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“I love you. And I’m okay with it.” – Ryder Montgomery

I tend to always find immediately which male lead will be my TOP in a series – tend to, cause there are times I’m proven wrong. And while I do enjoy most stories, it’s different when the characters speak to you in a very relatable and likeable level.

Such was the case not only with Ryder, but Hope as well.

Hope Beaumont was the innkeeper Justine Montgomery had hired for the inn her sons built in the series. She was the female version of Owen, the second son, and someone the eldest, Ryder, supposedly disliked at first glance.

Pffft, yeah, right…

Ryder and Hope were the most fitting couple of the series – not that I didn’t expect them to be. Always fighting on small and trivial details, yet, when it came to the important stuff, they surprised even themselves with how well they complimented each other. He was her rock and she was the one refining his details.

As the title suggests, PERFECT.

I really adored the way they kept dancing around each other, and how natural it seemed when they finally got together.

And while Ryder, as a typical male, had trouble understanding where to put his foot down and where to compromise, Hope was laid-back and methodical enough to gently coax him to the right direction – or be a little firmer when she needed to be. She was like his mother in a more OCD-kind-of-way, which was fine, because a man like Ryder would sure as hell be attracted to her type. (first-born sons usually do, it’s the Oedipus Complex and all that…)

And while, on one hand, we have Ryder and all his gruff manliness and sweet, out-of-the-blue moments, we have Hope on the other. A woman with a capital W. Hope wasn’t girly. She was a grown-up female, who knew what she wanted in her life, knew her self-worth, and wasn’t leading the guy on. She wasn’t whiny. She wasn’t bitchy. She was a dignified, proud, and self-assured woman, who didn’t need constant compliments, didn’t throw jealous fits, and didn’t pressure the man into anything he didn’t want.

So, even though I swooned for Ryder – because that was totally expected, anyway – I think what made this book even better was Hope. Hands down one of the best female leads in contemporary romance, and seriously needed after certain failures of heroines from previous reading attempts.

Now that I’m done with this series, I’m taking a small break from my beloved NR, though we all know I never stay away for too long…

“I love you. And I’m okay with it, too.” – Hope Beaumont