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Back in the Burbs

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Ever have one of those days where life just plain sucks? Welcome to my last three months—ever since I caught my can’t-be-soon-enough ex-husband cheating with his paralegal. I’m thirty-five years old, and I’ve lost my NYC apartment, my job, my money, and frankly, my dignity. But the final heartache in the suck sandwich of my life? My great-aunt Maggie died. The only family m Ever have one of those days where life just plain sucks? Welcome to my last three months—ever since I caught my can’t-be-soon-enough ex-husband cheating with his paralegal. I’m thirty-five years old, and I’ve lost my NYC apartment, my job, my money, and frankly, my dignity. But the final heartache in the suck sandwich of my life? My great-aunt Maggie died. The only family member who’s ever gotten me. Even after death, though, she’s helping me get back up. She’s willed me the keys to a house in the burbs, of all places, and dared me to grab life by the family jewels. Well, I’ve got the vise grips already in hand (my ex should take note) and I’m ready to fight for my life again. Too bad that bravado only lasts as long as it takes to drive into Huckleberry Hills. And see the house. There are forty-seven separate HOA violations, and I feel them all in my bones. Honestly, I’m surprised no one’s “accidentally” torched the house yet. I want to, and I’ve only been standing in front of it for five minutes. But then my hot, grumpy neighbor tells me to mow the lawn first and I’m just...done. Done with men too sexy for their own good and done with anyone telling me what to do ever again. First rule of surviving the burbs? There is nothing that YouTube and a glass of wine can’t conquer.


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Ever have one of those days where life just plain sucks? Welcome to my last three months—ever since I caught my can’t-be-soon-enough ex-husband cheating with his paralegal. I’m thirty-five years old, and I’ve lost my NYC apartment, my job, my money, and frankly, my dignity. But the final heartache in the suck sandwich of my life? My great-aunt Maggie died. The only family m Ever have one of those days where life just plain sucks? Welcome to my last three months—ever since I caught my can’t-be-soon-enough ex-husband cheating with his paralegal. I’m thirty-five years old, and I’ve lost my NYC apartment, my job, my money, and frankly, my dignity. But the final heartache in the suck sandwich of my life? My great-aunt Maggie died. The only family member who’s ever gotten me. Even after death, though, she’s helping me get back up. She’s willed me the keys to a house in the burbs, of all places, and dared me to grab life by the family jewels. Well, I’ve got the vise grips already in hand (my ex should take note) and I’m ready to fight for my life again. Too bad that bravado only lasts as long as it takes to drive into Huckleberry Hills. And see the house. There are forty-seven separate HOA violations, and I feel them all in my bones. Honestly, I’m surprised no one’s “accidentally” torched the house yet. I want to, and I’ve only been standing in front of it for five minutes. But then my hot, grumpy neighbor tells me to mow the lawn first and I’m just...done. Done with men too sexy for their own good and done with anyone telling me what to do ever again. First rule of surviving the burbs? There is nothing that YouTube and a glass of wine can’t conquer.

30 review for Back in the Burbs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Storiesandcoffee

    Why am I such a sucker for a "hot mess thirty-something" redemption story? Back in the Burbs is a laugh-out-loud romcom with a floundering middle-aged divorcee, a charming love interest, and enough amusing antics to put a smile on your face. But don't let its adorable cover and quirky synopsis fool you, there's a lot of emotional baggage here to sift through as well, such as emotional and verbal abuse from an ex-spouse, an eccentric aunt with a hoarding (and mental health) problem, and adultery. Why am I such a sucker for a "hot mess thirty-something" redemption story? Back in the Burbs is a laugh-out-loud romcom with a floundering middle-aged divorcee, a charming love interest, and enough amusing antics to put a smile on your face. But don't let its adorable cover and quirky synopsis fool you, there's a lot of emotional baggage here to sift through as well, such as emotional and verbal abuse from an ex-spouse, an eccentric aunt with a hoarding (and mental health) problem, and adultery. I got teary-eyed quite a few times in between laughs due to some unexpectedly poignant scenes, so be prepared to experience a full range of emotions while reading this one. Back in the Burbs started out as a strong 5 star read for me, but somewhere around the middle, the plot did get a bit convoluted with excess drama I'm not really sure added anything to the story. The ending did wrap up rather quickly, as well. I definitely wanted to see certain plot points conclude with more insight and detail. Still, I did really enjoy this book---mostly because of Mr. Nick H. It's a good reminder that it's never too late to start over, and second chances are priceless. 3.5/5 Thank you Valentine PR for the advanced copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars. Back in the Burbs , a new collaboration between Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn, is a fun, sexy, emotional rom-com about finding the strength to start over and take control of your life. Mallory hasn’t had a great run of luck lately. Her marriage has ended, she lost her job (never a good idea to work with/for your husband), and she has had to move back in with her parents, who keep denigrating her and make her believe she’s a failure. When it turns out that her beloved aunt Maggie left M 4.5 stars. Back in the Burbs , a new collaboration between Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn, is a fun, sexy, emotional rom-com about finding the strength to start over and take control of your life. Mallory hasn’t had a great run of luck lately. Her marriage has ended, she lost her job (never a good idea to work with/for your husband), and she has had to move back in with her parents, who keep denigrating her and make her believe she’s a failure. When it turns out that her beloved aunt Maggie left Mallory her house in her will, Mallory is floored. The house, with at least 47 HOA violations, is in desperate need of an immense amount of work, and it certainly makes sense to sell it, especially since Mallory has no money for repairs. But despite everyone telling her what to do, for the first time in her life she does what she wants, and moves in to the house. Of course, the house is even worse than she imagines, and she isn’t prepared for the (incredibly sexy) neighbor across the street to immediately start harassing her to cut the grass. But little by little, Mallory starts to find her way, even when more bombshells explode in her face. (A hunky young handyman doesn't hurt matters either.) How do you find the courage to start over when so many people—including your family—tell you that you can’t? How do you allow yourself to trust again when your trust and your self-worth have been so damaged? Are you willing to let a good thing pass you by because you’re too afraid of the risk? I really enjoyed Back in the Burbs and read it in one sitting. It combines all of my favorite elements of rom-coms with family dysfunction and a little bit of steam, and some great characters. I’d go back to the burbs again!! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  3. 5 out of 5

    RateTheRomance

    BACK IN THE BURBS is a super funny and cute Enemies To Lovers romance! Mallory is such a great female lead! She is quirky, hilarious, hard working, and trying desperately to "find herself" in her 30s after a 10-year marriage in which she gave up everything for her spouse and his needs. I loved the character growth we see in Mallory as she starts to stand up for herself with her controlling parents, her ex husband, and her grumpy neighbor. And Nick is such a swoony grump! You will fall in love wi BACK IN THE BURBS is a super funny and cute Enemies To Lovers romance! Mallory is such a great female lead! She is quirky, hilarious, hard working, and trying desperately to "find herself" in her 30s after a 10-year marriage in which she gave up everything for her spouse and his needs. I loved the character growth we see in Mallory as she starts to stand up for herself with her controlling parents, her ex husband, and her grumpy neighbor. And Nick is such a swoony grump! You will fall in love with him as his rigid rule-keeping snark begins to thaw and we see the great guy he is. This book feels like a fairly light read, even as it covers some heavier topics like mental illness and love after loss. And there are so many laugh-out-loud moments that you never feel like this book is overly sad. This is a slow burn that totally pays off with the epic steamy scenes! These two are Melt-Yo-Kindle Hot! This book was a great read with lots of humor, some serious moments, lots of steam, and a perfectly sweet HEA. RATING:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ STEAM LEVEL: Rated R TRIGGERS: cheating ex, fatal car accident, hoarding disorder, gaslighting, death of spouse, death of grandparent, secret family as result of cheating FEELS-O-METER: 2/5 *Covers some serious topics, but still a light read. I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. BUY IT HERE: https://amzn.to/3rllYhu (aff.) 👇🏻HANG OUT WITH ME HERE!👇🏻 INSTAGRAM | YEAR OF SMUT CHALLENGE

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    The best rom-com of 2021. No I take that back the best rom-com I have ever read. I loved everything about this book. Mallory and Nick are the highlight of this book. Hot guy who listens, with a big heart need I say more. This is the only book you need to be reading this spring. I was blown away the last few rom-coms I have read were duds I was not happy at all but I LOVED everything about back in the burbs. Grab your copy of this 5 star two times right away. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The Mary R The best rom-com of 2021. No I take that back the best rom-com I have ever read. I loved everything about this book. Mallory and Nick are the highlight of this book. Hot guy who listens, with a big heart need I say more. This is the only book you need to be reading this spring. I was blown away the last few rom-coms I have read were duds I was not happy at all but I LOVED everything about back in the burbs. Grab your copy of this 5 star two times right away. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin Lewis

    4.5 Star Review of Back In The Burbs by Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn I have read several books by Avery Flynn but Tracy Wolff is a new author to me and I have no idea why that is. From the first to the last chapter one I was fully invested in the story that Ms. Wolff and Ms.Flynn wove. The writing was strong and the story flowed well. I have no idea which author wrote what or where one finished and the other took over, such was the ease of their writing. It was humorous, emotional, with characters 4.5 Star Review of Back In The Burbs by Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn I have read several books by Avery Flynn but Tracy Wolff is a new author to me and I have no idea why that is. From the first to the last chapter one I was fully invested in the story that Ms. Wolff and Ms.Flynn wove. The writing was strong and the story flowed well. I have no idea which author wrote what or where one finished and the other took over, such was the ease of their writing. It was humorous, emotional, with characters you cannot help but fall in love with. Inheriting her aunts house holds the key to Mallory getting her life back on track after a horrendous few months. After meeting her extremely grumpy and far from welcoming new neighbour Nick things don’t seem to be improving for Mallory. However once Mallory and Nick got to know one another the story heated up. As their relationship developed Mallory grew so much and it was heart warming to watch her blossom. Back In The Burbs is an enemies to lovers story and was an entertaining read that ticked the boxes for me. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Zimmerman

    Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own. I haven’t met a Tracy Wolff or Avery Flynn book I didn’t like, so when I heard that they co-wrote a rom-com together I jumped on the ability to grab an arc. I am thoroughly glad I did. I haven’t felt so many emotions reading a rom-com since I read The Hating Game. This was that good. I fell in love with Nick pretty fiercely after realizing he was so similar to Joshua Templeman. What a fantastic lov Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own. I haven’t met a Tracy Wolff or Avery Flynn book I didn’t like, so when I heard that they co-wrote a rom-com together I jumped on the ability to grab an arc. I am thoroughly glad I did. I haven’t felt so many emotions reading a rom-com since I read The Hating Game. This was that good. I fell in love with Nick pretty fiercely after realizing he was so similar to Joshua Templeman. What a fantastic love interest! As for Mallory, the MC, I loved her ability to be vulnerable, admit her flaws and still stand strong. This was two very well crafted characters with a beautiful story that happened to bring them into each other’s lives. I loved everything about this book. From the characters, to the plot, to the seamless ability that Avery and Tracy created to weave their writing together. I loved the concept of a divorcée finding herself and figuring it out as she went. It really was a fun journey from start to finish. It sucked you in and gave you everything you could want and more! If you need a feel good, emotional, but heartwarming story- pick up this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathreadya

    I LOVED this romantic comedy book! This is the perfect quick vacation read! Avery Flynn and Tracey Wolff have created a fabulous mix of comedy and personal growth, along with some super steamy enemies to lovers! The witty banter in this book is on point, and helps keep the action moving. The characters are phenomenal. Mallory is the perfect lead, broken and downtrodden when we first meet her, but still having that spark of bravery that leads her to tackle renovating her Great-Aunt's house after s I LOVED this romantic comedy book! This is the perfect quick vacation read! Avery Flynn and Tracey Wolff have created a fabulous mix of comedy and personal growth, along with some super steamy enemies to lovers! The witty banter in this book is on point, and helps keep the action moving. The characters are phenomenal. Mallory is the perfect lead, broken and downtrodden when we first meet her, but still having that spark of bravery that leads her to tackle renovating her Great-Aunt's house after she is willed it. I think we can all relate to Mallory, at least a little, by having been in a relationship with someone who made us give more then we should have. I love how she slowly gains her confidence back, and her journey is entertaining and full of hope! The male lead is the perfect counter to Mallory, neat and organized to her sporadic and messy life. I loved seeing them interact, and when they finally get together it's well worth the wait. The supporting character's are fabulous too, from Mallory's parents, to Sarah, and even great-aunt Maggie clearly made her mark in the story, though she's passed on. This is a fun, warm, hilarious, and ultimately empowering romantic comedy, full of wine, vibrators, HOA's from hell, and lots of heart. Thank you Entangled Teen for this ebook arc in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (AndKellyReads)

    How CUTE is the cover for Back in the Burbs? It honestly makes me long for summer when I can just lay outside and enjoy the sunshine. This book was a bit of hit and miss for me, and for the most part, I did enjoy the storyline. (I also absolutely 100000% loved the hero and would like to keep him with me at all times, but we’ll circle back to that.) Back in the Burbs is a cute, funny, romcom with a 35-year-old heroine (finally!) trying to pick up the pieces of her life and get back on track, and How CUTE is the cover for Back in the Burbs? It honestly makes me long for summer when I can just lay outside and enjoy the sunshine. This book was a bit of hit and miss for me, and for the most part, I did enjoy the storyline. (I also absolutely 100000% loved the hero and would like to keep him with me at all times, but we’ll circle back to that.) Back in the Burbs is a cute, funny, romcom with a 35-year-old heroine (finally!) trying to pick up the pieces of her life and get back on track, and it sucked me in right from the start. I was so excited to be reading about an older (...ish, I mean I’m close in age to the heroine for once but I refuse to call her old) heroine like Mallory that honestly I needed nothing more to start reading. It was also hella funny, and I love when authors can land subtle jokes really really well. (Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff nailed it, don’t worry). Mallory, overall, was pretty great. She was funny, she was relatable, and she was a hot mess, but she was still a delight. She had been so beaten down that you wanted her to succeed and so you cheered for her every time she started to stand up for herself. Her tête-à-têtes with Nick, Mister Growly “Measures the Grass”, were absolutely delightful and hilarious and I found myself audibly snorting a few times because the image in my head was honestly just so funny. Their little battles, in addition to the slowwww process of getting to know one another, was one of the best parts of this novel. Those moments were sweet, they were funny, and they were, a few times, kinda heart-squeezing, and those are my favorite. Back in the Burbs was a really solid and well put together story for about, 65-70% of the book. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but for some reason around that mark things went downhill. I absolutely support a heroine finding herself, but for some reason Mallory became a little too self-absorbed and “woe is me” and I know she went through a lot so she needed time to process, but she was too busy acting like a teenager than a thirty-something year old woman who knew what communication was. It became frustrating watching her continually make certain choices when a lot of her problems could have been solved by being honest, not only with herself, but with the people around her. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to get too far into it and reach spoiler territory, but I was disappointed in the added (unnecessary) drama of it all. One of my other issues with this book was that you could tell (more times than I want to admit) that it was written by two different authors. There were a number of continuity and consistency errors that I couldn’t overlook because a few of them actually impacted the story and what I thought was happening because the plot shifted quickly and it was a bit like whiplash. I wish like hell those hadn’t been in the story because I was struggling enough with where the plot was heading that those little errors just made things slightly worse. I think it also impacted the romance of the story, because that fell flat as well. There was so much focus on Mallory and how she was improving upon herself that the romantic side of this book fell to the backburner and then when it did happen it just kind of … happened. I’m all for insta-love, but this wasn’t quite believable because for most of the story they just felt more like friends/neighbors than anything else, and the transition was a bit abrupt. But Nick. Sweet, sweet Nick Holloway. Talk about a book boyfriend! That man more than made up for Mallory’s faults. The gooiest cinnamon roll of a man with the grumpiest outer shell, Nick was patient, he was kind, he was a neighbor with the best intentions and a hidden superhero cape, and I adored him. He found humor in Mallory when she was completely and unapologetically herself, and honestly, what more could you want? He was an absolute treasure and I’ll probably be gushing about him for the next forever. I love Nick Holloway. Overall, this story was cute. I did (for the most part) really have a lot of fun with Mallory. And I love that she was a constant work in progress and doing her best to not repeat her past mistakes. She was endearing and she got to spend time with Nick who, did I mention already I love? Because I love Nick. I know this book is being very well received, and I encourage you to pick it up if you love to laugh and enjoy a story with more mature characters. Problems aside, I’m happy to have met Mallory and, again, I really and truly loved Nick. Very much. {Many thanks to Entangled Publishing for my review copy of this story!}

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    I seriously need a good laugh, and Back in the Burbs provided all the laugh attacks I needed this past week. I love Mallory, our main character because she's a hot mess who doesn't yet realize her own worth. Her journey takes a wild detour when in the middle of divorce proceedings from her cheating ex, she winds up inheriting her Great Aunt's Maggie's house. Having to bulldoze through her Aunt's clutter and collections is quite the challenge, but doesn't compare to getting the multiple Home Owne I seriously need a good laugh, and Back in the Burbs provided all the laugh attacks I needed this past week. I love Mallory, our main character because she's a hot mess who doesn't yet realize her own worth. Her journey takes a wild detour when in the middle of divorce proceedings from her cheating ex, she winds up inheriting her Great Aunt's Maggie's house. Having to bulldoze through her Aunt's clutter and collections is quite the challenge, but doesn't compare to getting the multiple Home Owner Association's violations. Cutting grass doesn't seem to be a major task until Mallory manages to do it in such an epic way, I am still laughing over the scene she created! Characters to love (Mallory and Nick) and hate (Mallory's jerky soon to be ex who really is evil) combine with plenty of opportunities to laugh in this rom-com that has me smiling. Who wouldn't want to read a book that has you laughing your head off out loud? What has me sad? The fact that Maggie is someone I want for my very own Great Aunt and I can't have her!! Authors Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolf have just the right amount of magic in Back in the Burbs. Magic, you ask? Yes, magic! Chemistry, spice, and comedy combined with interesting and realistic characters (Mallory's parents, her new friend Sarah...).... I am taking all the liberties here by calling that magic! We all know that the authors that have it are rare and should be praised from the mountaintops when they nail a really good novel! This is the case with Back in the Burbs...perfect magic!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Frances

    I'll admit that when I first came across this book, I hesitated a bit. The last couple of rom-coms I've read haven't been that great, but the blurb intrigued me enough to give it a try. Now I'm glad I did. I absolutely loved this story! The characters were well-rounded and interesting and the connection between them was obvious. I enjoyed Nick and Mallory's banter, their candid conversations and the funny moments the authors sprinkled throughout. But what really stood out for me in this story wa I'll admit that when I first came across this book, I hesitated a bit. The last couple of rom-coms I've read haven't been that great, but the blurb intrigued me enough to give it a try. Now I'm glad I did. I absolutely loved this story! The characters were well-rounded and interesting and the connection between them was obvious. I enjoyed Nick and Mallory's banter, their candid conversations and the funny moments the authors sprinkled throughout. But what really stood out for me in this story was how well the characters were developed and the range of emotions brought to the page. As the story progressed, the reader got to experience every facet of Mallery's growth, from a woman unsure of herself and her future to a confident professional who recognized her abilities and her own worth. And I loved that Nick recognize that in her too. Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff did an amazing job in bringing forth a realistic romance with flawed characters who eventually heal from their past through hard labor, old music albums and a little wine. All in all, a fantastic read about a pair of individuals trying their hand at a new start and where humor, banter and the connection between the characters took center stage.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan Stillwell (queenbee_reads)

    Thank you so much to Entangled Publishing for sending me Back in the Burbs by Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn. I loved the premise and theme of this book, and the story was wonderful, but it read a more like “women’s fiction” (yeah I don’t love that term either) to me. It dragged a bit at times but the humor and heart were there in large doses. It’s so nice to read books where women in their thirties are featured as the heroines and champion their own causes. Mallory is in the middle of a nasty divorc Thank you so much to Entangled Publishing for sending me Back in the Burbs by Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn. I loved the premise and theme of this book, and the story was wonderful, but it read a more like “women’s fiction” (yeah I don’t love that term either) to me. It dragged a bit at times but the humor and heart were there in large doses. It’s so nice to read books where women in their thirties are featured as the heroines and champion their own causes. Mallory is in the middle of a nasty divorce and quite honestly has had it with pretty much all men and I think that’s something we can all relate to, ya hear? Highly recommend this one for people who read more straight fiction but would like to get into romance. This is a good “split the difference” place to start in my opinion. 3.5⭐️ 2🔥

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa (bookscallmyheart)

    Mallory’s life sucks right now. After catching her soul-sucker of a husband with another woman, she is jobless, homeless, broke, and dealing with a nasty divorce. She then discovers that her eccentric Aunt Maggie left her a house in the suburbs and Mallory decides that this is the opportunity for her fresh start. The only problem is that her Aunt Maggie was a closeted hoarder and her house has racked up dozens of HOA violations. Mallory will have to fight tooth and nail for the fresh start of he Mallory’s life sucks right now. After catching her soul-sucker of a husband with another woman, she is jobless, homeless, broke, and dealing with a nasty divorce. She then discovers that her eccentric Aunt Maggie left her a house in the suburbs and Mallory decides that this is the opportunity for her fresh start. The only problem is that her Aunt Maggie was a closeted hoarder and her house has racked up dozens of HOA violations. Mallory will have to fight tooth and nail for the fresh start of her dreams! Back in the Burbs is a delightful and fun romp of a rom-com! I always love enemies-to-lovers and opposites attract, but I loved it even more with Mallory and Nick in their picture-perfect suburban neighborhood. There was so much witty banter and hilarious situations (i.e. a trunk full of sex toys) that I was laughing the entire time, but once the steam hit I was sold! There was a secondary storyline that kinda threw me off a little, but it didn’t take too much away from my enjoyment of the story! I definitely recommend this one for a funny, palate-cleanser type of romance! Perfect for fans of Nina Bocci, Sarah Adams, and Sarah Morgenthaler. Thank you so much to Entangled Publishing and Netgalley for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    This was a fun story, with some interesting characters. A good read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Auburn

    Absolutely loved this read. Binge read it in one day and can't tell you how many times I laughed, swore out loud, and cheered. It's been a long time since I cared enough about a book to do that. Highly recommend if you love adult romance that has some tough topics but really is just about a woman trying to learn from her past and become strong. Content warning: cheating, some mentions of death, mentions of emotional abuse Absolutely loved this read. Binge read it in one day and can't tell you how many times I laughed, swore out loud, and cheered. It's been a long time since I cared enough about a book to do that. Highly recommend if you love adult romance that has some tough topics but really is just about a woman trying to learn from her past and become strong. Content warning: cheating, some mentions of death, mentions of emotional abuse

  15. 5 out of 5

    Riding Reviewer

    I finished this book this morning and I'm still reeling. I literally was crying then burst out laughing near the end of the book. That's the kind of story Back in the Burbs is. As they say, it has "all the feels". Mallory is a mess. She's inherited a house that's an even bigger mess. Mallory's story is an age old retelling of the girl lets herself be the least important person in her own life. It's appalling to see how Mallory has let Karl run her down. He's taken over her whole life until she's I finished this book this morning and I'm still reeling. I literally was crying then burst out laughing near the end of the book. That's the kind of story Back in the Burbs is. As they say, it has "all the feels". Mallory is a mess. She's inherited a house that's an even bigger mess. Mallory's story is an age old retelling of the girl lets herself be the least important person in her own life. It's appalling to see how Mallory has let Karl run her down. He's taken over her whole life until she's almost ready to sign divorce papers leaving her destitute and homeless. She believes his crap about not deserving anything. One of my favorite tropes is watching a woman become a lioness and we see that with Mallory. Nick, sigh, I want a Nick. He's big and sexy and yet so very kind and caring. He's befriended an old lady and kept an eye on her helping when needed, which is frequently. He's smart and funny. I just can't say enough about him. He quickly takes Mallory under his wing the way he had her great-aunt. He's helping her get her house in order, cleaned out and repaired. Like me, Mallory can't help but start falling for him. While Mallory's growth and self-awakening isn't a unique tale, the means of getting there are endlessly entertaining. There were many literally laugh out loud moments. There was also lots of stress and intense moments. Wonderful characters fill Mallory's life. I wish I'd known Aunt Maggie even more. She's that great fun relative everyone needs at least one of. And Nick's mom? OMG, I want one of her too. I can't recommend this book enough. I know everyone has different tastes but I just can't imagine anyone not loving this story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Come_read_with_me_

    This book is funny, sweet, sexy and filled with drama. Mallory inherits her aunts very old house. However, she is determined to get her life back on track after she finds her husband cheating on her. Starting with renovating the house. Nick, her new neighbour, doesn't offer his warmest welcome when she arrives in the suburbs. This enemies to lovers is such a perfect read. I laughed so hard. I loved most of the characters. Mallory's parents were a work of art and not in a good way. In saying that This book is funny, sweet, sexy and filled with drama. Mallory inherits her aunts very old house. However, she is determined to get her life back on track after she finds her husband cheating on her. Starting with renovating the house. Nick, her new neighbour, doesn't offer his warmest welcome when she arrives in the suburbs. This enemies to lovers is such a perfect read. I laughed so hard. I loved most of the characters. Mallory's parents were a work of art and not in a good way. In saying that I loved Mallorys development throughout the book, she became stronger in herself and stood up for her beliefs. I really enjoyed this book and I want to thank the authors and entangled publishing for a copy of this earc in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sapphyria

    Back in the Burbs is a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy with some drama thrown in for good measure. The main character, Mallory, found her successful lawyer husband eating lunch in the downtown region of his paralegal and their impending divorce has stripped her of just about everything. She slinks back to her parents' in New Jersey and that's not the worst thing. Her favorite aunt, Maggie, passed away. The only silver-lining in this dumpster fire of Mallory's life is the house Maggie bequeathed t Back in the Burbs is a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy with some drama thrown in for good measure. The main character, Mallory, found her successful lawyer husband eating lunch in the downtown region of his paralegal and their impending divorce has stripped her of just about everything. She slinks back to her parents' in New Jersey and that's not the worst thing. Her favorite aunt, Maggie, passed away. The only silver-lining in this dumpster fire of Mallory's life is the house Maggie bequeathed to her. Until she gets to the house. The dumpster fire just increased in size and intensity. Determined to make a go of things, even without a job, or money, Mallory is convinced her life is going to change. She can take care of herself and doesn't need anyone - especially a man - to help her. She clings to that sentiment as she wades through a massive number of HOA infractions, warnings, and threats (firmly cementing the fact that I could never live where an HOA exists). She clings to that sentiment after meeting her uptight neighbor with a thing for the rules. She clings to that sentiment until...well, she doesn't. It's a hard pill to swallow when she realizes that asking for help or having help offered is a whole lot different than being told what to do or having things done for you with purely selfish motives in mind. Her soon-to-be ex-husband did a number on Mallory over the past 10 years. The authors did a fantastic job describing a broken woman who did everything in her marriage to keep the peace, while the man (and I use that term loosely) continued to take advantage. Mallory is great and I found her easy to relate to and completely likable. Mallory's inner monologues were brilliantly written, realistic, and snarky. Nick is equally great, and I loved how the authors developed him. The interactions between Mallory and Nick begin strained but evolve into something more. Both have baggage and I loved watching them explore and learn about each other. They have chemistry from the start, and I love how it was explored. The secondary characters, especially Sarah and Nick's parents, were amazing, as well. In true Avery Flynn fashion, this book has so much snark and wit and I enjoyed every single minute. I love the co-writing of Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff. Both authors top my favorites and must-read lists and together they created a masterpiece in the contemporary romance genre. The authors created a fun story with excellence characters who are full of life, personality, ambition, and emotion. They brought out the emotions of the characters in a way that the reader will run the gamut with them. The book is perfectly paced, written well, and the setting and world building expertly descripted and set up. I read this book in one day because once I started, I was hooked. I was provided a copy of this book to review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Living My Best Book Life

    Back in the Burbs is a must-read contemporary romance full of heartbreak, laughs, love, and lots of HOA violations. Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff knock it out of the park with this unputdownable read. When I found out that two of my favorite authors were joining forces to write a book, I was ECSTATIC! I also knew that I needed to read it as soon as I could. So, when I got the opportunity to read an ARC I dove in. I was so captivated by the story of a woman, Mallory, who has lived a life where she h Back in the Burbs is a must-read contemporary romance full of heartbreak, laughs, love, and lots of HOA violations. Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff knock it out of the park with this unputdownable read. When I found out that two of my favorite authors were joining forces to write a book, I was ECSTATIC! I also knew that I needed to read it as soon as I could. So, when I got the opportunity to read an ARC I dove in. I was so captivated by the story of a woman, Mallory, who has lived a life where she has always put her husband first and had to pick up the pieces because of his cheating ways. Readers will see pretty quickly how strong and determined Mallory. She is so easy to like because she feels like she could be one of my best friends. So, when she is dealing with her horrible and douche of a husband and their divorce it is easy to root for Mallory. Her life is not going as planned and things get worse when she learns that her Aunt Maggie has passed away. That was about the only person in her family that she felt like she could be open and honest with. Her aunt always looked out for her and still proved to be doing just that when she leaves her house to Mallory. This looks like the perfect opportunity for her to start over in Jersey. Mallory is back in the burbs and knows it will be a challenge hearing about all the work that is needed to fix up the house along with the countless number of HOA violations. She is overwhelmed and her hot neighbor, Nick, isn't helping things. He keeps nagging her about repairs and mowing her lawn. To say that they don't get off on the right foot would be an understatement. But oh I just love an enemies to lovers trope. I loved how their relationship changed so much throughout the book. In the beginning, they barely speak, and as time goes on and they get to know each other better you really see how perfect they could be together. Nick is a lawyer just like her ex and she does NOT want a repeat of that relationship. But Nick is a big ole softie. He is caring and will always help when he can. They both share their kind hearts and sense of humor and the authors showcase a beautiful relationship between the two. I think readers will fall in love with Nick and root for him and Mallory. I give Back in the Burbs 5 stars. I could go on and on about this book because it was just everything you want in a romance. The plot was unique, the chemistry between Nick and Mallory is sizzling, their sexual tension could be cut with a knife, and there is the perfect amount of humor to keep you laughing over and over again. It is such a satisfying read that left me smiling, swooning, and laughing. I think this duo should definitely continue their partnership for a few more books because this one is sensational.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wendy'sThoughts

    3.5 Adjusting To The Plan Stars * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free-A Quick Review It s not every day you have to deal with getting your cheating husband to become your ex, somehow now not having your NYC apartment or money or job. All of these things have just taken place front and center in Mallory's life. And to add more pain and confusion, her Great Aunt Maggie, the only person on this earth who got her, has passed away. Yet, with this happening, it is like Maggie is reaching out to tell Mallory, things wi 3.5 Adjusting To The Plan Stars * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free-A Quick Review It s not every day you have to deal with getting your cheating husband to become your ex, somehow now not having your NYC apartment or money or job. All of these things have just taken place front and center in Mallory's life. And to add more pain and confusion, her Great Aunt Maggie, the only person on this earth who got her, has passed away. Yet, with this happening, it is like Maggie is reaching out to tell Mallory, things will work out, I've got a plan for you...I am giving you my house and you can re-invent yourself there. Mallory decides to take Great Aunt Maggie's offer and even with the caveat Maggie threw in of it "needing a little work", Mallory is ready to take it on. Little did Mallory realize what was about to happen... She was going to go toe to toe with the bane of all home powers, the dreaded HOA. Yes, those people who like to make 67,000 rules over the stupidest things. She also didn't know the cute guy next door would be someone who likes rules and would point out all the things that needed to be done at their first meeting. This was a fun, sweet, humorous, and heartfelt RomCom that also shared some real stuff about life and the people we love. Not everything we think about our loved ones is what happening...sometimes they may need a helping hand with things but don't want to ask. The life lesson is to reach out and make sure there is no judgment in our offers of assistance. Back in the Burbs https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Moldovan

    This book has a little bit of everything - sweet moments, a little bit of steam, lots of hilarity, emotional scenes, a jerk of an ex, cute pets, and heart squeezing love. Mallory recently left her husband of 10 years after walking in on him having sex with his assistant. Mallory was also the office manager at her husband’s law firm - so she lost her marriage, job and home all in one fell swoop. She is thrown a lifeline when her recently deceased eccentric Aunt Maggie leaves Mallory her house in This book has a little bit of everything - sweet moments, a little bit of steam, lots of hilarity, emotional scenes, a jerk of an ex, cute pets, and heart squeezing love. Mallory recently left her husband of 10 years after walking in on him having sex with his assistant. Mallory was also the office manager at her husband’s law firm - so she lost her marriage, job and home all in one fell swoop. She is thrown a lifeline when her recently deceased eccentric Aunt Maggie leaves Mallory her house in the burbs. Mallory decides fixing her Aunt’s house, with its countless HOA violations and rooms packed with the evidence of Maggie’s hoarding, is the way to take back her life and her sanity. Nick is a lawyer who lives across the street from Aunt Maggie’s house and immediately gets on Mallory’s bad side at their first meeting by telling her to mow the overgrown lawn. Despite first impressions, Nick is a good guy who helps people, including offering Mallory a job in his law firm as their temporary office manager while their regular one is on maternity leave. Thus begins the intertwining of their lives. There’s a lot going on in Mallory’s life and in her relationships and it seems every time Mallory gets a handle on her new reality something else pops up to upset her apple cart and send her floundering once again. The book is only from Mallory’s point of view so we are not privy to Nick’s thoughts and feelings - only Mallory’s observations and assumptions of what Nick is thinking and feeling. On their way to their HEA, Mallory must deal with her issues, her baggage, and her past choices - in her relationships and career - in order to find her personal happy and in order to build a strong, healthy and respectful relationship with Nick. Mallory struggles and shows a lot of growth in the process as the story unfolds. I could feel Mallory’s struggle with feeling like a hot mess, wanting to blame said mess on everyone but herself, and wanting to just wall herself away from any possibility of future pain. She is so relatable and it was heart warming to see her navigate through the morass of her life. Adding in the laugh out loud scenes made this a great story of finding yourself and your new normal after a nasty divorce. With Back in the Burbs, Avery Flynn again proves she a master of sweet, funny, swoon worthy tales

  21. 4 out of 5

    MC

    Goodreads really needs to get with the program and give us a half star. 4.5/5 Ok I’m going to start by saying that this is an ARC I read but the ending (pre epilogue) was a bit weird and goofy but maybe I’m just naturally averse to PDA in front of parental units. 🤷🏻‍♀️ go for it if that’s your thing but it gives me the awkward turtle. Anyhow this book was ADDICTING. I mean, I had a hard time putting it down so I could sleep. The whole concept appealed to me—it reminded me vaguely of the Alice Cla Goodreads really needs to get with the program and give us a half star. 4.5/5 Ok I’m going to start by saying that this is an ARC I read but the ending (pre epilogue) was a bit weird and goofy but maybe I’m just naturally averse to PDA in front of parental units. 🤷🏻‍♀️ go for it if that’s your thing but it gives me the awkward turtle. Anyhow this book was ADDICTING. I mean, I had a hard time putting it down so I could sleep. The whole concept appealed to me—it reminded me vaguely of the Alice Clayton book Mai Tai’d Up or something like that from her cocktail series where a girl inherits a house and the historical registry guy is on her case. I loved that book so when Entangled Publishing was like, how about this beauty about a soon to be divorcee who inherits her aunts old house and gets on the nerves of the HOA I was like, SIGN ME UP BITCHES THIS IS MY JAM. And it was. This book had humor, great banter, sexy fun times, solid side characters (I was kind of pulling for the sister and the contractor to become a thing but I digress), and just general smooth reading. It was utterly digestible. It went down smooth. I am a huge fan of Tracy Wolff’s Crave series and I think they have a similar readability, which I think is a huge benefit (and partially why books like Twilight were such a huge success—I can’t explain fifty shades of grey however because the writing was actually terrible and full of britishism even tho I still kind of loved it but again I DIGRESS). The story itself is just solid. The chemistry is there. The shitty ex is definitely there in a bad way but an oh so good way for our potential, dare I say budding romance. I really love how Mallory took charge of her life and was very self reflective about her own short comings while also really fierce in her own defense. It’s not only a romance but about a woman who is in the process of finding her own voice after years of suppressing herself and that’s just something I love to see. Her snarky inner monologue was also brilliant and hilarious. I also love Mr Plant man, the neighbor guy with the pristine garage (teach me your ways). He was super hot which was to be expected but he was also just a gem of a human being and his parents were a delight. I would take a whole book of just their interactions. So basically what I’m trying to say is you should stop reading this review and go read this book because it is AWESOME. And if you love it you could also check out Crave and The Cocktail series because sometimes you just want to read a bunch of books of the same type and bask in the glory of it all. ☀️

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julia Phillips

    I don’t even know where to begin with my love for this book! As an avid reader, I feel like I was kind of in a book rut before reading this one. Back in the Burbs is EVERYTHING you want in a rom-com. It has a fantastic (an refreshingly new) storyline, many laugh-out-loud moments, and amazing first and secondary characters. I was devouring the book as quick as possible, but at the same time trying to savor each moment. I definitely will go back to read this one again, just because it’s that good! I don’t even know where to begin with my love for this book! As an avid reader, I feel like I was kind of in a book rut before reading this one. Back in the Burbs is EVERYTHING you want in a rom-com. It has a fantastic (an refreshingly new) storyline, many laugh-out-loud moments, and amazing first and secondary characters. I was devouring the book as quick as possible, but at the same time trying to savor each moment. I definitely will go back to read this one again, just because it’s that good! Mallory is the main character in this book and although her life is unstable at the moment, I loved her courage and attitude as she decided to tackle her own life. Her journey throughout this book is so imperfectly perfect. It was so fun and heartwarming to watch her character grow. As for Nick, you do not get better hero than him. I loved him from the moment we met him and by the end, he truly couldn’t have gotten any better. Everything about him will make you fall in love. I’ll save you a recap of what happens in the book, because the blurb gives a good idea of where the story is heading, but I will say this, if you are looking for a perfect pick me up this book is for you. You will laugh, maybe shed a few tears, and just love this storyline. It is real, and just plain good. A true 5 star read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melena Torretta

    4.5 stars What a fabulous read! The author duo of Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff have created a fun, emotional, and sweet story. Mallory is soon to be divorced from her cheating jerk of a husband. When her beloved great aunt dies, Mallory inherits her house and is determined to use it to start her life over. What she finds instead is a pile of HOA violation notices, repairs and other work that needs to be done, and a new neighbor she definitely doesn't want to be attracted to. The story is told comple 4.5 stars What a fabulous read! The author duo of Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff have created a fun, emotional, and sweet story. Mallory is soon to be divorced from her cheating jerk of a husband. When her beloved great aunt dies, Mallory inherits her house and is determined to use it to start her life over. What she finds instead is a pile of HOA violation notices, repairs and other work that needs to be done, and a new neighbor she definitely doesn't want to be attracted to. The story is told completely from Mallory's POV and she was a really relatable heroine. She is trying to find herself and what she wants after letting her ex boss her around. She struggles with her relationships both familial and romantic, but is determined not to make the same mistakes again. I loved her mix of humor, sass, and self awareness as she figures life out. The romance and other plot points were nicely paced. There is a bit of slow burn leading up to Mallory exploring her romantic options, and it was hard to put the book down. I really hope that these two wonderful authors write more books together! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Spreen

    Mallory is a good girl who lets everybody walk all over her, mostly (we see later) because that's what her mother did. Mallory is on the verge of divorce from a cheating husband with whom she built a thriving law firm, when a beloved, eccentric aunt dies and leaves Mallory her house. Bucking her parents, Mallory decides to live there. But when she arrives, she finds the only thing holding this house upright is the hoarded crap it's filled with. And worse, the hot guy across the street is the pre Mallory is a good girl who lets everybody walk all over her, mostly (we see later) because that's what her mother did. Mallory is on the verge of divorce from a cheating husband with whom she built a thriving law firm, when a beloved, eccentric aunt dies and leaves Mallory her house. Bucking her parents, Mallory decides to live there. But when she arrives, she finds the only thing holding this house upright is the hoarded crap it's filled with. And worse, the hot guy across the street is the president of the HOA, and he's determined to get her to clean the place up right now, to the point where he starts helping her all the time. Of course, he turns into a love interest, but he's an attorney also! And his office needs a temporary manager to fill in for the current one on maternity leave. Then there's the hot contractor with whom Mallory tries to feel something but - nothing. And new girlfriends, one of whom has a secret that will rock Mallory's world. This is the story of a woman trying to stand up and speak for herself. Mallory is smart, funny, and capable. The only question is whether she can overcome the challenges that have been dumped on her. And of course, whether she can ever again trust/love an attorney-needing-an-office-manager.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Brooks

    Oh Dear - Mallory just can't escape lawyers, can she?!?! Daughter of a lawyer, soon to be ex of a slimebag lawyer and now the hottie neighbour from hell is also a lawyer! Mallory is striking out on her own. When she inherits beloved great-aunts home, she also inherits a pile of HOA violations. But money is tight and her skills are, well, more suited for an office than DIY. But she soon finds that between old school friends, mates rates with a hunky builder and the weirdly helpful neighbour/lawyer Oh Dear - Mallory just can't escape lawyers, can she?!?! Daughter of a lawyer, soon to be ex of a slimebag lawyer and now the hottie neighbour from hell is also a lawyer! Mallory is striking out on her own. When she inherits beloved great-aunts home, she also inherits a pile of HOA violations. But money is tight and her skills are, well, more suited for an office than DIY. But she soon finds that between old school friends, mates rates with a hunky builder and the weirdly helpful neighbour/lawyer/HOA member. Mallory may have bitten off more than she can chew! Nick is a fab lead. You routinely swing from loving him to wanting to hit him (whilst still loving him LOL). He just lives for his rules. But when he breaks more than a few of them with Mallory, well, let's just say that this lawyer could look at my briefs any time! He does have a wonderful backstory and his parents are a riot. Mallory is a great balance of slighted wife, a hidden female warrior and office mage. She can organise anything and has a knack with clients. Was totally absorbed from the start and read in one go. The "Mr President" thing just tickled me and I kept snorting even after I finished the book. Warm-hearted & funny, sweet without being slushy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leigh-Ayn

    *I won an ARC of this book and all opinions are my own.* This book isn’t just a rom-com, it’s also a second chance romance between Mallory and her life. She was a hot mess thanks to her douche soon to be ex. Aunt Maggie’s gift of the decrepit old house was also a gift to Mallory to fix the house and her life. Nick was awesome. He was a straight laced generous man who has a weakness for crazy lol It is a slow burn romance. Loved watching Mallory grow from the beginning of the book and find herself ag *I won an ARC of this book and all opinions are my own.* This book isn’t just a rom-com, it’s also a second chance romance between Mallory and her life. She was a hot mess thanks to her douche soon to be ex. Aunt Maggie’s gift of the decrepit old house was also a gift to Mallory to fix the house and her life. Nick was awesome. He was a straight laced generous man who has a weakness for crazy lol It is a slow burn romance. Loved watching Mallory grow from the beginning of the book and find herself again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (jm_bibliolater)

    I really do not know what I just read. Reading Back In the Burbs was like being on a fun roller coaster ride where you are left a bit dizzy and a little out of sorts. The writing is ranty (yes, that's not a word but how do else do I describe it?) yet witty and filled with pure sarcasm. I laughed or chuckled so often that my husband gave me the side eye on more than one occasion. The characters are all just a little bit eccentric with questionable judgment and loads of baggage. But, I just love th I really do not know what I just read. Reading Back In the Burbs was like being on a fun roller coaster ride where you are left a bit dizzy and a little out of sorts. The writing is ranty (yes, that's not a word but how do else do I describe it?) yet witty and filled with pure sarcasm. I laughed or chuckled so often that my husband gave me the side eye on more than one occasion. The characters are all just a little bit eccentric with questionable judgment and loads of baggage. But, I just love the fact Back in the Burbs is a redemption story of a 35 year old women who spent a decade making bad choices that left her at rock bottom. May we all learn our self-worth and personal power at the rock bottom of a hoarder's house.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Kantrowitz

    Review from my IG @bookatthebeach “So much for the universe being on my side for once. Part of me figures that atleast it can’t get worse, but I know better than that” First rule of surviving the burbs? There is nothing that YouTube and a glass of wine can’t conquer. After the death of her aunt, a cheating ex husband, and now jobless, Mallory is really hitting rock bottom. But inheriting her great aunt's house may be her ticket to a new life, until she sees all the HOA violations and work that nee Review from my IG @bookatthebeach “So much for the universe being on my side for once. Part of me figures that atleast it can’t get worse, but I know better than that” First rule of surviving the burbs? There is nothing that YouTube and a glass of wine can’t conquer. After the death of her aunt, a cheating ex husband, and now jobless, Mallory is really hitting rock bottom. But inheriting her great aunt's house may be her ticket to a new life, until she sees all the HOA violations and work that needs to be done. Is she in over her head? maybe so, but her neighbor is making it impossible for her to land on her feet, or is the reason she gets back up? I swear, this one has reignited my book rut. I loved everything about it. Just when you think Mallory has it figured out, a twist and turn stops her in her tracks. This book combined romcom, family dysfunction, and friends to lovers all in one. I couldn’t finish it fast enough and wished it didn’t end. That hasn’t happened in who knows how long. I’d love to see a second of this one to know where the characters go, but honestly, I was very content with my happily ever after.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Bird

    Oh my gosh, I don’t think I can say enough about this book!!! Back in the Burbs by Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff is everything you didn’t know you needed! It’s got humor, self-reflection, a hot guy, a hot guy that listens, did I mention a hot guy?! No, really when Mallory catches her husband in an uncompromising position with his paralegal, she decides to find herself again. At the reading of her Aunt Maggie’s will, she comes to find out she is the new owner of a run-down, old house that needs a l Oh my gosh, I don’t think I can say enough about this book!!! Back in the Burbs by Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff is everything you didn’t know you needed! It’s got humor, self-reflection, a hot guy, a hot guy that listens, did I mention a hot guy?! No, really when Mallory catches her husband in an uncompromising position with his paralegal, she decides to find herself again. At the reading of her Aunt Maggie’s will, she comes to find out she is the new owner of a run-down, old house that needs a lot of TLC. Little does she know that the neighbor across the street would be the knight in shining armor she doesn’t any any help from. Gah, I really could continuously gush about this book but I will just leave it at, you need to read this book!! Coming out March 30th!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vfc

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Karl see *MARTS - Male, Asinine, Rotten, Two-timing piece of Shite... Mallory at thirty-five has outlived her usefulness to her opportunistic, philandering husband. She spent the last decade working for the cad’s law firm. Replaced with a significantly younger model, after sacrificing her career aspirations in lieu of his, he used her to feed his overinflated ego. The same autocratic husband her parents wants her to reconcile with...the same husband without any vestiges of humanity, changed the lo Karl see *MARTS - Male, Asinine, Rotten, Two-timing piece of Shite... Mallory at thirty-five has outlived her usefulness to her opportunistic, philandering husband. She spent the last decade working for the cad’s law firm. Replaced with a significantly younger model, after sacrificing her career aspirations in lieu of his, he used her to feed his overinflated ego. The same autocratic husband her parents wants her to reconcile with...the same husband without any vestiges of humanity, changed the locks on their condo and left her packed suitcases with the doorman as a farewell. The upscale condo on the Upper East Side where she spent the entirety of her doomed marriage and which Karl the *MARTS now declares, belongs to the law firm and is NOT a marital asset. Mallory inherits her great aunt’s house, the house no one expected her to keep, especially her father and her aunt’s attorney. She owes property taxes, more than $120,000 in inheritance tax, and she hasn’t yet found a job. She’s spent her entire adult working life dedicated to ensuring the practice became the success it is, working seventy-hour weeks for pittance because HE said the practice needed the money to continue to grow—yet, she has doubts about the firm owning their condo. A cheating ex, a broken-down house, a nearly empty bank account, and a lack of job prospects, not enough of a disaster...a drawer full of HOA violations, her aunt was a hoarder and the Hottie across the street is the President of the HOA. She’s unemployed—her bank account needs resuscitating and she has a house to bring up to code. Her emergence is slow and steady as Karl tries to steamroll her acquiescence, to fast-track their divorce for him to marry his bimbo whilst manoeuvre her out of her equitable assets. Karl bought himself everything he wanted, despite admonishing and condemning her to an unsatisfying existence. She recognises that he couldn’t have bullied her if she hadn’t allowed it. There were two in that marriage, but she allowed him to trample all over her. She traded her law school for a life of servitude, agreeing to help him build his practice instead. Unannounced, Karl shows up on her doorstep and unleashes his venom, demanding her signature and blindsiding her with a very pregnant girlfriend (the same Karl, her mother said perhaps if she wore more makeup, he might take her back). “Get your hands off me, or I’m going to call the police and have you arrested for trespassing and assault.” “Just sign the divorce papers and I’ll get out of here.” “I already told you I’m not going to do that.” “You don’t have a choice,” he growls, and suddenly his body language is a lot more threatening. The thing is, I’m not about to let him threaten me. He’s done enough of that to last a lifetime, and I’ll scream the whole block down if he so much as touches me again. “You think because you cleaned a toilet or two, you should be entitled to half of what I built?” He sneers. “What we built.” “Well, I’m sure that makes sense in your little fantasy world, but you’re wrong on so many fronts. Just to take one example, the condo.” “Our home.” The one she found, cleaned and created into a home. “It’s owned by the law firm and isn’t a marital asset. The firm, as you’ll recall, is mine. My name’s on the door, not yours. You didn’t even finish law school. The office manager doesn’t get half. Maybe you should have finished getting your law degree.”“Someone had to pay our bills.” (He demeans everything she has ever done). It’s nearly dark, but he parked right beneath the streetlamp, so I can see Sasha perfectly as she gets out of the car. It’s just un-freaking-believable. I can’t believe his audacity in bringing his mistress here when he’s trying to talk me into signing the divorce papers. It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull, because every time I see her, all I can think about is the way our eyes met in his office that day. The triumphant look on her face as she put her hand on Karl’s head and told him how to please her while she looked straight into my eyes. The b*tch. “Get out of here, you can throw the biggest hissy fit in the world, and it won’t matter. I’m not going to sign those papers until I hire an attorney and I get a fair settlement. I’m not walking away from the longest decade of my life with nothing to show for it. In fact—” I break off on a gasp as Sasha turns to the side…her hand cupping her slightly rounded belly. She is directly under the streetlight, and its glow makes her obviously pregnant silhouette impossible to miss. Exacting triumph, he taunts her with “What’s there to understand? I love Sasha and she loves me. We’re having a baby together, and both of us would really like for that baby to be born inside of wedlock. So if you could get over your little fit of hysteria and sign these papers, we can all just move on with our lives.” Once again, he shoves the folder with the divorce papers at me. I am so shaken that this time, I don’t even think to refuse. I just take the folder and stare down at it blankly. Then he clicks the pen open and holds it out to me. “Just sign the papers, Mallory, and we’ll get out of your hair.” “Mallory’s not signing anything without her attorney present.” Nick’s voice rings out loud and clear through the quiet night “Who are you?” Karl demands. “I’m pretty sure I should be asking you that question, since you are the one standing here, threatening my girlfriend, on her property.” “Your girlfriend?” “I’ll have you know, Mallory is my wife. I have every right to be here.” “No, you don’t, not after she’s asked you to leave.” “Do you really want to get into a debate over the law with me? I’m an attorney, and I assure you this is perfectly legal.” “Yeah, well, I’m an attorney, too—and apparently, a much better one than you, because I can assure you that you’re wrong.” “I didn’t know you were dating anyone,” Karl says, accusation thick in every syllable. “And I didn’t know you were about to become a father. Looks like there’s a lot we don’t know about each other anymore. Then again—that’s always been the case. Hasn’t it, Karl?” “You don’t actually expect me to believe you’re an attorney, do you?” Karl spits out. “I don’t give a sh*t what you believe. Facts are facts. I’d say that Mallory has a type, except…” He trails off on a derisive little laugh as he looks Karl up and down. “I’m not going anywhere,” Karl snaps at Sasha. “Not until Mallory signs the f-g divorce papers.” “If that’s the case, then you leave me no choice but to call the police,” Nick says. “Because both Mallory and I have told you there’s not a chance in hell that she’s signing those papers without consulting her attorney. Not when New York and New Jersey are both no-fault divorce states that believe in a fair and equitable distribution of marital assets.” “I’m not Mallory’s lawyer, but she is at my firm. I expect you to contact us by Wednesday with a full accounting of all marital assets—or I’m sure my partner will be more than happy to see you in court. And I think we both know that the judge won’t look kindly on an adulterous ex trying to cheat his former wife out of her fair settlement just so he can pay for his pregnant mistress—a mistress who, by the looks of it, got pregnant before the separation even took place.” She then discovers Sarah, her adult sister, her parents excuses dependent on finding out the truth of her newly discovered adult sibling. All those times her father lectured her about the sanctity of marriage… All the times her mother stated that she needed to return to Karl because a woman belonged with her husband no matter what… despite being thrown, locked out and left destitute. They hadn’t been talking about her, but themselves. All the time her father had been preaching to her on Karl’s qualities, about how adultery didn’t have to mean the end of a marriage—all the time her mother had told her to wear sexier underwear and more makeup—they’d been carrying around this secret. The secret that not only did her father cheat on her mother with at least one woman—though my very angry gut says there were probably a hell of a lot more through the years—but that he fathered a child with her. And he kept that child a secret for more than two decades. I throw my arms around her shoulders and squeeze her tight. “It’s gonna be okay. We’ll figure this out. Together.” Sarah lets out another huge torrent of tears. “Really? I don’t know what to say. I’ll be out of your hair as soon as I get an apartment.” “There’s no hurry. There’s plenty of room here, and she was your Aunt Maggie, too. I’d love to have you stay as long as you want—as long as you don’t mind a mess.” Mallory to Nick “Nice try, but I know for a fact you’re not watching Lord of the Rings with anyone but me,” I challenge. “I can’t believe I was ever worried you might turn out like my ex. Or that I might have terrible judgment in men. My ovaries have excellent taste; I just sometimes don’t listen to them. And they want you to know that they need you. I need you. Not to solve my problems but to just be there. And I’ll be there for you, too.” Nick leans forward and picks up my hands, a smile twinkling in his eyes. “I told you your ovaries were smart.” I grin back at him. “They’re my best feature. But to be fair, they really don’t care what happens when the hobbits leave the Shire. It’s sad, really.” I shake my head. “They said they’re having too much fun to give a damn at all.” “What about working at the law firm being the same as falling back into old habits and reliving your old life with Karl?” “I was a dumba*s for even thinking it.” His dark gaze is brimming with promise. “So we give this thing a real chance?” “I’m making no promises, but yes, I would really, really like to give this a real chance.” He leans forward and his lips are on mine, moving against them with abandon. When we finally break apart, we’re both gasping for breath. I smooth his hair behind his ear. “I can’t believe I ever thought you were like my ex. For starters, you’re way better at kissing me—everywhere.” The Lord of the Rings reference for sex “But before our lips collide, Nick’s dad coughs, reminding us both we’re not alone, and asks, “So, umm, should we all watch Lord of the Rings after dinner?” Three horrified sets of eyes turn to John as Nick, his mom, and I all say at the same time, “No!” Then we glance around at each other and bust out laughing. “I don’t get it,” John says. “I gathered from your discussion it was your favorite movie.” Victoria leans over and squeezes John’s hand. “Dear, they love it like we love Star Wars.” “Oh”—his eyes widen—“ohhhh.” “Mo-om,” Nick groans. And we all break into another fit of laughter. “I like her,” Victoria says, when we finally catch our breath. “Can we keep her?” The look Nick gives me sears me right down to my toes with all the good things it promises. “Only if she wants to stay.” “I do,” I say, meaning it more than anything else I’ve ever said in my whole entire life. “I really, really do.” And so I do. And we do. And it is wonderful.” Tremendous emotional baggage, a hoarding aunt, sanctimonious parents and a newly found sister.

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