This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Malachite Publishing
Released on March 17, 2015
This is the second story in the Red Hot Lovers Boxed Set and was also the third installment in the Forever series. It was emotionally gripping and poignant though it provided a sizzling hot romance. The story works as a standalone.
The story opens when mixed up, closed off and snarky hospital art therapist, Tina, is approached by the supposedly unapproachable Dr. Darien Marks to take extra time with one of his pediatric patients. Tina keeps a wall around herself, not letting the world in and her relations with the opposite sex are strictly ‘one and done’. Only the moment Darien enters her life, she has a strong desire to break her own rules and batter down her own emotional walls. If only Darien wasn’t keeping a secret from her.
Darien has put it all on the line including his prestigious career so that he can be the one delivering treatment to his younger, beloved sister, Cynthia for her leukemia treatment. He lied about their relationship and set up an elaborate hoax at the hospital. Cynthia is wild about the new art therapist and her visits to Tina are the highlight of her day. Soon his visits with the prickly woman with the vulnerable eyes are the highlight of his days too. Dare he trust her with the truth?
This story jumps right in and clips along at a goodly pace. The situation and the characters are introduced fast and their wary beginning that leads to hot attraction and connection soon follows. This is a story that confounds me when it comes to my feelings about it. There were moments I was strongly engaged and connected, but there were also large chunks where I was just mildly into it. There was no one thing that I could point at for the reason. I was hot and cold with the characters and the plot. The story felt like it moved fast particularly the romance so it was tough for me to keep up when they went from just scratching an itch to something deeper. This all amounts to me liking it, but not loving it.
The characters were probably the best part. The setting was sad, but really worked to support the plot and even the romance. Tina was a hard one for me at first with her attitude toward people and the way she treated them (she went through some really tough stuff and it scarred her), but she owned it and changed plus she was the one to open up and reach out first which really. Darien was easier for me to connect to, but his need to hide his secret even though it was for a good reason kept that final layer of trust from forming and turning it into a relationship.
All in all, I liked this one and was glad to have read it. I would recommend it to those who enjoy heartwarming yet spicy Contemporary Romance.
My thanks to the authors for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.