Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Half Empty (First Wives #2) by Catherine Bybee

"Darlin', every time I look at you, I feel the need for a room." - Wade Thomas

Half Empty
Series: First Wives #2
Author: Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: July 31, 2018
Source: Publisher

Buy Links: Amazon - Barnes & Noble
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Trina Petrov’s marriage-by-contract was only meant to be temporary. But when tragedy strikes, Trina is left one of the wealthiest women in the world. To recover from the shock, she takes some time off in Italy, swearing not to fall for any men while there. But that doesn’t mean she can’t fall for anyone on the trip home . . .

Country-music superstar Wade Thomas is lying low in a hotel bar when he gets the cold shoulder from the woman next to him. He’s used to fans fawning at his boots, and Trina is a refreshing change—so is the fact that she has no idea who he is.

As things begin to heat up, Trina discovers that the circumstances of her late husband’s death are not what they seemed. Now she’s in trouble, and Wade isn’t about to let her out of his sight. Getting close to love and danger could get them killed . . . or it could sweep them both off their feet.

As much as I adore Catherine's books, there is something extra special about her First Wives series. Of course, there's the strong female friendship that is a staple in Catherine's works. Then there's the hero and heroine who, while strong on their own, compliment each other perfectly. Where one is weak, the other is strong. Where one is lacking, the other steps up to fill the void. I always love how her characters are the perfect balance. The element that I'm enjoying the most is how deeply connected the books are in the series. Events that happened in the first book play a big role in Half Empty, which in turn plays a role in the next book. I love how each book is connected. It gives the story more depth and I find myself more invested in the series.

Trina and Wade were so wonderfully developed if felt as if I've known them for years. Still reeling from her husband's death, Trina's tired of people looking at her differently. So when Wade pops into her life with a spontaneous trip to a remote location, Trina throws caution to the wind and agrees. Wade doesn't quite know what to think of Trina. The fact that she has no idea of his celebrity status is foreign to Wade. One thing is for sure, he'll do anything to protect her. What starts off as a quick trip sparks a whirlwind romance in the midst of danger. They grow closer while trying to investigate the truth about her husband's death. All things point to foul play, but that doesn't mean things are as they seem.

Truth be told, I've been off and on with Catherine's books. When I first discovered her, I couldn't get enough. Then, as usual, I got behind. Now that I'm caught up on her most recent works, I find myself wanting to go back and read the books that I missed. As for Half Empty, I devoured it. Now the wait begins for Avery's book.

They closed the bar and took their last round to the hotel lobby. 

Wade had to admit he was a bit more than tipsy, and Trina wasn’t exactly sober. She’d tucked her feet under her on the lobby sofa as she described Venice in a way that made him want to visit. 

“There isn’t one car?” he asked. 

“No place for them. You only get around on foot or boat. Which is probably best to help counter the pasta you consume while you’re there.” 

“So why did you pick Venice?” 

Her eyes drifted away, something Wade had noticed happened a lot when she was lost in thought. A hint of sorrow quickly came and went, almost as if she caught herself. The smile she flashed felt forced. “I wanted isolation so I could study.” 

“Study?” She rattled off something that went completely over his head.

Her dark brown eyes glistened with her smile. “I’m learning Italian.” 

Wade blew out a breath. “Oh, thank God. I thought maybe that last beer was one too many.” 

“I like languages.” 

“As in many?” 

“A few.” 

He was happy to speak English. “I’m impressed.” 

“Don’t be. Most Europeans are fluent in a minimum of two languages.” 

“Are you from Europe?” 

“No. Born and raised in Southern California. My grandparents on my mother’s side are from Mexico. Spanish was always spoken in our home.” 

“So you speak Spanish as well?” He squirmed in his chair. 


“Now I’m feelin’ a bit inferior.” 

“Language is my hidden talent,” she said. 

“So how did you end up in Texas?” 

Her gaze met his before she wrinkled her nose and gave a quick shake of the head. “It’s a long story.” 

“Which is your way of saying don’t pry.” 

She stretched out her arms. “It’s my way of saying that we’ve had a pleasant conversation, and bringing up my recent move will change all that. I’d just as soon keep this light.” 

Wade wasn’t expecting her reply. “Now you’ve piqued my interest.” 

“Another time,” she said. 

He offered a smile that usually had women crawling all over him. “Am I going to have that chance?” 

“Chance for what?” 

“Another conversation.” 

Her eyes bored into him as if he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. “I told you, I’m not interested.” 

He lifted one eyebrow, flashed a dimple. “What if I told you I was rich?” 

She burst out in laughter. 

His smile fell. 

“Sorry…” She appeared to pull in her mirth. “You’re gonna have to do better than money.” 

“Good lord, woman.” 


He scratched his head. “I’m famous.” 

She bit her lip. “That explains the arrogance.” 

Wade placed a hand on his wounded chest. “I am not.” 

Trina tossed her head back, and her deep laugh filled the empty lobby. “My name is Wade Thomas, you don’t know who I am?” Her mimicry of him was off by several octaves. 

Her laughter tickled his gut.

“I can teach you the two-step.”

She pinched her lips together, trying to contain herself. 

His pride was starting to dim. 

“I’m not bad looking.” 

She looked him up and down … twice. “I’ll give you that.” 

He lifted both hands in the air. “Finally.” 

For the span of a full minute, she stared. Her smile slowly started to fall, and he knew she was talking herself out of dating him. 

“Tell you what. I’m flying home tomorrow. Private charter, because I’m rich, famous, and arrogant.” He moaned on that last word. 

“And good-looking.” 

Now they were getting somewhere. 

“I can give you a lift home.” 

Trina blew out a breath. “I’m avoiding going home,” she reminded him. 

“And I was thinking I needed a quick stop in Nassau … where the plane might not be able to leave right away. That tropical depressed storm and all.” 

She pointed a finger in his direction. “I like the way you think.”

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than 4.5 million copies and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series.

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