The Heart of a Story: Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Heart of the Story
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Going from a pep talk about visualizing success to lying flat on her back hugging her teen idol and fangirling all over him is not how Kailyn Flowers thought her first morning of law school would go. Unfortunately for her, this does not prove to be the case where the most embarrassing moment of her life can be locked up and the key thrown away. Her Embarrassment is in every class of law school, and he enjoys debating and competing with her.

For an idolized teen star of a hugely popular TV series, Daxton “Dax” Hughes doesn’t have the massive ego that you would think goes hand-in-hand with fame. Instead, he is a conscientious law student, a caring son, and a down-to-earth loving brother to his teen sister, Emme.

While Kailyn breathes a sigh of relief that she and Dax parted ways after law school, to her chagrin, he shows up in her law office five years later. He comes along with his parents when they set up a trust for Emme.

The next time Kailyn and Dax meet, is a week after his parents tragically pass away in a horrific accident. He has come to enquire whether Emme’s trust is secure and whether the guardianship is appropriately set up to protect her.

Not knowing the adult Dax, Kailyn naturally deals with his request with suspicion. Given that Dax has been appointed Emme’s guardian through their parents’ will, Kailyn is outwardly amenable to going over the paperwork with him. However, she reserves judgment whether he is acting in Emme’s best interests or screwing her over. To compound matters, Emme’s aunt sues Dax for Emme’s custody, and Kailyn is named Emme’s conservator while the case is fought out in court.

Kailyn has also been tasked by her boss to beguile Dax into joining their law firm if she wants to make partner. Luckily for her, she is now over her crush for him, but regrettably, she is now on a headlong trajectory into lust and love with him.

Getting to know Emme better to save her from further trauma, involves spending more time with Emme, which involves spending more time with Dax. The more time the three of them spend together, the more they realize that they enjoy each other’s company very much. And Kailyn and Dax’s attraction to each other grows apace.

This is one of those rare romance novels that can showcase a tender romance even in the midst of overwhelming grief. While sorrow is ever-present, Hunting takes great care to convey how the emotional bond is not one solely of comfort and pity. While there is empathy and care for each other, there is also sexual attraction, an intellectual meeting of minds, admiration, respect and an adult emotional connection that transcends the quotidian.

Thus, Hunting daringly and sensitively shows that even in the midst of a custody battle and bone-deep grief, it is possible for love to bloom. As the Dalai Lama says, “Sentient beings strive to survive and they do so by having a desire for happiness.” People are made to be happy — that is our norm – and we survive despair by aiming for happiness. That is how Kailyn survived the loss of her parents and that is how Dax and Emme deal with their loss.

Hunting gives the reader a superb immersion into lawyerly roles and details. She manages the delicate balance of well-researched scene-setting without letting it overwhelm the developing relationship between Kailyn and Emme and the romance between Kailyn and Dax.     

Meet Cute is a novel where you will laugh and cry — sometimes, on the same page. It is a story of kindness and affection, sassiness and tenderness, where joy and sorrow are intermingled. You don’t want to miss this book.

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