Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to socialinteractions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone,painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.
Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help.
Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.
Max wants to find a wife. Unfortunately, he needs to get a date first, which isn't so easy for the town's most dedicated recluse. He loves his job, but working in his basement has half the town joking that he's probably a serial killer. Tori isn't looking for a relationship, but surely helping Max find one couldn't be that hard... and surely it couldn't get that complicated?
This is a makeover romance in reverse, and, in the end, without that much of a makeover. After all, Max is pretty freaking gorgeous to start with. He's a social introvert, though - definitely not your typical hero. Yes, he's possessive and protective, but he hasn't an ounce of confidence beyond his job and finds talking to people pretty stressful. He's a little on the obsessive side, and a lot on the socially awkward side, and this is one of the few books when I've identified with the hero over the heroine. ...Except I don't drink decaf coffee because I genuinely don't understand why it exists.
So yeah, I love him. Which, yes, might be narcissism. But it's so rare to get a hero so imperfectly sexy. Argh. I just love him too much.
Tori is a sweetheart. She sees Max and all his socially awkward mess, watches him fail to pick up at the diner, and determines she's going to help him out. It doesn't take long, though, for her to fall under Max's spell, and things begin to get complicated. Tori can't get over her parents' divorce and refuses to enter into a relationship, so she sabotages her own relationship with Max, believing she's better off to avoid love, than to experience losing it.
Neither can keep their hands off each other, though, so this makeover romance soon becomes a friends with benefits storyline, as Max tries to convince Tori that maybe being in a relationship with him wouldn't be quite so bad. Ah, Tori, listen to the man! He's so gorgeous!
As part of the Kowalski Family series, Max and Tori's romance is set to the backdrop of the beautiful town of Whitford, and we get appearances from many of our favorite Whitford/Kowalski characters. I love the small town family charm of this series, which I thought especially came out in this book with Max becoming absorbed into the town's family, despite his social difficulties. Of course, this is one of those series which you can read in any order, but each book just adds a little more color and love to the entire scene.
I could not have put this book down if I had tried, but the thought never crossed my mind. Shannon Stacey's novels are compulsive reads, without fail, but this one was extra special to me. Not to get over excited or anything, but Falling for Max is my favorite contemporary romance so far this year.
Falling for Max is apparently the final book in The Kowalski Family series - Nooooo! All the books in this series can be read as standalones, but if you want to start at the start, you can find a book bundle of the first three books at Amazon.
Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey is a contemporary romance released by Carina Press on July 29, 2014.
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