he really is. It’s just easier to keep his life private. Rico’s whole life has been spent living up to his conservative father’s expectations and hopes for him. He yearns for his praise, yet realizes the only time it comes is when he succeeds in business. He just can’t find a way to let go of those expectations and allow himself to get close to someone. When it comes to Adam, Rico knows he’s screwed. He can’t stop thinking of him, he has moments of jealousy and he can see Adam being there for the long run. He realizes his father’s views aren’t going to help things and fears his rejection.

I loved both of these men, even if I did want to shake Rico a few times. Both have pain in their pasts, both hold their family close and both are getting in too deep to even pretend there isn’t more between them. Something finally has to give. Adam wears his heart on his sleeve and as much as he tries to fight it, he recognizes his feelings for Rico and soon he can’t keep quiet any longer even knowing what’s going to happen. The push and pull, the angst and the real feelings kept me reading. These two worked hard for their HEA.

Felice Stevens knocked it out of the park with this one. I couldn't put this story down. There’s plenty of sex (after all that’s what the relationship started as), angst, drama, family issues and romance. The serious moments are balanced out with fun and romance. I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a hard-won HEA with plenty of ups and downs along the way.