In typical Wang fashion, her writing is so tight and fast-paced that I couldn’t stop reading once I started. Right off the bat, I was fully invested and needed to know the outcome for these powerful characters, who are not just relatable, but loveable. Wang is a cut above the rest, with her humor, sharp wit, engulfing plot, and honesty. Her wonderful use of imagery, similes and metaphors make for one highly entertaining ride.
While the book is the love story of Theo and Rose, it is more the tale of Theo and his salvation. This flawed man comes from a rough background and has turned into a degenerate gambler in Vegas, who prefers the slot machines over eating. His dream had been to be a magician, but after a short stint with the circus, from age sixteen to eighteen, he found himself in the heart of Nevada, living day by day as an escort for wealthy cougars. The years fly by until he can no longer take the anguish his obsession has led to and he winds up on a rooftop with a gun in his mouth.
In walks Rose. She’s gorgeous, foul-mouthed, feisty, but a woman with an unshakeable foundation. Determined to climb the ladder as a producer, she is left with little downtime and forgoes family and friends for work. Luckily, Theo meets her on one of the rare nights she lets loose, as she unwittingly joins him on the roof. So begins their highly emotional relationship, where he does whatever he can to present a better front to her, and she tries to unravel the mystery of Theo. Rose is a firm believer in Paying It Forward and is always eager to help the downtrodden whenever possible, so when she surprisingly runs into him six months later, she takes him under her wing and they struggle to find out not just who the other person is, but who they are themselves.
The story is engrossing and touches upon betrayal, deceit, the unconditional love of family and friends, addiction – gambling for Theo and work for Rose – and the strength that comes from putting your trust in someone else. Like many of her other works, Wang started this with a bang that sucked me in. The ending was quick, but concrete, and the shocking twist put a whole new spin on the story that forced me to take a closer look at Theo and how he became the man he is today. The writing is strong and entertaining. There was only one part of the story that lost me, when Rose drags a crestfallen and desperate Theo to her hometown, where she presents him to her loved ones as her latest Pay It Forward recipient. There is a drawn-out scene where he is introduced to a long list of characters from the rest of the series. This book does not have to be read in order, but for those who have not already appreciated the other Northbridge Nights books it doesn’t add much to the story. They are wonderful characters and I wish they could have been given more attention here, but they are more like a cast tossed in to tie them all together and solidify the ending. Each couple has a fascinating story to tell, so I highly suggest starting with book one to gain a full understanding of the depth of the relationships hinted at.
For the rating:
- Genre and general reading age – Romance for adults only.
- Level of sexuality – This book is scorching hot with an NC-17 rating. Prepare yourself for some scenes of love and some that are a bit painful to read and touch upon the darker side of sex.
- Is there graphic language? You bet. There is a good use of the F-word, but Rose admits openly to swearing like a sailor, and Theo curses like any man down on his luck who can’t remember a happy day.
- Did I laugh? Of course! Wang never fails to bring her sarcasm and sharp wit to the table.
- Did I cry? Thankfully, no, but Theo’s story is full of strife and my heart broke for him over and over.
- Is this part of a series? This is book four of the Northbridge Nights series.
- Level of character development – Theo is a fully-fleshed out individual. He knows and accepts his weaknesses in a manner that is touching, and every person who takes an honest look at themselves can understand. Throughout the entire book he is an intense character that incites many emotions. Rose is a delightful character, but she doesn’t stand out as much as he does. Like I said, it’s Theo’s story. That being said, she is a joy to experience. The villain, psycho eighteen-year-old Hester, is phenomenally written and makes your skin crawl in more ways than one. While she is a vital part of the story, she doesn’t have as much time dedicated to her, but her presence is strongly felt from the moment she is introduced to the very end.
Some authors are able to capture their audience instantly and keep them tied to the characters, desperate to discover how it will all play out. Wang is one such author. If you haven’t read anything by Miss Jackie Wang, I more than strongly encourage you to pick up any of her books. Rogue is one more example of her talent and grasp of human nature – the good and the bad. This is more than a love story and stands on its own. I gladly give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars and recommend you pick it up today.