I read this as part of the Red Hot Lovers Box Set. This was another new to me author and I found her writing enchanting. This was a New Adult story, but it had the flavor of an older style romantic suspense. There is a hint of magic or is there? The reader is never sure and neither is the heroine as her holiday to Crete involves more than exploring its fabulous culture, beaches, and food.
Olivia has joined her two friends on their group holiday to Crete in an effort to get over a recent break up. Her friends are concerned about her. She doesn’t want them to worry for her. She is shaken by the break up, but not overwhelmed in misery- for that reason. But she has never talked about what sent her fleeing from her hometown to Germany for the last six months. A terrible thing happened and it is her fault. She can’t get past that and the broken relationship is just evidence of that.
But then Olivia encounters the mysterious, brooding Kai. She is attracted to the young guy who works around the hotel owned by his relations, but she is also put off by his frequent mood swings. There is a lot of pain and sadness in his eyes. He is shunned by many on the island who call him cursed and avoid him in fear. What had he done, she wonders? He has a strong affinity with the sea that seems to call him particularly from a certain ill-fated beach.
Olivia desperately wants to learn Kai’s secrets, but soon learns that if she wants to gain his trust and get him to open up then she has to do the same. This prospect is daunting. Her friends grow concerned about her obsession with Kai and fear he will hurt her, but Kai’s relations know his secrets and watch her with equal concern that she will hurt him. Time marches forward and she knows that in the end she will leave and he will stay. Can they help each other- find themselves- in time?
So yes, this was an emotional read. Both hero and heroine come with lots of painful baggage. They have the potential to help each other heal and be the person who understands the other. I liked how the author teased out the tension by dropping hints of Kai’s past a bit at a time. And then there is the island legends and magic. Is it real? Or is it fictional like Shakespeare’s play The Tempest that Liv’s friend keeps quoting about the island’s magic? That was fun not knowing.
Liv gets caught up in her head a lot, but the monologue wasn’t so much that it messed with the pace too much. Kai is always in his head, but then again, he doesn’t narrate so the reader can only guess at what he’s thinking. They are strongly attracted, but there is a push-pull thing going on. They have their secrets between them and then there is the fact that Liv isn’t staying. I liked that they didn’t tumble straight into bed. They move in that direction, but the pace is reasonable.
The balance of romance and personal growth for the characters was good. I also enjoyed the details of the Crete background. Just enough to engage without taking over the story.
All in all, I was well pleased with my first foray with this author. I would definitely recommend this one to New Adult Contemporary Romance lovers who don’t mind a hint of magic.
The box set was provided free by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #27 NA
Literary Pickers #27 underwater
New to Me #14 author
Mt. TBR #15
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