Review – Trying It All (Naked Men #4) by Christi Barth

Fun and entertaining yet complicated and emotional, not to mention supremely satisfying, Trying It All is a fantastic addition to Christi Barth’s Naked Men series. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

Order. Attention to detail. Never leaving anything to chance. These are the qualities that make Riley Ness such a terrific federal agent . . . and a pain in the ass to everyone else. The only time Riley lets loose is when he’s hanging out with his closest pals. So when he’s thrown together with gorgeous, flighty Summer Sheridan, Riley’s brain tells him she’s a ticking time bomb—but his body doesn’t want to play by the rules.

Riley has to be the most irritating man Summer has ever met. The brooding hunk thinks he needs to teach her a few lessons about real life, while she’d rather show him how to enjoy it. But her BFF’s all but engaged to Riley’s best friend, and besides, their intense physical chemistry is all too real. Summer just needs Riley to try to meet her halfway and take a chance with the one thing that matters: his heart.

From the first book in Christi Barth’s Naked Men series I was hooked and with each book I become move invested in these characters and their journey to become the men they are today and after reading Trying It All, I can honestly say that these fictional men have lodge a place in my heart. Friends and teammates since high school, these men went through a traumatic experience that left them all with scars and a deep need to help others in some way. With a heroine determined to live every day like it’s her last and a hero with a need to always prepare for anything, it is easy to say this book is an opposites attract story, but as these two spend time together it become evident they are way more alike than they ever imagined. A story of healing, of understanding, and of learning to face the cold, hard truth that the way you choose to live your life might not be the healthiest way, and that letting go and opening your heart has so many rewards, I loved every minute of Trying It All.

Surviving the bus crash that killed their driver while on a soccer trip in high school, Riley Ness was determined to follow his own path and work for the NTSB and make the roads safer for everyone and he made good on that promise and to say that his work is important to him would be putting it mildly, but more than that Riley finds it necessary to plan and control everything in his life to stave off the panic attacks that once required medication. So it surprises him when he finds that despite the fact Summer Sheridan’s “live life like it’s your last minute” attitude drives him crazy, he can also admit he finds her attractive and the more he gets to know her intriguing.

Summer is happy her friend Chloe found the man of her dreams, but that man comes with four best friends and while she finds most of them endearing Riley Ness grates on her nerves. Uptight doesn’t even begin to describe him in her opinion, and she’ll even admit she enjoys needling him about his incessant need to plan, but it also makes her want to make him loose control. What she doesn’t expect when she challenges him to live a little is for him to grab her and lay on the kiss of a lifetime. Summer soon begins to figure out why Riley is driven to do the things he does and it really surprises her that she find she likes when he wants to make sure she is safe and protected.

I enjoyed the interplay between Summer and Riley and the fact that the tragedies they both endured led them to look at life much differently. It was interesting to see how much they “got” one another and understood the feelings and anxieties they had; there were really quite intuitive in regards to each other. I did get a bit frustrated with them both when they refused to see something was happening between them, but I also understood they were scared and experiencing true feelings and love for the first time and for someone who had to be in control all the time and another who wanted the freedom to live life on her terms they were struggling greatly.

One thing I’ve loved about this series from the start was the camaraderie between the five guys who make up the “Naked Men” and the women who have infiltrated their tight knit group. What I love is that even though the men are pairing off, they still make time for one another and they still are there for one another in all aspects of their lives.

Fun and entertaining yet complicated and emotional, not to mention supremely satisfying, Trying It All is a fantastic addition to Christi Barth’s Naked Men series.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

4.5 stars

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