Close Enough to Touch (Hqn)

Close Enough to Touch (Hqn) - Victoria Dahl Grace Barrett was a successful makeup artist in Hollywood until she crossed the wrong producer and also got dumped by her boyfriend. She's a prickly, tough woman with purple streaks in her hair and works hard at projecting a persona that keeps everyone at bay. Broke and homeless, she moves to Wyoming for a rent free apartment being offered by her great aunt, Rayleen, until the new job opportunity in Vancouver begins in a few weeks. Meanwhile, next door neighbor cowboy Cole Rawlins is drawn to Grace's difficult nature and they begin a "casual" relationship. He's got his own issues but Cole is determined to keep trying to break through that steel veneer Grace has erected.I tried hard to like Grace but I could never really warm to this character. And, I couldn't understand what motivated Cole to keep trying to break through Grace's tough, snarly personality to get to the person underneath all that nastiness. It is important for me to connect and empathize with a character no matter the circumstances but it confounded me how Grace could compare the decent guy Cole is to the creeps from her past and treat him so shabbily. She had every reason to be wary of people given her background and make them work to get close to her but, in my opinion, her behavior was just hard to justify. Cole made no promises but was genuine and honest with her, always trying to establish a connection, which she actively resisted for almost the entire story. Their relationship had a lot of steam in the bedroom and that's where Grace would let her guard down. However, that never last much longer than a minute and she'd be back to her hard, disagreeable self. There was a part of me that wanted him to move on. By the end of the story, I felt a bit better about Grace but this was a difficult read. It's well written and interesting but the romance just didn't work for me. Grace's breakthrough was too long in coming and she was just too unpleasant for most of the book. I will definitely continue the series because I really liked everyone else in the story and what seems to be some interesting possibilities with other pairings. (I received an ARC from NetGalley)