Having just read the first book in this series, this was a bit of a letdown, both in its length and in its execution. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Riley and Jack. LOVE THEM. And I love Hayley. She’s close but not quite that annoyingly perfect kid that shows up in fiction. She had her moments, but didn’t quite go too far.While I understand why it was necessary, I thought the FBI story felt a bit rushed and tacked on. Oh, I know that we needed it for the watch, so we could catch Elliot, but *sigh* it felt like an afterthought, like the author was told that she needed a better reason or excuse for a lot of things and she sat back for a bit and then thought, FBI! The family drama with Donna and Neil was wrapped up almost too neatly.There’s a theme here and it’s that everything was almost too neat, and I think the reason for that is that the book was too short. I think the author suffers from the same problem that I do- she doesn’t write short and yet, she was probably asked to write something short by her publisher. She tried to put something short on paper and there was just too much story. I’m guessing that a lot of this was polished and whipped into shape with the help of her editor/beta team/crit group, because it DOES work, don’t get me wrong, but it’s almost too clean.I liked the first book because while everything was eventually wrapped up, it was kind of messy, in that really fun, soapy, Dallas kind of way, and here, we don’t get that.The problematic issue here, honestly, is Hayley and her mom. One of the things that comes up in original and fan fiction is the removal of the mother from the equation. There seems to be a need or desire to have these babies or kid fics, but no desire for the vagina that birthed those kids to actually be alive or exist in those stories.To give Scott credit here, she did try to build Lexie to be as real as possible, considering Lexie is dead for the whole story. But that’s part of the problem- Lexie is dead. I think, for me, a stronger story, would have been Riley and Jack having to navigate a world where Riley has a daughter and Lexie is alive, because that’s complicated and messy and ultimately a bit more dangerous because as a bisexual male, couldn’t he be tempted?That might not be the story that Scott wants to tell, and that’s fine, it’s her book. But when you look at all the stories where there are babies with dead moms, moms who abandon them, who don’t want them, or who are just not there, there is this pattern of women just being written out of the worlds of these kids- unless the woman is the sassy sidekick, the aunt, or the best friend, and then she’s cool because she’s platonic and exists in a non-sexual capacity.On its on, this book is fine. As part of a larger trend, it’s yet another book that misses an opportunity to look at modern families and what they could be when the mom is around, because guess what? Sometimes moms do stay, or live, and I’d like to read that story when someone other than me writes it.