Title: After Hours on Milagro Street
Author: Angelina M. Lopez
Publication Date: Expected: July 12, 2022
Sub Genre(s): Contemporary
Summary: Guapo pobrecito her grandmother calls him. The “poor handsome man.”
Professor Jeremiah Post, the poor handsome man, is in fact standing in the way of Alejandra “Alex” Torres turning Loretta’s, her grandmother’s bar, into a viable business. The hot brainiac who sleeps in one of the upstairs tenant rooms already has all of her Mexican American family’s admiration; she won’t let him have the bar and building she needs to resurrect her career, too.
Alex blowing into town has rocked Jeremiah to his mild-mannered core, but the large, boisterous Torres clan is everything he never had. He doesn’t believe Alex has the best interest of her family, their community or the bar’s legacy in mind. To protect all three, he’ll stand up to the tough and tattooed bartender with whom he now shares a bedroom wall—and resist the insta-lust they both feel.
But when an old enemy threatens Loretta’s and the surrounding neighborhood, Alex and Jeremiah must combine forces. It will take her might and his mind to save the home they both desperately need.—From Goodreads
What I Liked: It’s going to be difficult for me to put into words how much I loved this book but I’m going to do my best. To start, I can’t recall the last time I read a romance that had such a well-researched and vital plot. The description of this book doesn’t do it justice. It’s so much more than a woman trying to save her family’s bar and a man going against her. There is a history lesson within this book about the Mexican Americans who settled in the Midwest and built, not only the towns they inhabited but the railroad as well. Lopez manages to tell this true story naturally, through character conversations and using Jeremiah’s goal of turning the bar into a museum honoring Alex’s family and her ancestors. Nothing felt forced or out of place and the history of the town tied in nicely with the events happening in the current time.
The stars of this book, Alex and Jeremiah are some of the best romance leads I’ve read in a long time. Another review I read called Alex an “alpha heroine” and I couldn’t agree more with that description. She is known as the “bitch bartender” by reputation (a nickname she embraces) and due to an infamous episode caught on social media and she is skillful behind the bar and knows it. She has no intention of staying in Freedom any longer than it will take her and her sisters to rehab their Granmo’s bar and make it viable again due to her love/hate relationship with her hometown and its inhabitants. Acting as the perfect foil to her surly, yet lovable self, is Dr. Jeremiah Post, quite possibly one of the best romance heroes to be gifted to us romance readers in a long time. He’s a cinnamon roll* of a man, who has made Freedom his home and the Torres’ his adopted family. He’s very appreciative of the love and community he’s been shown that he can’t comprehend why Alex would have left in the first place, let alone be itching to get out of town as fast as she can. His heart and warmth practically leap off the page and yet he has a terrifically filthy mouth in bed which was *chefs kiss*. This book starts out with a bang *wink wink* and then relies on intense sexual tension disguised as hatred for most of the story. When Alex and Jeremiah give in to their attraction it’s 🔥 and there is a scene between them that takes place entirely with a wall separating them that is HOT. I won’t go into details but let’s just say that Lopez has a way with words!
All the relationships in this book have depth to them, from Alex and Granmo, to Jeremiah and Joe, and all the siblings. The love the family has for each other was evident and makes me excited for any future books in this series. The issues that Alex and Jeremiah face weren’t over the top or out of nowhere and they never acted out of character while dealing with their struggles. I wanted to read more about them and didn’t want this book to end.
What I Didn’t Like: If I had to nitpick, I’d say that the ending felt a bit rushed to me. I looked at my Kindle and saw I was 90% done and thought “but there’s still so much left to resolve!” Everything came together well but it felt fast.
Who Should Read It: I think this would be a great book to recommend to someone who says they don’t like romances or someone who is new to the genre.
Review Wrap Up: If you couldn’t already tell, I loved this book. I thought the story was incredible, the characters were entertaining and real, and the romance was believable and hot. Lopez is a new author to me and I will definitely be reading her other books after this. I highly recommend this book.
Favorite Quote(s): “Her grandmother had a lot of love languages, but food was her most precious one.”
“He trusted Alex Torres. He was in love with Alex Torres. He was going to rail her through the mattress. ‘I trust you, too,’ he said. Then he pounced.”
“He was…trying to use his advanced mental capacity to work out how his love could feel mammoth, desperate and needy, to himself, and yet be worthless to the people he offered it to.”
*Cinnamon roll hero*: Cinnamon roll heroes are kind, supportive, and unfailingly sweet, with lots of layers. They’re almost too good for this world… kind of like the cinnamon rolls they’re named after. (courtesy of http://www.tbr.co)