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The Least Amount of Awful by Jennifer Millikin


Colbie Jones has worked hard to design a pain-free life. So when she catches her boyfriend cheating, it doesn’t hurt that much. But when Colbie receives a call that her estranged father, Emmett, has been badly injured, she realizes it’s time to pack her bags and finally face him—and that’s going to hurt.

Colbie’s arrival sends shock waves through the small town, but it affects Jake Whittier most of all. Single-dad and foreman of Jones Construction, Jake sees Emmett as the father he no longer has, and that makes him an opponent of all things Colbie Jones.

Jake’s obvious animosity doesn’t bother Colbie, because she’s leaving in three days, tops. But then her dad asks her to stay and take over his business while he recovers, and Colbie hears herself agreeing before she has fully considered the proposal. Never mind that she has no idea how to build a house.

Jake will just have to deal with having her around. But the more time Colbie spends with Jake, the more she sees why the rest of the town likes him. And once Colbie meets Jake’s son, it’s all downhill from there. Colbie thought the most challenging part of this arrangement would be having to work with Jake. But falling for him?

That would be awful.

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I can always count on Jennifer Millikin to give me a range of emotions while reading her books and this one is no exception.  I adore Jake and Colbie’s story. It’s so raw and tangible as it explores parenthood, blended families, and feeling like you belong.

Colbie Jones is a successful businesswoman who co-owns a number of dance studios with her best friend. She has a tolerable relationship with her manipulative and bitter mother. She’s been dumped by a cheating boyfriend. And she has agreed to run her estranged father’s construction company while he recovers from an accident on the job. She’s always felt betrayed by her loving dad when he left her behind and started a new family, but she’s ready to start a new leaf at the expense of her mother’s wrath and her dad’s grumpy and tempting foreman, Jake. Can she protect her heart from more hurt and the least amount of awful?

Jake Whittier is a single dad to a wonderful kid and the foreman for Jones Construction. Emmett Jones, owner of Jones Construction, helped him out many years ago. Jake would do anything for Emmett so when Emmett was injured on the job and decided to put his daughter in charge, it hurt, but he went with it. After all, the feisty attractive woman was bound to choke because what did she know about construction?  

There is so much emotion in this book from Colbie’s daddy abandonment issues to Jake’s insecurities about making the right choices for his adorable son, Robbie. To say nothing of Colbie’s dad, Emmett, who clearly adores his oldest daughter, but has a hard time convincing her of that. The characters in this book are people I would love to be friends with. Colbie is so selfless and kind and she has a wicked sense of humor. My heart broke for both Colbie and her dad when she finally talked with him about her feelings of not being enough for him. And let’s not forget Colbie’s sacrifice for Jake and Robbie…it was the most selfless and giving thing anyone could do for someone they loved unconditionally. Jake has had much heartache in his life with a beloved father who fell on hard times and died, as well as Jake raising a newborn baby by himself at the tender age of twenty-one years old after the mother walked out on them. What I loved most about Jake was his relationship with Robbie. My heart burst with the way he would drop Robbie off at school and hope his son would turn and wave just one more time. Sigh! What an awesome dad. As for Colbie and Jake’s chemistry? It’s off the charts with their hilarious and sexy verbal banter and their stolen moments because, well,…single dad. 

The growth of the characters in this book is profound. Colbie’s courage to finally face her feelings for her dad is notable. Jake faces his past with the help of Colbie. And Colbie’s sweet dad, Emmett, makes amends with Colbie by owning his mistakes.

I loved Emmett. I teared up more than once while he worked so hard to show Colbie he loved her. Colbie’s best friend Christina is so supportive as she battles her own personal issues. Victoria, Colbie’s stepmom gets a bad rap at first, but she bonds with Colbie over Emmett’s health issues. Colbie’s half-sister Greer is a good catalyst to bring her family closer. My favorite character though is the charming and precocious Robbie who, with some ingenuity and matchmaking skills, steals the show.

I am so delighted to recommend this breathtaking romance that will make you laugh, cry, and seriously not want it to end. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you to Ms. Millikin for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.  


The Least Amount of Awful

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Jennifer MillikinJennifer Millikin is a best-selling contemporary romance and women’s fiction author. She lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, two children, and Liberty, her Lab who thinks she’s human. Jennifer loves to cook, practice yoga, and believes chips and salsa should be a food group.

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