by Mariah Dietz
A Contemporary Romance – Released January 9, 2018
And to make matters worse, he looks good doing it—too good.
Joey DeLuca should have been nothing but a maddening memory, a blip on my radar during my three month sabbatical in my small hometown while I get back on my feet.
My time back home was supposed to be simple. Easy. Fast.
But he’s everywhere I go, invading my thoughts, and stealing my attention.
Is it possible to hate the same person I can’t get enough of?
Is there really an exception to every rule?
Find Exception on GOODREADS
4 “Jelly Bean” stars!
Graduating at the top of her class with honors and dual degrees, Kennedy Wallace had big dreams for her future. Moving out of her small home town and getting a great job was supposed to jumpstart her life, especially since she had everything she thought she needed to succeed. Ten years later, Kennedy isn’t where she had expected. She doesn’t have a well-paying job despite her qualifications, she’s left wanting more than a no-strings-attached relationship, and she can’t pay her rent. Reluctantly, she heads home to live with her parents in hopes of making some money from subletting her small one-bedroom apartment in Boston. Her plan is to stay in Haven Point, Virginia for a few months until she gets back on her feet. But you know what they say about best laid plans…
Joey DeLuca is a detective in DC; however, after he gets too invested in a case, he is forced to take a step back. During his leave, he visits his brother in Haven Point. When he first meets Kennedy there is an instant attraction no matter how much they deny it. Neither have plans for a relationship but they can’t seem to stay away from each other and as they open up to one another, so do their feelings.
Exception is a story about letting go of fear, learning to trust, and finding love when you least expect it. Throw in two complicated characters and you get a whole lot of messy before things get better. It is more emotional and deeper than I expected but it has moments of fun banter that helps lighten the heavy themes.
In the beginning, you think you know where the story is going. But as it unravels it becomes more complex with every layer. The characters are well-developed and my heart hurt for what they go through.
Kennedy is defeated. Her self-doubt is devastating but she is determined to figure out her life. It takes going home and facing things head on to help her grow and learn what is important to her. She is feisty and funny especially when she stands her ground. She wasn’t easily intimidated by the sexy detective that seemed to be everywhere she looked and there was something about him that called to her. She doesn’t expect him to get under her skin but he does. I loved that Joey opened her eyes to what she wanted and offered his support even when they hit a lot of bumps in the road.
“Life isn’t about being comfortable. It’s supposed to hurt. If it were painless and easy, we’d forget why we fight so hard to live.”
Joey is great at his job but he takes it home with him and can’t separate work from life. It’s understandable that everything he sees as a detective makes him skeptical of everyone around him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t usually see the good in people, leading him to act like a jerk a lot of the time. It takes him a long time to learn to trust and Kennedy is the stepping stones of his progress.
“You were right when you said it’s hard for me to trust people. Somedays it feels damn near impossible, and for some godforsaken reason, you just seem to bypass every single one of my barriers, and you’ve become my exception to literally everything.”
Kennedy affects him like no one else and he feels a pull toward her. His feelings are strong but he can’t always accept them. I loved watching him fall for her and wanting so much more than just another hook-up.
I want to know her past, and more than that, I want to be written into the Chapters of her future.
Kennedy and Joey clash from the moment they meet. Both have misconceived notions and it’s not until they really get to know each other that they realize how wrong they were. I loved watching them get to know each other and the surprise moments they found at the pond. Their feelings grow and felt real yet it takes a while before they can find a routine that works for them. They don’t always know how to express their feelings and often times they say the wrong thing sending them two steps back for every one step forward creating heartache. I wanted them to work through the details of their relationship sooner, and though I understand where each are coming from, they both pushed more than I would have liked. Kennedy jumps from hot to cold a few too many times and Joey questions Kennedy’s feelings a bit too much. When the lightbulb goes off though, they are all in and I loved the way the story wrapped up.
I loved the secondary characters in this story. Curveball, the first book in the Haven Point series featuring Joey’s younger brother was wonderful and I was so excited to get more of the DeLuca clan. Coen, Ella, and even Hayden are back and I enjoyed the parts they played in this story. It was so nice to catch up with them. Seeing the strength of the relationship between Joey and Coen made me happy and gave us good insight to how Joey is with the people he loves.
I also love Kennedy and Violet’s relationship and I couldn’t keep from wanting to be part of their little group. They’re so much fun together but still can be serious when they need to be. They offer unconditional support while being rational.
Grace and Kennedy have a unique relationship that is very emotional and my heart physically hurt when I learned of everything Grace went through. The fear was very real and I wanted to cry for them.
Overall, I enjoyed this emotional read and I hope there are new Haven Point books in the future because I would love more of the DeLuca family, Grace, and Violet!
*ARC generously provided by the author and Give Me Books Promotions via NetGalley*
*Free in Kindle Unlimited*
About the Author
Mariah Dietz lives with her husband and two sons, who are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world in North Carolina.
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent most of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.
She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.