Not that “my least favorite series” means particularly much on a blog like this one (or is even particularly clear?), but good lord am I excited to be on the last Crossfire book. Especially since so little happened in the last two books that I have no idea what could possibly be left to be said in this one.
But maybe now that it’s the last one, something will happen? It has to, right? I’M TRYING TO BE POSITIVE. Yes, on this blog. I know that doesn’t make sense but Crossfire, you guys.
One With You: Chapter 2
This chapter takes place from Gideon’s perspective. You might recall that these books started alternating chapters between Eva and Gideon’s points of view mid-way through the series, which if there’s anything nice to say about this Fifty Shades ripoff series, at least it doesn’t expect us to reread the entire thing rewritten from the guy’s perspective.
Gideon is meeting his his attorney/BFF, Arash, who briefly discuss some business matters that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot (verisimilitude, I guess) before the conversation turns towards Gideon’s surprise secret marriage, which seems reasonable.
“You showed no sign at all you were leaning [towards marriage],” Arash said […]
“When have you known me to delay sealing a deal?”
“It’s one thing to expand your portfolio, another to reboot your life overnight.”
Maybe it’s another thing entirely because these are totally different metaphors.
Suddenly, Gideon’s ex-wife Corinne unexpectedly storms past security to Gideon’s office. You might recall that one of the dozen subplots over the last few books is that Corinne is publishing a tell-all book about her relationship with Gideon. To win Gideon back. Through the sheer force of how her autobiography will be so emotional that Gideon will realize he needs to break up with Eva. This is not a particularly easy plan to look at as a real person and think “Ok, sounds good!”, but this is where Crossfire has been for a while now.
She had a small red box tucked under her arm. […] “These are the photos that will appear in the book.”
Seriously, this entire subplot is Gideon’s ex presenting him with reminders of their relationship and going “LOOK. LOOK AT OUR LOVE.” until something works.
“Eva and I were married last month.” […] I reached for my smartphone and showed her the picture wallpapering my screen— Eva and I sharing the kiss that sealed our vows.
Turning her head, Corinne looked away. Then she reached into the box, flipping through the top few photos to pull out one of us at the beach.
She looked at the picture, then at me. Her expectation was tangible, as if some monumental epiphany was supposed to strike me.
I’m just saying that it’s a little hard to take a book seriously when one of its key subplots is literally a Nickelback song.
Even the characters in this book don’t understand why this subplot is still a thing.
“What do you expect these photos to prove, Corinne? We dated. We ended. You married, and now I have. There’s nothing left.”
“Then why are you getting so upset?”
I think what bothers me the most about this subplot is that it’s unclear if Corinne is supposed to be completely out of touch with reality, especially because that honestly describes every minor character’s motivations.
Eva shows up during this meeting. My Kindle helpfully informed me that 122 people highlighted this line:
Would the day ever come when I would see her and not feel the earth shift beneath my feet?
But somehow not this line:
The surge of heat I felt was all the proof I needed as to which woman was sexier.
Corinne leaves, suggesting that Gideon should finish going through the photos. This either suggests there’s something super scandalous in there that’s gonna come up later, or just suggests that Corinne’s subplot has to beg for relevancy. Or both!
After work, Eva fills Gideon in on her plan to diminish public interest in any tell-all Gideon’s jilted ex could publish by having some personal, candid photos of them taken and sold to the media, making their relationship look solid. Because nothing says solid relationship like “We can sell [photos of ourselves] to the media and donate the proceeds to [charity].” Love comes in many forms, I guess.
They have a much more awkward conversation about not having sex until their public wedding. Their therapist suggested they stop using sex as a crutch. I would argue that Gideon has bigger problems than that.
“Eva, we’re already married. You can’t ask me to keep my hands off you.”
“I am asking.”
Her mouth twitched. “You can’t say no.”
I’m so glad that we’re on book five of this series and Gideon has experienced so little personal growth that he’s still oblivious to basic ideas like consent, and this is still not recognized as the problem.
We also learn that Eva has scheduled their public wedding to be on Gideon’s birthday, which – I shit you not – she has only just learned by Googling her husband and finding it on a fan blog. I shit you not.
“there was a post about us on this fan site. There was-”
“Yep. There are whole sites and blogs dedicated to you. What you’re wearing, who you’re dating, events you’re attending. […] The one I went to had all your stats: height, weight, eye color, birth date… everything. To be honest, it freaked me out a little that some total stranger knew other details about you that I don’t”
Yeah, I’ll give her that.
On the plus side, if there’s one thing that this series does well, at least has Eva and Gideon going to couples therapy, and it presents this as a genuinely good thing and frequently points out actual problems with their relationship.
“Eva stopped seeing you.”
“And speaking to me.”
He looked at Eva. “Was that because Gideon hired your boss away from the agency you work for?”
Fun fact: Eva and Gideon had a brief conversation about her quitting her job earlier this chapter and this didn’t come up.
“You left your job, Eva?” Dr. Petersen asked. “Why?”
“We couldn’t keep going in circles, having the same arguments.”
I love when a book unintentionally summarizes itself.
“Gideon, what do you think about how Eva handled the situation?”
It took me a minute to answer. “It felt like a goddamned time warp, but a hundred times worse.”
I think this would be a little more effective if we understood what a time warp felt like in the first place.
A frequent criticism we make about the romance novels we read on this blog are the insane timelines that they take place on. Thankfully, One With You recognizes that things are moving a little fast here, but probably not as much as it should, because “a little” isn’t quite what’s up here…
“You’re both driving your relationship forward on an accelerated schedule. It’s only been three months since you two met for the first time.”
I’M SORRY, IT HAS BEEN HOW LONG? The entirety of this romance novel – which is four books of two people meeting and then getting married – has only taken place over three months?
“At this point, most couples are deciding to date exclusively, but you two have been married for nearly a month.”
I felt my shoulders going back. “What’s the point in delaying the inevitable?”
What’s more romantic than “shrug it’s inevitable”?
If there’s a criticism to make about the therapy scenes, though, it’s that it’s kind of just an excuse to have more scenes where Gideon and Eva argue and fight with each other. On the plus side, they’re usually a little more productive!
I shook my head. “It’s not resentment. It’s … frustration. I can’t walk away, but she can.”
“That’s not fair! And it’s not true. The only leverage I’ve got is to make you miss me. I try talking it out with you, but in the end, you do what you want. You don’t tell me things, don’t consult me. […] My right to decide, to say yes or no, is fucking important to me! You’ve got no business taking that away from me or getting pissed when I don’t like it!”
“Jesus.” Reality check. It felt like I’d taken a punch to the gut. […] “Angel, I didn’t mean to make you feel powerless. I would never. Ever. I didn’t think of it that way. I’m … I’m sorry.”
The words weren’t enough; they never were. […]
“I wouldn’t say that what either of you compromised was ‘little’.” [Dr. Petersen said.] “You may not be sharing everything […] If you continue to maneuver each other into situations where you feel threatened, you will eventually trigger one of these self-defense mechanisms.”
The chapter ends with Gideon and Eva at dinner, teasing each other about how hard it’s going to be to not have sex again until after the wedding. I am weirdly hopeful that the entire final book in this series is just these two characters and their hilarious struggle to not get it on.