The Evolution of Us
is just another reason I will continue to jump on every opportunity to read and review Ms. Kelly's books. I adored this standalone second-chance romance, even though I had a couple of 'wtb's near the end. ("want to buys" - nothing serious, just a wishlist really)
Let's start with our main couple.
Holly is tired. Tired of living alone, tired of living with secrets, tired of living across the hall from her ex, Declan... yeah, you saw that correctly. After dealing with their crushing breakup two years earlier, he moved into her building, and won't leave her alone.
She just wants to move on and get over him already. But he won't let it go. There's too much mud they'd have to wade through if they ever got back together, and Holly isn't ready for any of that. She figures Declan isn't either, and the best way to deal with it is to stay on course. Push him away and keep focused forwards.
Declan knows he has a lot to overcome if he wants Holly back. The main stumbling block is his parade of bimbos - a lot of them strutted right past her door. Wearing her down is his main strategy, that and using their friends and his YouTube viewers for advice. Okay, so he doesn't have a great
plan, but he's trying.
His opening finally comes via a hinky elevator, bottled water, and chocolate chip cookies. Declan might be charming, but he's gonna have to bring it hardcore in order to win Holly's heart back. And hopefully he'll get her to open up about whatever she's been keeping hidden from everyone.
As I just alluded to, there's a bit of a mystery that unfolds purposefully and methodically over the course of the entire book. It's shown to us via past and present flashes, and it's done really nicely. Not drawn out too much, but not given to us in an infodump.
I also love the dual POV format along with the little flashbacks. Getting to see the story from both sides makes for a much more balanced perspective. There's definitely the whole miscommunication
thing that works against them the entire way - so those things have to be discussed at some point. It's getting there that seems to be the issue.
Baxter and Sage were great BFFs. They were "split up" in the breakup, but kept in touch. I thought the dynamic between Declan and Baxter particularly was touching and lovely. Especially in the High-School era moments.
Overall, this was a great standalone story. Unlike The Illusion Series
, this book is entirely self-contained, which means less character development. It's not a bad thing, I just found myself wanting a little more content near the end of the book. I mean that in a complementary way - I just *wanted more* of it!
I give The Evolution of Us
Four solid "sexy man-kiss" stars.