Mary Catherine “Cath” Talarico has made plenty of mistakes in her young life which is the reason she has adopted the persona of “New Cath”. New Cath doesn’t make mistakes. New Cath keeps to herself. New Cath doesn’t go out drinking, go on dates or have relationships. All of those things end in epic mistakes so it’s best just to keep to herself. She is currently living in London working for a museum and she spends a lot of her time commuting and often observes the fellow passengers around her. One she has nicknamed “City” - good looking, nice suit, obviously works in London’s financial district, known as the City, hence the nickname.
New Cath slides a bit when she finds herself waking up in City’s apartment with very little recollection of how she got there. As the pieces of the night come back to her, she remembers that City was a perfect gentleman. She was right about the job and the fact that he comes from money, but it seems that City also has a bit of a hidden side, being a talented artist. Although Cath wants to run, because she doesn’t get involved with anyone these days, there’s an attraction that she can’t ignore. Even though City – actually Nev Chamberlain – would like more, Cath refuses dates, calling the shots turning up at night and leaving before dawn.
Nev is stuck in a career he’s no longer interested in, stifled from his real ambition to paint. Threatened with sacking from the family bank if he doesn’t settle down, get himself a wife and start a family by his overbearing brother, Nev has a proposition for Cath that he thinks could benefit them both – and that might gently ease Cath into more of a commitment. He’s already smitten with his tattooed bad girl but he’s aware that she’s ready to bolt at any moment. Although Cath agrees to his proposal it’s clear she has some reservations, given she has to spend a weekend with his family.
Even though Nev has always been open with her, Cath has been cagey about her past. It’s all about to come out during their weekend with his family and Cath knows she’s done the one thing she should never have done – fall for someone yet again who will only hurt her.
I first heard about this book over at Aussie author Rachael Johns’ blog where she had a guest post with the author talking about the book. I immediately wanted to read it because it sort of reminded me a little of Her Best Worst Mistake, by Sarah Mayberry that I read recently and the bad girl vs good boy scenario is very underrepresented in the romances I’ve read. So I bought it for my Kindle.
Cath isn’t really a bad girl, she’s just had a pretty hard life and she’s developed a shell around herself to protect herself from getting hurt again because she’s been hurt quite a lot. She keeps to herself now, having few friends in England (her mother was English but she grew up in America) and immersing herself in her work. She spends her time on the train observing people, knowing who is going to turn up at the station and in what order and although she’s well aware of “City” as she calls him, they’ve never really spoken until the morning she wakes in his flat. City’s real name is (unfortunately for him) Neville Chamberlain – yes, like that Prime Minister and this reveal does lead to one amusing thought/remark made by Cath when they’re in bed:
It was the world’s dorkiest name. Nearly as bad as Rupert. No, maybe a little worse than Rupert. Neville. For goodness’ sake. “I never thought I’d be penetrated by a Neville,” she said wonderingly. “Maybe a Colin, or a Simon….”
I really liked Nev, especially as he was so understanding and supportive of Cath and all her issues, patiently waiting for her to turn up when you know he’d have preferred to take it a step further and actually take her out on dates and be involved in a more traditional relationship. I felt a bit impatient with Cath because the truth behind her commitment-shy nature doesn’t come out until later in the book so a lot of the time when she was giving the poor guy the brush off and trying to back off (although admittedly she never does quite a good job of it, not as much as she’d like!) I would be questioning her in my mind, thinking “are you nuts woman?”
About Last Night was not quite what I expected, but I really liked the opposing characters of Nev and Cath and the fact that they were both a bit lonely and isolated. Cath is desperate to turn her life around and because of that, she’s not let anyone be close to her. Nev isn’t exactly happy in his own life either, disenchanted with banking. He’s attracted to Cath and her tattoos and I thought that part of the story was really fabulous. I appreciate tattoos with meaning and I feel that Knox put a lot of thought into Cath’s ink and what they meant and the stories behind them. I think they sounded quite beautiful.
A racy fun read but with a genuine deeper serious side. I enjoyed it.
Book #123 of 2012