HALF EMPTY – Catherine Bybee
First Wives Series , Book 2
Montlake Romance
ISBN: 9781503903555
August 2018
Contemporary Romance

Italy & the United States – Present Day

It's been nearly a year since her husband committed suicide, but Trina Petrov is still haunted by it. Though her marriage to Fedor was a business contract, with no love involved, his death still hurts. Trina didn't want the money she inherited but she is using it instead to help others. Vacationing in Italy, she hopes to forget this painful anniversary but her best friends, the other women of the First Wives Club, want her to meet them for their annual “meeting.” As Trina meanders her way back to the United States, she encounters Wade Thomas. The two hit it off and it isn't until a day or two later that Trina learns that he is  the  Wade Thomas, a country music superstar.

Wade is trying to lay low because he wants some relaxation from the constraints that stardom has placed upon him. Amused that the mysterious Trina doesn't recognize him, he is soon forming a friendship with her that may lead to more. It's apparent to him that she is a woman in need, even if she won't admit it. As their friendship sails smoothly to something more, a mysterious and vicious attack on one of Trina's best friends has Wade circling the wagons around her. No one will harm Trina, not if they want to answer to Wade. Soon it appears that Trina's late husband may not have committed suicide but was murdered. Is the killer now targeting her?

HALF EMPTY starts off slowly with Trina wandering around in Venezia, Italy, dragging her feet as her friends call her and implore her to come home. She knows they will ask her how she's doing, but she doesn't want to talk about Fedor. Trina entered into a marriage contract with Fedor, an arrangement meant to please his dying mother. But Fedor died first, and when his mother passed away, it was to learn that the woman had bequeathed her estate to Trina. Now Trina is one of the richest women in the world and intends to use the funds to launch a company to help stewardesses. While on a layover in Miami during a hurricane on her way back to Texas, Trina runs into Wade in a bar. They hit it off and soon jet off to the Bahamas, where they are each other's company in a platonic way.

Wade enjoys being around Trina. She doesn't suck up to him like other females, though he is shocked to later learn that she has more money than he does. Friendship comes first with them, but soon it will turn sexual. However, before they can make love, Trina is called back to New York City. There, with the help of her friend, Avery, they will inventory her late husband's mansion and sell the expensive objects. But then Avery is beaten in a vicious attack. It is while Trina and her other girlfriends are at Avery's side that they learn Fedor was likely murdered. Who is the culprit…and why?

HALF EMPTY is book two in the  First Wives  series by Catherine Bybee about a group of women who were married before and bonded. Having not read the first book, FOOL ME ONCE, I can report that HALF EMPTY can easily be read as a standalone.

As stated earlier, HALF EMPTY starts slowly, first with Trina feeling alone in Italy, yet not wanting to face her friends. Once Wade enters her life she begins to perk up and starts to come alive again. They are good for each other, as he has spent most of his adult life working at becoming the superstar that he is. Their chemistry sparkles and their final avowals of love work well. HALF EMPTY deftly mixes in with the romance a bit of a suspense as to what happened to Fedor—and why—and readers are in for a treat of a read.

Patti Fischer