By Kristen Ashley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dream Team #4
Publishing Date: November 30,2021
Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Spinning off from the bestselling Dream Man and Rock Chick series, this is the emotional and steamy contemporary romance fans of the Dream Team series have been waiting for!
He’s perfect—but he can’t be hers.
Pepper Hannigan is determined to keep any romance off the table—and out of her bedroom—while her daughter Juno is still young. Sure, a certain handsome commando is thoughtful, funny, and undeniably hot, but Pepper’s had her heart broken before, and she won’t let it happen again. Not to her or her little girl, even if this hero could melt any woman’s resolve.
Augustus “Auggie” Hero can’t deny his attraction to beautiful, warm-hearted Pepper or how much he wants to make a home with her and her little girl, but Pepper’s mixed signals have kept him away. That is, until Juno decides to play matchmaker. Her efforts finally bring Pepper into his arms, but they expose the danger Pepper is in. To protect Pepper and Juno, Auggie will have to live up to his last name and prove happy endings aren’t just for fairy tales.
I wanted to love this book. I really did. Good Kristen Ashley books have been major hits with me in the past. And I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Usually, when I read Kristen Ashley, even if I don’t love the book, it puts me into a Kristen Ashley reread. I go back and revisit some of my favorites because I just love her writing style. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with Dream Keeper.
Honestly, I did like both Auggie and Pepper on their own. At times, I wanted Pepper to get with the program and just let Auggie in already but I understood why she was wary. She’s been burned in the past by her ex and her whole family. The way things played out felt far less dramatic than other Kristen Ashley books. That’s been my complaint throughout this whole series. The heroines are “in danger” but not really. Things just seem to fizzle out instead. It leaves me missing the over the top drama and danger of the Rock Chick series. I wasn’t the biggest fan of family-in-a-cult plot even though it did tie into the overarching plot of the series. This book left that plot open so I guess I’ll expect more books in the future.
My biggest problem with this book was Pepper’s daughter Juno. Well, Juno as the matchmaker between Auggie and Pepper. It was supposed to be cute that she was pushing them together. However, Juno sneaks away and meets with the villain/good guy of the series, Brett Cisco. Instead of telling her mother, Brett gives her a cell phone to hide from Pepper and proceeds with plan how to get Pepper and Auggie together. This is an adult man, communicating with a child on a phone he gave her without her parents’ knowledge. Then Auggie finds out and doesn’t tell Pepper. This made me extremely uncomfortable. And worse, when the truth comes out, the inappropriateness of this isn’t addressed at all.
Honestly, I was just left unsettled and very concerned. The romance between Auggie and Pepper couldn’t erase that feeling.