Disclaimer: I received a free ARC copy from the author in exchange for a fair review.
Victory and Cade are exes who can never quite escape each other, despite Victory's move to New York some years ago to get away from him. Bound by their shared love of Hannah, Cade's sister and Victory's best friend, and the fact that their families are next-door neighbours, they can never quite get away from each other.
It's clear that they're both still desperately in love with each other from the very beginning, and not quite able to fully let go and move on. But Cade broke Victory's heart in an incredibly brutal way, seemingly out of nowhere, and it's not until much later that we fully understand why. Thrown together by grief and tragedy, they seek solace in one another—but even that isn't quite enough, and they still have to work hard to overcome their past.
I loved Cade and Victory, though there were times I absolutely wanted to shake them both. They really needed to work on their communication skills, and start trusting each other—but they both put the work in, after some brutally honest conversations were finally had. Though their physical chemistry was undeniable from the very beginning—and oh, those sex scenes were filthy hot—it was their emotional connection that they needed to work on, and I loved watching their respective walls crumble as they opened up to each other.
I also enjoyed how raw and real their emotions were. Olivia Peters does a wonderful job of building a strong connection between reader and character, and I felt everything they were feeling. Victory's pain over Cade, even years after the breakup, was so real to me; I felt her anger and frustration in my chest, felt that desperate longing in the pit of my stomach. And Cade's grief? It was so raw, an untapped fountain of sorrow, and I adored that he showed that, that he allowed himself to be vulnerable in front of Victory. I love a strong alpha male who doesn't bury his emotions—he may be one of my favourite romantic heroes yet!
The secondary characters were also great; I loved Victory's friends back in New York and Cade's best friends. I actually can't wait for the rest of the series, I'm so excited to see how the twins' stories play out! The bond between all the core characters is so strong and really does demonstrate that small-town vibe that I enjoy so much. Plus, their banter and teasing insults are downright hilarious.
I maybe would have liked to see more of the domesticity with Aiden, Hannah's son, mostly because the kid is so stinking cute, but I honestly adored every second of reading this. Even Aiden, a not-quite-three-year-old, is a fully developed character in his own right, and I really wanted to squish his precious little cheeks.
Final Verdict: Hot as hell and deeply emotional, Chasing Victory has the perfect mix of heat and emotional tenderness. 🍯🍯🍯🍯🍯/5 honeypots!