"The Girl Most Likely" has so much going for it, including an unconventional love story, real, three-dimensional characters, and a sex scene that's both realistic and truly sexy!
Cara and Finn are not an obviously well-matched couple -- except in subtle ways that the reader discovers as the story moves on. Cara's a 40-something divorced woman, mother of two teenaged girls. She's holding down a low-paying job that's beneath her potential, but her lack of education and experience make it unlikely that she'll move beyond it. Her ex has a new girlfriend half his age. Cara's self-esteem has been going downhill ever since the divorce, and it shows. Finn's eight years younger, a gorgeous and sexy personal trainer. Cara's very much aware of how attractive he is, but given how she feels about herself she assumes his interest in her is nothing but professional courtesy.
One of the reviews here implies that Cara's not a likeable character, but I didn't see her that way at all. She's a woman who seemed to have everything as a teenager -- looks, popularity, brains, a bright future. Her life 25 years later has come down to a sputtering stop, and in case she hasn't noticed this herself her mother reminds her of it almost daily. Her self-confidence has almost disappeared. But she's trying to make the most of it despite everything. She's kind, funny, interested in people, a good, loving mother, and a responsible person. Finn, who on the surface looks perfect, has his own secrets and serious self-doubts. The other characters, too, including Cara's two daughters and her more-than-annoying (but, alas, believable) mother, are well-drawn, not just sketched in.
All I'll say about the sex scene is that it's explicit, not at all conventional, and still very sexy, which is a tough combination to achieve and something I think a lot of erotic romance writers could definitely learn from!
The way the story ends didn't surprise me much, but the interesting way it got there did. As a bonus, I have to say the writing is very well done, smooth, graceful, and completely free of errors, typos, and awkward passages. This is the second of Jana Richards' books I've read, and I'll definitely look for more.