When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred.
Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again.
Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple.
When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.
COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH
A country girl dreaming of something more out of life heads to big city lights to make her dreams to be a professional dancer comes true. A hard-bodied enforcer trapped in his work for a dangerous, ambitious boss has dreams of buying his friend’s boxing gym and teaching the sport. The pair collide in this tempestuous and fiery opposite side of the tracks romantic suspense. Devoured it in two sittings!
Collide is book two in a series, but it easily works as a standalone story since it has very little connection to the previous novel and novellas. Even the connection to Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s classic, North and South, doesn’t mean the reader has to be familiar with that story either, though it certainly made it engaging seeing the parallels.
I loved this story and particularly the situations of these characters and how it portrays people just doing the best that they can. Maggie starts out as a cautionary tale because she’s so cocksure that I wanted to thump her. She has no idea how good she’s had it all her life and doesn’t get that not everyone started with the same breaks.
But that was the beginning. She grows less naive and she starts to really look beyond her snap judgements to see Jay was right about her trying to simplify everyone’s motives to black and white and she starts to get some street smarts.
She is also right to push for more and to not just settle for status quo like Jay has been doing. Jay feels he owes loyalty to a man who has grown morally bankrupt over the years and has to figure out how to extricate himself and keep Maggie out of the danger she dove into. Maggie challenges him to believe that he can have something better and to get out of the bad stuff he’s doing.
It was well-paced and the tension built nicely. The balance between character development and action were perfect. The characters are flawed, but they learn and grow. And what really impressed me was the mature behavior both Maggie and Jay demonstrated in that mistakes are owned to and apologies are made.
This is a sweet romance, but this works well because the pair spent most of the book out of step with each other because of Maggie’s assumptions about Jay, his need to get out of a bad situation and then both of them in trouble up to their necks. I liked seeing the subtle shift in their feelings and thoughts about each other. It was organic to the story rather than forced. There is sizzle and chemistry.
All in all, this was an engaging story where I could root for the characters’ romance, hold my breath at times when they were in trouble, and appreciate the echoes of connection to a well-loved classic. Sweet romantic suspense and contemporary romance lovers are the target group for my recommendation.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #178
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