This book was dropped into my lap a while back and I took my time getting to it because it was from a well established series that I hadn’t touched yet. I like the writer and heard the series was good, but waited thinking I would start at the beginning. That didn’t happen so… I finally said heck with it and plunged in. My plunge worked out fine. Turns out the connections in the series are loose enough that I didn’t have trouble.
Just over 10% into this book, I was ready to shut the cover and set it aside. I did not like either main character. They both came across as horridly selfish and looked like poison when they were together. Something made me keep reading and not give up and I’m glad I heeded the gut feeling. I won’t say that this is the best romance ever or that it is the best by this author, but it was good. Fair warning, there are going to be some pretty selfish moves made and some ugly stuff said, particularly near the beginning. It won’t set right with most people and may turn them off these two for good, but I’m putting this out there- be patient and the next part of the book might make up for that stuff and even soothe it so that it falls within a broader sense of understanding of the characters. Both of them shoot their mouths off and have some pretty messed up thinking at times, but they do learn and grow. So…yes, this is a ‘be patient until it gets real’ type book.
And if you need proof that these two will get to some good loving and can be a fun couple? I give you a few quotes:
That got me another glance, this one surprised, before he asked, “How’s that?” “Committed. Possessive. Forthcoming. You were always awesome but you’re exponentially awesome…er,” I explained. I caught his grin before he asked, “I’m awesome…er?” “Exponentially awesomer,” I corrected. That was when I got a chuckle and Ham’s hand snaked out to grab mine and take firm hold. Loc.2773 Zara and Graham from Jagged
That got me another glance, this one surprised, before he asked, “How’s that?”
“Committed. Possessive. Forthcoming. You were always awesome but you’re exponentially awesome…er,” I explained.
I caught his grin before he asked, “I’m awesome…er?”
“Exponentially awesomer,” I corrected.
That was when I got a chuckle and Ham’s hand snaked out to grab mine and take firm hold. Loc.2773 Zara and Graham from Jagged
Ham’s take on love that leaves Zara a puddle of goo after she got the wrong end of the stick about his past.
“Yes,” I whispered because, finally, I was. Ham still wasn’t done. “Then pay close attention to this. A man is not what he says, babe. He’s what he does.” Loc. 3083 Graham and Zara from Jagged
“Yes,” I whispered because, finally, I was.
Ham still wasn’t done.
“Then pay close attention to this. A man is not what he says, babe. He’s what he does.” Loc. 3083 Graham and Zara from Jagged
Ham explaining why he never says the actual words.
Yes, I now knew where this was going. “Darling’,” I murmured. “Then you said it.” I closed my eyes as beauty scored through me. Because when he said those four words, his voice was jagged. “Baby, come back to me,” Ham urged. I opened my eyes and his fingers still drifting over my face stopped as he cupped my cheek. “Suddenly, those words again had meaning,” he said. Loc 4577 Graham and Zara from Jagged
Yes, I now knew where this was going.
“Darling’,” I murmured.
“Then you said it.”
I closed my eyes as beauty scored through me.
Because when he said those four words, his voice was jagged.
“Baby, come back to me,” Ham urged.
I opened my eyes and his fingers still drifting over my face stopped as he cupped my cheek.
“Suddenly, those words again had meaning,” he said. Loc 4577 Graham and Zara from Jagged
This story starts out when Zara must tell her on again off again guy that they have to call it quits because she is finally wised up that he’s not going to change and she’s trying to get over him and has a solid steady relationship now. The trouble is that only Zara seems to realize that Graham ‘Ham’ Reece is THE ONE. She loves him, but he doesn’t have it in him to give ‘permanent’ or ‘love’ to any woman including her. He drifts across the country taking bartending jobs and when he is passing through, they spend some time together before he moves on. It guts her, but she pulls the plug on them. It is particularly painful because as far as she can tell, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by ending things and goes on his merry way.
Three years later, Ham has blown back into town with a new mission. Unfortunately, a lot has happened and Zara’s life tanked even worse than it had before. She is living rough and just trying to get her life back together. Ham went through something that unsettled him and now he wants to put down roots for the first time. He’s not taking no when it comes to helping Zara out of her troubles either. Zara knows the score with Ham and doesn’t want to get hurt so she tries to protect her heart, but something’s different about this go around with Ham. Plus several things from her past that pour out on her all at once. Everyone is counseling caution about Ham and yet, he’s the only part of her life that feels even close to good at the moment. But, Ham doesn’t do permanent so where does that leave her?
The plot on this one is a slow mover at first. These two people do some stuff and say some stuff that has to be repaired before things can move on. The story isn’t a big action or thriller, but it does stay pretty interesting between the heated exchanges and passion of the turbulent romance and the situation coming to a boil with Zara’s family. The pace was fine and worked for me. I will toss out there for those who are unfamiliar that the author’s writing style takes an adjustment period. The dialogue can seem herky-jerky at first and the heroine’s inner monologue can go on in a distracting manner. But once the adjustment is made, I barely notice it.
The characters, like I said, took some patience for me to go from dislike to acceptance to appreciation. Most of the story is narrated by Zara, but a few times I got Ham’s thoughts. I liked having them both so I could get a feel for what they were thinking. Zara tends to get caught in her head, reads stuff wrong due to the issues of trust she has in the relationship and then she spews over making for high drama. Ham tends to be somewhat close-lipped about feelings and doesn’t get that she’s so insecure that she needs the words. Like many of the author’s heroes, he is alpha though not as severe as some. He can be a big teddy bear with Zara and it was so adorable when there were scenes with nine year old, Zander. The additional friends and town characters were a definite plus. I loved the small mountain town feel of this one.
Another adorable part of this book is the solid closure that the epilogue brings. I was left with soft sighs of happiness to see where things went after the Happily Ever After. Love that! This author gets that need and gives her readers a nice glimpse into the future.
So in the end, this one turned around from almost a DNF to an engaging, heartwarming read. Fans of the author and series should definitely pick this one up, but other contemporary romance fans should give this author a go. But remember, all, be patient for this one to get rolling and be prepared for some alpha-ness from the hero, drama from the heroine and some steamy make-up loving, every day loving, special occasion loving…well, you get the idea.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
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