Hi everyone! Today I’m reviewing two books in a contemporary romance series I’ve read recently: Things We Never Got Over and Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score. These are the first and second books in the Knockemout series – the third installment, Things We Left Behind, is releasing in September 2023 and has now become one of my most anticipated reads of the year! So without further ado, let’s get into the reviews.
Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon.
Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.
Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way…with fists and beer. Usually in that order.
Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.
There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.
At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.
Things We Never Got Over is a hugely popular book that for some reason I hadn’t picked up yet (honestly, I didn’t even really know what it was about, despite seeing the cover around a lot) but with the second installment in this series now also released, I just wanted to try it and see what it was about. I went in with no expectations, and I got HOOKED pretty much from the first chapter! I thought it was ROMANCE GOLD. This story really aced all of the things I’m looking for in a contemporary romance.
Here’s a quick rundown of everything I loved:
- The small town setting – I fell in love with the quirky little town of Knockemout and all of its inhabitants just as Naomi did. I kind of want to move there now.
- The sunshine/grump dynamic – Naomi and Knox are the perfect sunshine/grump pairing. Knox is actually a big grump and I love how he stays a big grump with a foul mouth throughout the story, but we just learn he also has a soft heart, especially when it comes to Naomi. And Naomi is the perfect foil for Knox, she’s the sweetest soul and OMG their bickering was hilarious. I loved their romance and I felt like it was the perfect slow-burn (and also quite steamy).
- The family vibes (found and real alike) – Okay, first and foremost is of course the relationship between Naomi and her 11-year old niece Waylay. I felt like we had a pretty realistic buildup of their relationship and I adored their scenes together. And then there’s the bond between Knox and Waylay, which was just adorable all on its own. Then there’s also Naomi’s parents who are a hoot, as is Stef, her life-long best friend. And of course I also loved the friendships Naomi cultivates in Knockemout and how she really becomes a part of the town. There are just so many amazing relationships explored in this story and I loved every single one of them!
- The mystery at the background of the plot – With the evil-twin storyline, you just know there is some good mystery and drama in there too. Normally I would feel like this might be overkill in a mostly romance book, but I ATE IT UP. The focus is always on the romance aspect, but I did like that little bit of mystery and action that we got.
Overall, I just loved this story so much. I know it’s a story I’ll be re-reading often in the future. If I’d have to give one downside, it would be that it is quite a long book. With all the steamy scenes (and there are a lot of them) I would have happily traded in 1 or 2 of those scenes for some extra bonding scenes with Waylay. That said, this was really a minor thing to me because I could have happily spent a few more hours in Knockemout.
So I’d highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good small town romance, tattooed grumps and runaway sunshine brides, found families, friendships and emotions and a ton of humor. Oh, and an epic ending, with not one but two satisfying epilogues.
Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares. He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbor, smart and sexy Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too. The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk.
Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever. A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way. Once she gets what she’s after, she has no intention of sticking around. But Knockemout has a way of getting under people’s skin. And once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded…even if it means facing the danger that nearly killed him.
I loved Things We Never Got Over so much that I immediately dived into book two, Things We Hide From The Light. This book focuses on Nash Morgan, Knox’s brother, chief of police and overall charming, good guy, who is known throughout town for having a butt that looks amazing in his uniform. After having been shot in book one, Nash is struggling with panic attacks, but he refuses to let anyone know or ask for help. But then his sexy, badass new neighbour moves in and he’s feeling things he hasn’t felt in a long time.
While I didn’t adore this quite as much as I did the first book (no one will ever compare to Naomi and Knox, sorry Nash!) it was still an amazing read.
Here’s a quick rundown of everything I loved:
- More small town shenanigans – this time our main heroine Lina is the new girl in town and while she’s definitely not planning on staying (she’s not one to stay in one place for long) it isn’t long until the baristas know her order, she’s going to gym classes with her elderly neighbour (one of the most hilarious scenes ever), the whole town is cheering her fling with Nash on and even Lina has to admit she’s falling in love with Knockemout too (right there with you, girl!).
- More opposites attract romance – The romance shouldn’t work on paper: the charming, good-guy chief of police who values honestly above all, has roots in town and a desire to get married and the rebel, bad girl who doesn’t like staying in one place for long, has so many secrets and who doesn’t do relationships. But the chemistry is undeniable nevertheless.
- More action – While in book one the action is more in the background, it is becoming a lot more prominent in book two. We have the mystery of who shot Nash, the mystery of Lina’s job, why she’s here and what it has to do with Nash, and some after effects of the events of book one. While still a romance book overall, I do think this had a lot more action and mystery involved as well and I loved watching it all unravel and come to an epic ending.
- More humor – While this is definitely a story with some serious topics, I have to say the humor is still on point. There were a few scenes that had me cackling like crazy while listening in my car.
- More dogs – We already had a lot of adorable dogs in book one, but this time Nash rescues an adorable little dog and gives her a home and spoils her with toys and little sweaters and it is just absolutely adorable. Piper FTW!
- Lots more Knockemout crew & Naomi and Knox – As much as I loved Lina and Nash, I was always so thrilled to see those familiar characters again and seeing Lina and Nash interact with them all. They’ve really become such a tight-knit circle of friends, a found family and I loved every moment with them all. And of course, I loved every scene we got to see Naomi and Knox again.
Overall, I loved this book. Fair warning though, if you thought book one was too long for you, then book two is even longer. But for me, I was fine with that if it meant spending more time with this hilarious and heartwarming Scooby gang. Definitely recommend if you love small town romances, opposites attract, charming good guys who talk very dirty, badass girls, adorable dogs and a whole cast of quirky yet loveable secondary characters.