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A brief response, but I really liked this story. I liked how fully the characters, Alyssa and Joe, were developed. They felt complete. "Asking for Trouble" had a strong undercurrent of melancholy, and for me that made the story even fuller, made the sweet sweeter, more special, like the 1/2 tsp of salt used when making cookies.
I love this series, "The Kincaids." I've loved reading it for sundry reasons, but one of my favorite parts is that in all three the author doesn't use that ridiculous and trite Tension in the relationship ~75% into the book, where the characters have a misunderstanding and are too puerile to discuss it as real adults would. I love how relatable that and that alone makes the characters, let alone all the other wonderful pieces of these books!
Alyssa, thirty, comes from an intact, functional, healthy family: her parents are still happily married, and her older twin brothers (Gabe from "Welcome to Paradise" and Alec from "Nothing Personal") are happy and very successful in both their personal and professional lives. Alyssa, while independent, hasn't attained the same level of success, either personally or professionally, as her brothers. She's struggling to find her footing at work, partly because she hasn't found her passion, and also partly because of bad luck (no one asks for a misogynistic, harassing boss). Alyssa seems closer to Alec than Gabe, and while he clearly adores his younger sister, he also treats her as a child, belittling her and refusing to understand that his interference and comments hurt and do damage. (It is to the author's credit that even though Alec annoys, we the reader never lose our affection for him -- we are able to see this as thickheaded older sibling syndrome).
Joe, Alec's best friend / partner in business / former college roommate, has had the opposite experience, and it's sad. It's actually tragic, and, unfortunately for all of us, his history is also not uncommon. Joe is evidently gifted with his engineering and lucky that as a freshman he was paired with Alec, as together they've made programming magic. Professionally, Joe is on top of the world.
Joe and Alyssa met when Joe accompanied Alec home to Chico (from Palo Alto) his freshman year; Alyssa was also a freshman, but in high school. Because of Joe's close relationship to Alec's family (esp his parents), he's always felt as if Alyssa were off-limits. It takes a good portion of the book but they navigate their way through their fifteen year friendship to find an adult, romantic relationship, and it's work for both of them.
While in the previous two books of this series it was the female characters who had the angtsy back stories, in this it is both Alyssa and Joe who bring complicated dishes to the table. Because the author did such a fine job (though totally without bathos) showing us (vice telling us) Alyssa's and Joe's individual interiors, every little piece makes sense. At least, I don't recall every thinking "oh you have got to be kidding me!" and throwing my hands up in disgust. (There was one "are you kidding me?" involving Alyssa's San Francisco boss which did elicit an eye roll, but that is such a minor nit and not as important because it doesn't affect the legitimacy of Alyssa and Joe's relationship.)
Ultimately, a lovely, adult story about two people who love each other and want to love each other: they actively work and work hard on their relationship and on their own personal issues.
I am not unbiased: I've thoroughly enjoyed every book I've read by this author (both her "Escape to New Zealand" and "The Kincaids" series), and I think the more she writes the more she comes into her own as a storyteller. If I see she's coming out with a book I don't even think once, let alone twice about purchasing it on the spot. Hers are romances for readers like me (+ you): worldly, smart, strong.