I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Deal Breakers begins when Riley and Devyn meet freshman year of college. Riley is only interested in getting into Devyn’s pants. Devyn only wants to be friends. The next few chapters jump a year to spotlight each year of their college lives. Each chapter interaction is borderline friendship and relationship, with Riley still flirting and Devyn continually shutting him down, up until the end of their senior year when Devyn is willing to cross the line to lose her virginity. The whole deal is supposed to be no strings attached, but like any good romance story there are consequences that negate the no-strings agreement.
What bothered me about the first few chapters was all the large time jumps. The chapters only served to reinforce that even though Devyn turned Riley down the first time, he was persistent in being with her sexually romantically. Most of the chapters felt flat to me since they were only trying to highlight this idea. But it also bothered me that Riley was pushing so hard to “get out of the friendzone.” He came off as a misogynist, believing that he could have any woman he wanted and any resistance from a woman was seen as a challenge. Sadly, Devyn didn’t prove him wrong when she eventually went to him asking for sex. It would have been good for Riley’s ego not to “get” the conquest he had wanted for so long.
After four years of college, the next time jump begins five years later. Devyn hasn’t spoken to Riley since that night senior year and she’s guarding a – easily predicted – secret. Of course, Devyn and Riley’s paths are intersected so they meet again and Riley learns of Devyn’s secret. He then decides that he’s going to win her back, but instead of his argument being that he would be a good, supportive partner for Devyn, he argues that Devyn will never find someone that will sexually satisfy her the way he does. Yes, Riley’s ego game is that strong.
I guess my overall problem with the story, other than it feeling flat in some places, was Riley’s personality. The story is about Devyn and Riley coming together after agreeing that they never would, but I believe Devyn deserved so much more. Maybe I just need to stop investing so much in stories and reacting to the characters like they are real people.