Once Kissed by Cecy Robson

Once Kissed by Cecy RobsonOnce Kissed by Cecy Robson

Series: #1 O’Briens
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Love Swept on November 3, 2015
Pages: 277
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars      four-flames

I was primed and ready after reading Killian’s story. I wanted more O’Brien family and happily got it with the start of a whole series about the rapscallion family of brothers and their sister. This is Curran’s story. Curran has an irreverent mouth and he’s a good cop, but something happens leaving him with a darkness in him and a loss of confidence. He is really floored when his hot one night stand from college turns out to be his brother’s intern and Declan has Curran act as part of her protection as they handle a big case against the mob.

This is book one of a new series and can be read just fine as such, but it is a spin-off series to Shattered Past and acts more as a continuation in my mind particularly as characters from books two and three make appearances in this one and refer back to shared events.

The story opens when Curran is put on leave from his regular patrol after the shooting of a rookie cop he was mentoring. His brother, Declan, is an assistant DA and handling a high profile case against the mob. Declan has police protection and wants Curran to be part of the team put on his research assistant intern. Curran isn’t happy, but has no choice. Things begin looking up when he sees that the buttoned up stick up her butt intern is none other than the wild girl in the bedroom back in college that he never forgot. He is amused by her standoffish behavior and blushing glances so he sets out to provoke her out from behind her pretenses and show that woman who tied him to the bed with her argyle socks and made love with wild abandon.

Tess Newart has a goal to finish her law degree and hopefully snag one of the new assistant DA posts opening up. Just six months and she can escape the control of her abusive, but powerful and rich father. The man verbally and emotionally abuses her while controlling everything from how much food she eats, to what she wears, to whether she gets heat in the winter. She is not allowed to form her own relationships and doesn’t even get a cell phone or car. She needs out. But now Curran bursts back into her life. He’s tougher and there is a darkness to him, but he’s strong and capable. She wants him more than ever, but knows she can’t have him. Unfortunately, her resolve weakens as they spend so much time together while he guards her. Now she wants to help him get past what happened so he can heal and maybe in the meantime Curran, his big boisterous family, and the love blossoming can help her heal and find her way out from under her father’s thumb.

Like the Shattered Past series, this one runs deep, but the characters are adult instead of new adult range. The story is still told with first person perspective alternating narrative so it has the same feel. The author takes the time to make the setting of Philly, the O’Brien family, and the new situation really come alive. The local color is there, but not pounded over the reader’s head.

The plot is a combination that includes character development, romance, and a certain amount of suspense. They are interlocking and never over-balance each other so that it works as a whole bit of storytelling and not shifting from element to element.

As to the characters, their flaws and strengths, and their situations, this is where the book shines. The camaraderie of family is strong and I love that it is since the series theme is the O’Brien family. They all went different directions with their lives, but they are still all connected. This is Curran’s story, but Declan, Killian, Finny, and Wren are right there in the background as are his brothers and sisters in blue. Curran is a loud, obnoxious, over the top type that makes me grin because for this bluff Irishman, it works. He is rough and so blue-collar that nobody can see him with a girl like Tess, but when they are together, it really works. He wants to be tough and not admit he needs help for his PTSD, but he finally goes because he wants to be whole again and have Tess’ proud of him and love him.

At first, I was not impressed with Tess. At. all.   She was such a timid mouse, but also a little snobby, too, at first. I was aware that she grew up with a controlling father who still worked his fiendish power over her. But as the story progressed, I was able to slip more and more into an understanding of just what it is like for a person who is abused with such finesse, if I can put it that way for how that beast worked her over. She was broken down and re-made, never being allowed to get away from it so that she drank the Kool-Aid. She doesn’t have the skills or the self-confidence to strike out on her own even as an adult though even if she did, her father had contingency plans to keep her in place. It angered me enough to feel homicidal by the time things really hit the high point in this book. I credit the author with the deft way she changed my feelings about the heroine.

So put it altogether and I was most definitely as pleased as could be with this new spin-off series start. Curran is a hot O’Brien brother and I loved to see the beginning of Declan’s thread. Can’t wait for more. Those who enjoy blue collar passion-filled deeply emotional contemporary romance need to give these a try. Start with Shattered Past series if you can.

My thanks to Loveswept for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #353 CR

Cliché Klatch #213 ‘she had me there’

New to Me #173 series

About Cecy Robson

Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is the new adult and contemporary romance author of the Shattered Past series, the O’Brien Family novels, and the Carolina Beach series, as well as the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A 2016 double nominated RITA® finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, Cecy is a recovering Jersey girl living in the South who enjoys carbs way too much, and exercise way too little. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, you can typically find her on her laptop silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I read your review and 1-clicked it ! I haven’t read the Shattered past series but if I like this one as much as I expect to, I’ll catch up 😉

    • I hope you enjoy it, Iza. The O’Briens are so close, but a rowdy fun bunch. I loved the earlier book that introduced them and was glad to see their getting their own stories.

  • I’m definitely intrigued by this book. I saw a review the other day. I really do love books where the hero is a cop. I don’t know why, but I find it kind of romantic.

    • I’m hit or miss on the cop heroes, but this one with rough and rowdy Curran was definitely a hit, Quinn. He was such a good protector and lover that I swooned a few times between the other emotions going on.

  • I have heard only good things

    • I started with her UF series and loved her stuff so then gave her NA Contemps a try. I’m so glad she is continuing with that crowd of characters.

  • This sounds like a wonderful book, and I am very curious about it. It sounds like it has some great character depth.

    • Yes, she really knows how to engage the reader’s emotions- all of them. You can laugh, cry, and sigh all from the same book. 😉

  • ah I should have known you would be reading this 😛 maybe ill give her books another shot? >.>

    • Oh, now, I’m scared that you have me pegged so well, Lily. LOL. Which ones had you stumbling? Her Weird Girls UF series or the Shattered Hearts books that led into the O’Briens?

  • I wonder why the author didn’t continue the series and instead decided to make a spin-off, although often with spin-offs I feel that they are best read after the series they are a spin-off from. Else you miss a bit of background. It is fun to see characters from the previous series return in the spinn-off, those appearances tie the two series together pretty nicely.

    It’s fun the couple already know each other from their college days, sounds like it makes for a fun and awkward situation with how they have to work together again. Tess her father sounds really horrible though, I can imagine why she wants out.

    I love it when the characters make a book shine and really come alive and it definitely sounds like that’s the case here. I like how you describe your opinion about Tess changed, it sounds very well written with how the author makes you understand her situation and why the character is that way. Great review Sophia!

    • Thanks, Lola!

      Yes, it is curious how an author or publisher decides when to continue a series and when to decide the newer books are spin-offs instead of part of the same series since the setting and larger group of characters will overlap. Maybe there is the thinking that because the focus shifts from one family to their old neighbors that it needs to happen.

      And I agree, it was great how she made them familiar with each other, but not enough that the current situation was a re-hash. I also loved that she really worked on my emotions and made me engage with her characters.

  • Gosh, I will definitely post my review at a later time. I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t review this one this week. I hope I’ll have something different to share when it’s my turn. Great review Sophia, I’m relieved it’s “normal” and not angst ridden like her other books

    • LOL! I sometimes feel that way when a bunch of us grab the same book for review. Usually, I’m so far behind on my reading that I post a week or more behind the crowd.

      It’s a feelsie, but I wouldn’t say the angst was out of proportion. Look forward to reading your thoughts as I always do, Braine!

  • Debbie Haupt

    Great review Sophia. I love a character who confounds you and wins you over!
    Looks like something I would love!

    • Yes, Debbie! That girl really did. I ended up doing a lot of thinking and realized that she was tougher than I was giving her credit for.

  • “Buttoned up stick up her butt…” LOL Love it. Sounds like a good one to me.

    • Oh yes, this pair had me hooting with laughter a few times with their opposites approach to life. Thanks, Mary!

  • cecyrobson

    Hi, Sophia Rose! Thank you so much for your very thorough review of ONCE KISSED. I’m very happy you gave the book a chance and were able to see growth in both characters. I’m also very thrilled that the characters endeared themselves to you. Thank you, again. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and review!

    • Howdy, Cecy! I’m grinning right now with pleasure to have you read my review and visit our blog. Thank YOU for writing such compelling characters and stories. 🙂

      • cecyrobson

        You’re very sweet. Thank you for being so kind.

  • Oh man, Sophia! You tempt me so hard with these. I love that she really brought the setting to life too. That’s always so nice to see.

    • Yes, she did! I’ve never been to Philly, but I feel that I have through her books.

      Oh, and I get it. So many sound so good, but there are only so many you can grab and read. 😉

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