Chloe McCarthy thought she had found the perfect guy. Someone just as detached as she was when it came to love and commitment. Someone who never pressured her for more than just sex. But when she gets a little too comfortable with their arrangement, and he rejects her for someone else, it triggers heartbreaking memories that leave her questioning her resolve for a commitment-free life. In a moment of self-pity, she calls on the one person who she knows will make her smile.
Matt Langston lives a drama-free life, and he wants to keep it that way. Chloe McCarthy? All drama. Which is why he needs to stay away from her. A mechanic by day and bouncer by night, he tries to focus on work, but the more he tries, the more she creeps into his thoughts and his dreams, until he realizes that he needs to get her out of his system once and for all.
The Fragile Line is a spin-off to The Fine Line, told in an addicting three-part romance novella series, with each part building on the last. The series may be read alone, however, reading The Fine Line first will provide a further introduction to the characters which may enhance the overall reading experience.
As it’s been more than two years since I read The Fine Line, my recollection of the details from the novel is a bit hazy. The fact that I strive to write spoiler-free reviews meant that my review of the book did little to jog my memory. However, what was clear from my review was that I enjoyed Kobishop’s writing style, so I happily signed up to review The Fragile Line – Part One. As the blurb states that this can be read as a standalone, I sallied forth into the novella, hoping that this would be the case – and it was. That said, I found myself remembering bits and pieces from The Fine Line, so that feeling of familiarity set in as I recalled a few of the scenes that overlap between the books, but experiencing them from Chloe’s point of view … and what a point of view that was.
With the first few chapters of the book being presented from Chloe’s point of view, Kobishop reminded me just how well she wrote angst. Boy, did she! The beginning of the book takes place during Liv and Logan’s friendship-romantic relationship merry-go-round and Chloe’s kinda-friends-with-LOTS-of-benefits arrangement with Logan has been terminated. At a time when Chloe was trying so hard to hold on to the only stable thing in her life, she convinces herself that she’s in love with Logan and sets out to win back her man, even though he’s not her man. As I read through Chloe’s thoughts, watched her make plans, and execute those plans, I was amazed at how well she could lie to herself about what she wanted and how she could justify her actions so easily – I was literally shaking my head, thinking “This girl is NUTS!” I felt sad for Chloe because some of the things she convinced herself of regarding Logan where just delusional. While I remembered Chloe (or at least the part she played in the first book), I had zero recollection of Matt, so for me, getting to know him was like meeting a new character. Matt has a similar outlook on relationships as Chloe – have fun, but don’t let them get attached. Being as he’s close friends with Logan, Chloe is off-limits in his mind, but having seen her vulnerable side for a few hours leaves Matt wanting to be friends, maybe. So, when their paths cross again, and he finds himself in a position to strike up a friendship with her, he does. Watching two people who have no desire for a romantic relationship with anyone, try to figure out how to be friends and keep the “benefits” out it was quite entertaining. Surprisingly, they manage to do it for a while, until they don’t.
The Fragile Line – Part One relies heavily upon Chloe and Matt’s inner monologues to tell the story. Generally speaking, this kind of presentation doesn’t work for me. Yet, in the case of this novella, and with these characters, it works wonderfully. There is plenty of dialogue and there are plenty of interactions between characters, but when we’re in Chloe and Matt’s heads, we are literally, in their heads as they remember things from their pasts and contemplate their budding friendship with one another and where it’s going. Kobishop also does a nice job of using Chloe’s memories to show us why she made the choices she did, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel really sorry for what she endured during her teens – such tragedy and heartbreak. As this is part one of three, the novella ends on a mild cliffhanger, nothing that’s going to make you want to throw your Kindle, but enough to leave you wanting part two as soon as possible, at least it did me.