Trolling Nights by Savannah J. Frierson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have heard nothing but good things about Savannah J. Frierson's writing. I can see the praise was well-deserved. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I've read a lot of romances, and luckily I don't actively dislike most of them. But neither can I say I love many of them to death and would seriously consider taking on a desert island as the only book I would bring. I feel that way about this book. It's one of those books you want to read again right after you finish it, and will no doubt pull off the shelf again and again to reread, in parts or completely.
This book is a love story, pure and simple. Don't let the fact that Tim and Bevin met in a bar on a night where her friends go out to pick up guys fool you. When they met, an intense connection was there. One of those once in a lifetime kind of things. Tim saw this beautiful, dark-skinned, thick/abundant/luscious/far from thin woman and knew she was the one for him. He loved her body, loved her being a dark-skinned Black woman, loved her heart and her mind, loved everything about her. Bevin thought he'd see her only as the gateway to her thin, sexy White friend who has her eye on him. But he makes it very clear that he's interested in her, not her friend. It takes a little while for this to sink in for Bevin, but Tim is a very patient man, and very willing to express his feelings for Bevin as often as possible, giving her the reassurance she needs. Tim is a man who knows what he wants, even in a very short period of time. His instincts honed in dangerous, spur-of-the moment situations make it clear that Bevin is the woman he wants and he should go for it. Tim is a very appealing hero in pursuit!
I knew I was going to like Tim early on in this book. Tim is real. He's down to earth, raw-speaking, big muscles (he picks up Bevin all the time), lovely sea-green eyes, Southern charm, mind-melting intensity and all. He knows how to love a woman. That is rare, even in a lot of the so-called romance novels that get written now. I submit that a lot of modern heroes know how to sex up a heroine. Love just happens along after they've had a few orgasms together. That is not this book. Yes, there is a strong sexual connection between Tim and Bevin, and I loved that about the novel. But it was the intense love that he shows Bevin that makes this book a winner for me.
Bevin is not an easy sale. Tim even thinks at one point that he had never worked so hard to get a woman. He says this with a sense of awe and satisfaction, no frustration. She is completely skeptical of his attentions after being ignored for her thinner, livelier, and might I submit looser friends (well, they are). He sees her as the real deal, the one that he wanted and was willing to work for.
I liked that Bevin was a strong woman, but she was gentle and sweet also. Somewhere along the way, a very pervasive stereotype of black women as hardass buttkickers who don't cry and never allow themselves to be vulnerable has caught on. It's so untrue. Black women want to be cherished and loved just like any other women. Like many other real Black women, Bevin was vulnerable, in a way that was almost painful to observe. Bevin was very real. Bevin was infinitely worthy of being loved so intensely by Tim.
Tim didn't have a real family, other than his now-deceased grandmother. His father was a drunk abuser who ran off when he was three. His mother was a drunk who neglected him. He found his home and sense of purpose in the NAVY SEALs and his team. He comes to the conclusion that he wants forever with Bevin, a family. He wants to love and cherish her and treat her with respect. You never have a moment when you doubt this in how he treats Bevin. I loved how caring and possessive Tim was. He was pretty raunchy too, but at the same time, he showed her a lot of respect. I was actually surprised at how late the consummation came and the way it came (Sorry. No spoilers here).
The secondary characters were great in this story: Bevin's wonderful parents, Tim's best friend Ulrich, Bevin's friends (Rosita, Courtney, Patrice, and Tamara), who are also her co-workers at the coffehouse The Grind that they own, and co-members in the Femme Crew. I love how Bevin's mom and dad adopt Tim very early on as their future son-in-law despite the race difference. He not only got the woman he dearly loved, but a ready-made family to go with her.
This is one of those really hard reviews to write. I can't say how much I loved this book, because my writing is nowhere near as good as Savannah J. Frierson's. But I can and do recommend reading this book from the bottom of my heart. I think that anyone who wants to read an intensely good love story that will touch the heart and engage the emotions, and keep your interest riveted past the last page would enjoy this book. It doesn't mantter if it's a fan of interracial romance, plus-sized heroine romances, or just plain romance. Yes, the sex is spicy (but happens in the best way (in my opinion), and there is some raunchy language, but this story couldn't be sweeter. In fact, I think the intense sexual attraction was an integral part of this story, because a woman should be desired intensely by the man who deeply loves her, and vice versa. I was buying her books already, but after this wonderful book, without a doubt, Savannah J. Frierson goes on my autobuy list.
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