ARC REVIEW: Laid Out (Worth the Fight #4) by Sidney Halston

♦♦♦ RELEASE DATE AUGUST 18TH ♦♦♦

We’ve met Violet and Cain previously in the Worth the Fight series. Even though there’s some minor backstory from Below the Belt (book 3), readers can easily pick up Laid Out as a standalone without missing a beat. I do recommend you go back and read the other couples’ stories in this series.

OK, on to Violet and Cain…

We start off with Violet as a sixteen year old – Violet lost her mom at an early age and is being raised by her father, who is career military and not exactly the soft, coddling type (I’m being nice here!). Violet is a little bit on the plump side (at least according to Daddy Dearest), she’s had a rough time at school because of bullies, but she has her two best buddies, Cain and Jeremy. The three have been thick as thieves since childhood, even though Jeremy and Cain are a few years older.  On the day that Cain and Jeremy are leaving for their first deployment, Cain and Violet share a kiss — Violet’s first kiss! Violet has feelings for Cain and vice versa but nothing more develops between them after that kiss.  OTOH, Jeremy steps up to the plate and makes his feelings for Violet known. That leaves Cain on the sidelines watching his two besties plan a life together, while he pines secretly for Violet. Even after Jeremy dies, Cain still can’t let himself go after his best friend’s girl.

Present day finds Violet and Cain living in the same town for the first time in many years. Their relationship is strained to say the least. Cain is in love with Violet but his loyalty to Jeremy and his guilt over secretly wanting Violet all these years won’t let him cross the line. For at least the first half of Laid Out, I must say, Cain got on my ever-loving nerves with his back and forth — “I want her. I can’t have her…she’s Jeremy’s fiancé. I’m not good enough.” bullshhh…he’s overprotective and sweet one moment then he’s downright mean the next. I wanted Cain to man up and either leave Violet alone or tell her once and for all how he felt in no uncertain terms. And, most of all, stop being such a dickwad to her.

Don’t get me wrong, I love an angsty read, but the emotional hero who won’t just say it plain is something that grates on my already frayed nerves. Violet is the reason I couldn’t give up on Laid Out. Violet has a soft heart, she’s forgiving of Cain but she wasn’t a push over. Nor was Violet afraid to say it what needed to be said.

She’s had some tough times along the way but she’s not hung up on her past and has decided to dive back into the dating pool to find her Mr. Right…or at least Mr. Right Now.  I loved the interactions between Violet and JL throughout which brought some much needed levity to this story.

After a somewhat slow start, the pace of Laid Out really picks up at the halfway point when Cain finally throws caution to the wind and decides to “help” Violet get over her nervousness around dating and sex. Cain hopes that if Violet can be comfortable dating and find someone she can move on with then Cain can finally let her go.

When Violet and Cain finally cross that line between friends and lovers, hold on to your panties! This is when we see what Cain really is made of and Violet’s strength shines as well.

Cain still has to figure out some things, but I’ll let you read that for yourself, I’ve given enough away already.

Laid Out is a great addition to the Worth the Fight series — my fave of the series thus far! I thoroughly enjoyed this angsty friends-to-lovers tale — even when I wanted to reach through my kindle and smack some sense into Cain.  I’ll be waiting none-too-patiently for JL and Enzo next!

*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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