Parks and Provocation by Juliette Cross

A Green Valley Heroes novel that's bound to ignite...
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Parks and Provocation Book Cover Parks and Provocation
Green Valley Heroes
Juliette Cross
Contemporary Romance
Smartypants Romance
April 7th, 2022
book, ebook, audiobook
343

Lola Landry stares through the window of her locked car with the keys in the ignition and the radio blaring Beck’s “Loser.” While standing there and sweltering in the soupy Tennessee humidity, she wonders how her orderly life had crashed and burned so badly. Then her high school nemesis saunters up in all of his tall, strapping, fireman-to-the-rescue glory, slapping her with the humiliating proof that it can always get worse. When the uber-confident Jedediah Lawson requests a date in return for popping her lock, a lightbulb goes off. Revenge is sweet. He would make the perfect victim—guest, that is—for her next podcast episode on Kiss and Tell. What shocks her is the casual way he not only agrees to the post-date interview on air, but ends up hijacking her audience and wooing them with his swoony, southern charm. Not even a low score on the date-o-meter can dissuade the man or keep her fans from demanding more of the charismatic Jed. What’s worse, she secretly wants a second date with this man who is so different from his teenage self. His unwavering patience and dimpled smile erodes her will, until she breaks the Kiss and Tell rules by agreeing to a second…and a third date. It’s a disaster. Not the date. They’re wonderful. The disaster is that she is falling for a man she once dubbed Jockstrap Jed. 'Parks and Provocation' is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #2 in the Green Valley Heroes series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Parks and Provocation is a steamy, seductive, modern take on the second chance romance trope, and it is done to perfection. “Forrest for the Trees” by Kilby Blades ignited my Green Valley Heroes fire, and “Parks and Provocation” stokes the flames. Pardon the puns, but I hope this fire burns bright for many, many books to come.

Juliette Cross is a hive favorite, of that there is no doubt. Don’t believe me? Check out previous Juliette Cross reviews by Jes and Kristin. I had major FOMO, having not read anything by Cross before and hearing so many rave reviews, but my bees have been super supportive and happily let me take the reins on the Parks and Provocation review. I am forever in their debt for bringing me into the JC fan club, and now the party can begin. I could see from page 1 why my bees are passionate about her books.

“Lola Landry was many things, but she wasn’t oblivious or ignorant. The question was, would she ignore this thing between us like she did in high school? Or finally give us a chance?”

Jed, Parks and Provocation

POV

I don’t normally love dual or multiple points of view in a novel. More often than not, I find that multiple narrators tend to disrupt the fluidity of a story, but when it’s done right, dual POV can elevate the plot and drama and bring a story to life. Parks and Provocation splits the POV between Jed and Lola, and the balance between the two are done exactly right. Lola’s chapters bring a sassy and stubborn tone to the page, ensuring that readers will root for her independence while being charmed by Jed’s sexy confidence. Jed’s chapters are layered with resolve, determination, and longing that you can’t help but admire. Both character voices evoke different feelings; each voice is distinct, but added together they create amazing “can’t put it down” vibes.

Second Chance Romance

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

His gaze swept to me, those hazel eyes scaling down to my lips, then farther south over my body, leaving a trail of heat, before rising to meet mine again.

“Every single second.”

There is something to be said about “the one that got away” storylines. The nostalgia, pining, and anticipation of rekindling what-could-have-been has always been endearing to me. Usually this trope gets paired with other themes like distrust, deception, or deceit. Sometimes it’s as simple as bad timing, but either way you spin it there’s a draw that hooks you and sucks you into the unfolding drama. I love it. My only critique of this book is that the anticipation of Jed and Lola’s first kiss was so, so well crafted, and I wish it could have carried through the book a little bit longer. There’s nothing more satisfying than when you finally get to the kiss (or more, if that’s your thing) after the tension has been building and is at the boiling point.

Final Thoughts

Juliette Cross wrote a romance that I couldn’t put down. I finished this novel in less than 24 hours, and I wish I could read it again for the first time. Not only am I a new Juliette Cross fan, but I’m a new Smartypants Romance fan, and I’ll be diving into their backlist books in the very near future. Hope you all love Parks and Provocation as much as I did.

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