Updated: Feb 1
by Avery Flynn
Published by Entangled: Amara
Book #1 in the Hartigans Series
It’s true. I’m not what most people would call “pretty” and, well, high school was rough.
Fast forward ten years and life is good…
Until a bunch of jerks think it’s hilarious to put the “butterface” (AKA me) on a wedding Kiss Cam with the hottest guy ever—and that old humiliation hits hard.
I recognize him immediately. The sexiest cop in Waterbury and totally out of my league.
But then he kisses me. And we totally forget the room, the crowd, everything.
Then he tells everyone we’ve been dating for months.
Soon everything starts to feel too real, from adorable fights over “necessary” tools to fix my broken porch to surviving a free-for-all dinner with his six siblings to picking up where our last kiss left off.
But there’s something he’s not telling me about why he’s really hanging around, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my mob-connected brothers.
Because this is not a make-over story, and Cinderella is only a fairy tale…
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy #ContemporaryRomance Feel Good
Butterface by Avery Flynn is the first book in her Hartigan's series. The series features each Hartigan sibling finding love in unexpected place. This first book focuses on Ford, one of the middle siblings, and the only boy in a set of triplets. He is the only male in three generations who didn't become a fireman, and ended up becoming a Detective with the police instead. His romantic interest is Gina Luca, a wedding planner, with a past of severe bullying because of her big nose, and with a family who is tied to the mob.
I really loved this book! I am always hesitant to read a book from an unfamiliar author (I'm not great with change, to be honest), but I think I found a new author to add to my favorites list! Romance is hard to make unique, and while I went into thinking this would be like the O'Brien series by Cecy Robson, it isn't like that at all. Yes, they are both Irish families, Catholic, with lots of kids, but that's where the similarities end. I had it finished in a day, because I couldn't put it down. It was fun, sexy, intriguing, and at times, a little sad ... especially when it comes to bullying. It does lead to one of the things I really loved about this book though. Every book I have come across, where the woman protagonist isn't your stereotypical beauty, and after a make-over she becomes beautiful and the man falls in love with her ... it falls a bit flat. This is the first time that not only do we have a female character that isn't your classic beauty, but in the end, she embraces her looks, and still gets the hot guy. We need more stories like this.
I LOVED the characters. Gina is both strong as hell, and vulnerable. The fact that she is still made fun of for something as simple as having a big nose (and eyes too big for her face) bums me out. She labels herself as an "undateable", which while I hate that, I also get it. She is super witty, and sassy, and there is just something I love about her personality. I gotta admit, I kinda fell for Ford. Yeah, he is awkward in a way. Doesn't always say the right thing. Totally OCD. But the guy is a sweetheart. I love that he was attracted to Gina from the first chapter, and in the end, he loves her for her. Not despite her face. Just her as a person. The chemistry between these two really pops out at you, and anytime they were together, whether it was just them, or with their crazy families, I loved them. The Hartigan's are a fun family, and any scene here there is more than one in the room is guaranteed to make you laugh.
Great characters + Strong, interesting plot = Winner in my mind. I can't wait to start the next in the series, featuring the oldest sibling Frankie and Rita's best friend Lucy. And more of Avery's works!
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Ford: "Oh man. You can see their tongues. I should never have to see Partridge's tongue. That's gotta be a violation of something."
Rocco: "Who's in there with you?"
She yanked harder, but Ford didn't take the hint. The obstruction remained.
Gina: "No one"
Paul: "If our mother heard you lie like that, she's be lighting candles at church."
Ford: "I've been where you're at."
Gina: "Standing in a hotel room with your panties in your purse?"
Ford: "Not quite."
Ford: "So, walk me through this again. You were throwing your sledgehammer -"
Rocco: "What were you even doing with a thing like that? You coulda killed yourself."
Gina: "Grandpa's body has been trapped between the walls in the attic for years, and you're worried I'll brain myself with a sledgehammer?"
Rocco: "Excuse me for caring about my only sister."
Paul: "You'd say all of this in front of our sister, your girlfriend, without even a twitch of revulsion?" She's fucking delicate."
Gina: "I'm not delicate. I'm a grown woman."
Rocco: "And we're here to protect you. Because you can't trust the cops."
Ford's jaw clenched.
Gina: "I can trust him."
Gina: "I'm not talking to you about that. Look, they might be assholes, but they're my assholes."
Ford: "Your assholes?"
Gina: "You know what I mean."
Gina: "Her bones are strong. She just needs some touch-ups."
Ford: "It's a makeover story, huh?"
Gina: "No way. She's perfect just the way he is, she just needs someone to love her like she deserves."
Gina: "I was too busy following my dad around to job sites, which brings everything full circle, since he was a contractor and now I'm up to my nose in renovations."
Ford: "Speaking of which, you have something ..."
Ford leaned across, reaching across the table and swiping a bit of foam from the tip of her nose.
Ford: "Got it."
Gina: "Damn thing always gets in the way."
Ford: "I like your nose. It gives your face character."
Gina: "Oh yeah, that's just what everyone says."
Gina: "This guy is nuts."
Ford: "He's saving a skyscraper full of civilians."
Gina: "And his estranged wife. You didn't tell me your favorite action movie is really a romance."
Ford: "Not in the least."
Gina: "You really think he'd be breaking that many rules and regulations for just anyone? Come on, if it was just a building full of strangers, he totally would have handled it by the book."
Ford: "He's a cowboy."
Gina: "He's doing it for love. Trust me. Love is my business, I know of what I speak."
Gina: "You know, you're not so bad for a cop."
Ford: "I guess I'll take that as a compliment?"
Gina: "From someone with my last name? You totally should."
Gina: "Don't worry about me. My life has gotten a lot better since I've accepted who I am and said a collective fuck-you to the assholes of the world."
Ford: "Accepted who you are?"
Gina: "And undateable."
Ford: "That's not right."
Gina: "The world is a visual place. People judge others on what they look like, from skin color to age to physical ability to prettiness, within seconds of meeting. You know it's true. They've done so many studies to show how beautiful people have more opportunities than those with average looks - or less-than-average looks."
Ford: You are not ugly."
Ford: "I wish you saw the woman I see when I look at you."
Gina: "Detective Hartigan. I never would have guessed that you're a romantic."
Ford: "I guess I'm full of surprises."
Gina: "Not gonna happen, Officer Bossy."
Ford: "Is it because of the price?"
Ford: "You know I trap people in lies for a living, right?"
He stepped in close, his next words brushing against the shell of her ear and sending her heart rate into overdrive.
Ford: " I know you're lying."
Gina: "How's that?"
Ford: "Because you're gonna make your bottom lip bleed if you chew on it any more."
Ford: "Your friends don't give you presents?"
Gina: "Is that what we are? Friends?"
Ford: "With handyman benefits. Don't forget that part."
Kate: "I'd always wanted a big family though, and boy did that fertility treatment take."
Ford: "Mom. She doesn't want to know that."
Kate: "What? It's not like I told her about the injections and the timing of certain things and the little cup your father had to carry around with him."
Hartigan siblings: "Moooooooom!"
A piece of ham had somehow ended up hanging from the ceiling fan, Finin had applesauce splattered across his shirt, and Ford had a glob of mashed potatoes on his cheek. It wasn't until she reached up to wipe it off that she realized quite how close she was to him. Really close. Like feel-the-heat-of-him-against-her-nipples kind of close. Then he gave her that super hot half-smile and all forebrain function ceased and she gave in to the wonderful want of it, as he started to lean down and she raised herself to her tiptoes to bring her right in line with his mouth. Her eyes started to flutter closed, she tilted her head, and -
Kate: "So, you two aren't dating?"
Gina: "No ma'am."
Kate: "Huh. We'll see about that."
Kate: "So. You and Gina, you're just friends?"
Ford: "In a way."
Kate: "What way is that?"
Ford: "It's complicated."
Fallon: "Yeah, so much so that he's not sleeping at his apartment."
He shot his sister a dirty look. She just grinned at him, no doubt all too aware of how she was stirring the pot.
Kate: "You're living with her but she's not your girlfriend?"
Ford: "I'm not living with her."
Kate: "Where are you sleeping?"
Ford: "Her house."
Fallon: "But you're not living with her. It's just an extended pajama party?"
His brother snort-laughed.
Finian: "Doubtful there are any PJs involved."
Ford: "Shut up, Finian."
Kate: "Boys. So help me understand what's going on, because she seems lovely and she's an Ice Knights fan."
Gina: "The tie makes you look like a cop."
Ford: "I am a cop."
Gina: "Don't remind me."
Ford: "So, you're saying you're not going to introduce me to everyone as your boyfriend, Detective Hartigan?"
Gina: "Oh God no, and don't mention it to my grandma, she's liable to curse you."
Gina: "I never thought I'd hear my grandma say the word blow job. That wasn't completely awkward at all, but she sent me home with homemade cannoli, guaranteeing it would make everything work out in the end."
Gina: "So. I'm losing another handyman."
Ford: "Afraid so."
Gina: "I'll kinda miss my fake boyfriend."
Ford: "You're fake breaking up with me?"
Gina: "Yep. If I don't get use of your hammer, you're no good to me."
Ford: "I need to see you."
Gina: "No. You need to feel me."
Ford: "You have no clue just how bad."
Ford: "I'm not other guys."
She shook her head no in agreement.
Ford: "I need you to say it. Say my name."
Ford: "That's right, and I'm gonna make you come so hard, Gina Luca, that you're going to remember my name when you're a hundred years old and can barely remember your own."
Gina: "Take your pants off and sit down."
One eyebrow went up in question, but being the smart man that he was, Ford took off his jeans and sat his fine ass down on the kitchen chair.
Ford: "I'm at your mercy."
Lucy: "You banged her hot brother?"
Fallon: "What? Ugh. No. Tell me no more. Hearing uptight Ford get called hot is bad enough, please do not let me hear about what he's like in bed."
Lucy: "If they even made it to bed."
Fallon fake gagged
Fallon: "I need a time machine so I can leave myself a note at the door to warn me not to come in."
Frankie: "Damn. Mr. By the Book got suspended. I'm gonna have to put this information in our family group chat."
Frankie: "Well, Mr. Detective, using the information you provided as well as my own keen observational skills, I noticed that you couldn't stop looking at your "just friend" as she gave you the hey-good-lookin' eyes during family lunch. Then, you defended her honor to the point that you broke police rule nine hundred and forty-six and tried to clean the clock of a guy who happens to outrank you. So, by putting on my Sherlock hat, I was able to deduce that you have a major hard-on for on Gina Luca."
Frankie's phone buzzes, and he glances down."
Frankie: "Felicia agrees, and since s he's the only one of us in a committed relationship, I'm gonna declare that means I'm one hundred percent correct."
Frankie: "You want me to limit the ladies of Waterbury's access to all this ginger firefighter hotness? I'm not that cruel."
Ford: "What am I going to do about the suspension?"
Frankie: "Dude. I have no clue on that one. I'm a man who loves two things in this world and they both start with F - fighting fires and fucking."
Ford: "You're so classy."
Gina: "I need to get help."
Ford: "Who are you going to call?"
Gina: "The fire department. They got one of my cousin's kids' head free after he'd gotten it stuck between two banisters at my grandma's house."
Ford: "Do not dial that number. I'd rather live the rest of my life in this hole than have you call the fire department."
Gina: "That makes no sense."
Ford: "My brothers and my dad are firefighters. I would never hear the end of it if they had to come pull my ass out of a hole in a porch. They'd stop and take pictures before they did it. They'd probably call my mom and FaceTime her during the process. I could save the entire family from a deranged serial killer, and they'd all still be telling the story of the time I got stuck in a hole on your front porch."
Gina: "I don't know. Calling the fire department seems like the standard operating procedure here. I know how much you love following protocol. Remember when you refused to start painting the hallway until you'd stirred the paint for exactly thirty-five seconds?"
Ford: "That's what the guy at the paint counter recommended to achieve the best sheen."
Gina: "Like I said, you always follow recommended protocol."
Ford: "Not in this case."
Gina: "Ford Hartigan, are you breaking the rules?"
Ford: "I seem to be making a habit of it whenever I'm around you."
Ford: "You know, in some places it's illegal to be as sexy as you are. I'm a police officer. I know these things."
She rolled her eyes.
Gina: "I know very well that that's not true."
Ford: "You know every law in every state in the U.S.?"
Gina: "No, I know for a fact that I'm not that sexy."
Ford: "You couldn't be more wrong."
Gina: "Have you really never bought a cantaloupe?"
Ford shook his head and knocked on the melons as if he was executing a search warrant.
She took the fruit from him before he busted it in the middle of the produce section.
Gina: "Then what's in your fruit bowl?"
Ford: "If I had one? Junk mail."
At least that's what he was telling himself as he ignored his targets and zeroed his attention onto the way Gina filled out her jeans, to the point that he didn't see Paul move at all, let alone with enough time to dodge the man's palm before he smacked it against the back of Ford's head. The other man hadn't used a lot of force, just enough to send his message.
Rocco: "Gina might like you, Hartigan, but don't think I won't smack that look off your face, cop or not."
Ford: "What look?"
Paul glared at him.
Paul: "The one that says you are having particular thoughts about her."
Ford: "You got a little something right there."
Ford made a wiping motion on his own chin right where Gallo's bruise was.
Gallo dropped the paper towel and flipped him off.
He slapped his palm over his heart.
Ford: "Oh man, does that mean we're not forever besties anymore?"
Gina: "What's wrong?"
Not a damn thing. Everything. That he wasn't touching her. The fact that she still had clothes on.
His name on her lips snapped something in him. The Vacilli's box hit the hardwood floor with a thump. His determined footsteps echoed in the foyer as he crossed over to her. She let out a soft mewl when he pressed his body against hers. He cupped her face in his hands and took her mouth like a man who had just discovered the meaning of life, because that's what he'd just realized. Gina. She was his meaning.
Gina: "Like what you see?"
Ford: "'Like' isn't the word I'd use. 'Obsessed with' seems about right. 'Can't get enough' comes to mind. 'Want it all' is definitely correct."
Ford: "I want you to be mine. No one else's."
Ford: "You're not being nice."
Gina: "Really? I thought I was being very nice."
Ford: "Well, happy morning to me."
Gina: "They don't allow half-dressed detectives?"
Ford: "No, that's totally against the rules."
Gina: "They need to rethink that one. I'd confess to just about anything if it meant I got to see you looking like this again."
Ford: "Is there something you need to confess?"
Gina: "Well, officer. I"m afraid I have been a very bad girl."
He let out a harsh groan and lifted her up, so she had no choice but to wrap her legs around his waist. Good thing that was pretty much all she wanted to do anytime she was near him anyway.
Gina: "Oh, Detective Hartigan. I think you like it when I've been bad."
Ford: "You have no idea."
Gina: "You've got to stop or you'll be late for work."
Ford: "Now who's the one who doesn't want to break the rules?"
Gina: "Detective Hartigan, you have criminals to catch, which means you'll have to wait until tonight to solve the mystery of what panties I'm wearing."
The look on his face confirmed she'd scored big. There was no doubt in her mind that he'd be wondering about her panties all day. Oops.
Ford: "You want to know what I see when I look at you? I see a woman who makes me absolutely insane."
Gina: "Thank you. What a compliment."
Ford: "I can't get through five minutes without thinking of that sweet mouth of yours, or the way when you laugh when you throw your head back and just let it go. The best part of my day is making you laugh and watching how your eyes seem to just glow with happiness. I think about how, when you look at me, you're really looking at me and not at a cop or one of the wild Hartigan clan. You see me. And when I look at you, I don't see a beautiful woman. I see you, and that's better than any fucking beauty queen. So, if you need to go home. I won't stop you."
Gina: "You're gonna break me, Ford Hartigan."
Ford: "I won't. Trust me."
Gina: "How did you come up with the name Honeypot?"
Felicia: "It's the kind of ants I study."
Gina: "I've never heard of them, what are they like?"
Hudson: "Don't ask. They are gross"
Felicia: "How can you hate on the ant that brought us together?"
Fallon: "I know, he's an ass. But his dick is magnificent."
Gina: "Did Kyle lie about me being a job?"
Ford opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
Gina: "Not fast enough on the cover story this time, huh? You probably should have held onto that gem of 'I see you' for another girl. But believe me, now i see you, too. Please move."
Fallon: "What in the hell did you do?"
Ford: "What were you thinking by bringing that asshole here?"
Kyle: "I'm not an asshole."
Ford and Fallon: "Yes, you are."
Kate: "You mean this whole time you've been pretending to date her for a case?"
Ford: "No. It was never like that - not once we started dating."
Finian: "Then spit it out before the girls throat-punch you."
Kate: "There will be no punching in this house, thank you very much."
Ford: "Thanks, Mom."
Kate: "Save your thanks for God, who is obviously looking out for you, since I haven't boxed your ears yet. Now spit out the whole story."
Gina: "I love you two. You are so sweet to have come over."
Lucy: "Are you kidding? After you told us what happened with that dick-doo-wah, I snagged a couple of shovels from the store in case we needed to help you bury a body."
Gina: "You're the best."
Gina: "The thing is that this is me. Sure, I could have plastic surgery and tweak this and alter that, but I don't want to. More power to anyone who wants to go that route, but it's not for me. I don't want to get a makeover. I don't want to change my face. I just want a man who sees me and doesn't see the ugly girl. He sees me and he loves me, not in spite of my face but in part because of it."
Frankie: "Come on, you're coming with me."
Frankie: "Because sitting in a cop bar talking about your feelings is not something I want to do."
Ford: "We aren't talking about my feelings."
Frankie: "But we will be talking about your feelings, because your head is wedged so far up your ass right now that you are insufferable even for you."
Frankie: "Yeah, because - newsflash - chicks have egos, too. And then when, bu the grace of some benevolent force in the universe, you get the opportunity to hang out with her again, you fuck that shit up by not being honest."
Ford: "I didn't lie, regulations kept me from being able to tell her the complete truth."
Frankie: "You went to the same Catholic school that I did. Do you really think Sister Mary Helen would say that a lie of omission didn't count if it was work-related?"
Ford: "Fuck you."
Frankie: "That's what I thought."
Frankie: "So, you're the hero in all of this, is that what you're saying, baby bro? Because you sure as shit look like the heel to me?"
Ford: "Thank you, Professor Hartigan. I wasn't aware of how badly I'd screwed everything up."
After a short fight:
Frankie: "You are such a dumb fucker."
Ford: "How's that?"
Frankie: "Because instead of being here trying to kick my ass - which you'll never be able to do, by the way - for insulting your girl in order to get a rise out of you so that the dim bulb above your head would go off, you should be out there begging and groveling and doing whatever it takes to get the woman you love to give your scrawny ass another chance."
Ford: "I'm not scrawny."
Frankie: "But you are wrong."
Ford: "I know."
Coming home to hear a hammer going:
Gina: "What in the hell are you doing?"
Ford: "I had to fix it."
Gina: "My porch? You had to fix my porch."
Ford: "I know how much you love this house and I wanted ... No. I want to fix us."
Ford: "If there was something illegal in the box, I didn't want it to fall back on you. I wanted to protect you."
Ford: "Because I love you and I know you. You wouldn't knowingly have anything to do with your brothers illegal activities."
Ford: "The fact is, you deserve better than me. I'm the luck one, and I fucked it all up because I was too scared of losing ou to tell you the truth, to tell you that I'd fallen in love with you. I love your laugh, your smile, and the way you look at the world as if it's like the Victorian, just needing someone to love it. I love how you feel in my arms. I love how you make me feel every time you walk into a room. I even love being stuck in this damn hole with you, because it means that I get to see your beautiful face."
Gina: "Don't. It's okay. I know how I look and I really am good with it now."
Ford: "I do, too. You're beautiful, and I love the woman you are because of your face, not in spite of it. I fucked everything up, and I can't say I won't mess up again, but I love you, Gina Luca, and I'm okay with doing whatever it takes to prove that to you."
Ford: "Well, I'd heard that public declarations of love were romantic."
Gina: "And I heard they were silly."
Ford: "Whoever told you that was an idiot."
Gina: "But I love him anyway."
Frankie: "Hey Mom. Let Finian know that I call dibs on being the best man at the wedding."
Gina: "He hasn't asked me to marry him."
Frankie: "Good Lord, Ford. Do I have to smack your scrawny butt around again, or are you going to get it right finally?"
Ford: "Shut up, Frankie. I've got this."
There wasn't a ring, and he didn't get down on one knee. Instead, they were stuck in a hole in her front porch surrounded by firefighters while Ford's mom watched on FaceTime.
Ford: "Gina Luce, I don't deserve you, but I'd be the luckiest guy in the world if you'd agree to be my wife."
His lips mouthed the word, "Please," and her heart cracked open.
She wasn't sure she could trust her voice, so she mouthed back, "Yes."
Check out the rest of the Hartigan's Series below