This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: New Adult Romance
Published by Love Swept
Released on December 9, 2014
Source: Book Tour Provided
This was one that I grabbed up out of sheer curiosity. I read that blurb about a gal who ruined a guy’s dreams basically and a few years later after no contact she now needs his help. That just sounded like such an interesting premise right there with its enemies to lover style of second chance. Yeah, it wasn’t easy and they had to work through even more than at first appeared, but it turned out pretty good.
I have seen really good reviews on the previous books in the series and took a chance that I could jump into the middle and not have trouble- and I didn’t. This one worked fine out of series order though I do plan to go back and get the others when I get some time.
The story opens with Erin Connelly in a tough spot and forced to approach someone who she is well aware that hates her and probably will be disgusted by the very sight of her. Four years previous, Erin had panicked and called the cops on her own boyfriend. Her call brought his dad’s anger and disappointment down on him and derailed any chances of him getting into West Point which was the start of his dream career as a military officer. She had done it out of the best motives, but the consequences had been high. Then she had compounded the mistake by cutting off all contact. He hadn’t known the secrets and burdens she carried back then to make her panic about safety and now here she was at his dad’s funeral all set to pump him for information so she could yet again, get her mom out of trouble. This time it was bad. Her mom and the boyfriend were being held in a Mexican border town for ransom and the cost would break Erin, but it was her mother.
Zander James still holds his anger and hurt close after all these years for Erin’s betrayal even though he has worked to cut even the memory of her from his life. He’s already dealing with the pain of his dad’s death added to the fact that the two men never made their peace when Zander left home after the arrest and enlisted. He had worked hard made it through the ranks and became a Ranger and a specialist in his field. He is pleased with this, but knows his dad wanted him to carry on the family tradition. And there in front of him stands the woman responsible for it all. Erin needs him and he can tell that something has really rattled her, but she attempts to bluff and lie her way as she pumps him for information. The nature of her questions gave him a pretty good idea of her troubles. He would love to just turn his back and walk away, but there is also a part of him that never got over Erin. She’s in way over her head and naively thinks she’s got a handle on things, but he plans to make it clear that she either let’s him in on it or it will be his turn to call the cops.
Right…so…I knew this one would be a bit rough when it starts with the type of volatile history these two have. The story is actually told in the present with flashbacks and told in alternating points of view. I was appreciative for both of these features so things would make better sense and I could connect to these guys. The pace, for all the fact that this is a hostage rescue, is rather tame though not knowing what was going to happen when they got there heightened the suspense. The focus is very much on the resolution of the past and reuniting in the present.
The characters were sketched out well. I was intrigued by both of them, but this is one where the initial gut feeling about the characters is going to get turned up on its ear. I was given the facts of what destroyed their relationship in the past and formed opinions and then slowly as the story progresses and the details and motives get filled in, my opinion altered. This is a true second chance romance in that these two probably wouldn’t have made it the first time around because they both needed some stuff to happen and change them into the people who could truly appreciate a relationship. Zander was a daredevil and needed to mature into a man with manly responsibilities. Erin was so engulfed by her past and her secrets that really the person Zander was dating was not even real. The relationship needed for them to be apart to mature and experience stuff to be more ready for something lasting.
Now that being said, Erin was still an issue for me. In the beginning, I really didn’t blame Zander for his anger and just wanting Erin gone from his life because she hid so much and lied to him- she was still pulling that crap even after years away. She never let him have closure and even in the present she wasn’t planning to give him that. For most of the book, she felt like this nervy worrier type with a stick up her butt who is about to make a serious monumental mistake and get herself killed. I couldn’t decide if I really believed someone was that naive these days when the violence and stuff in Mexican border towns that happens to Americans and tourists is almost daily in the news. She just planned to blithely cross the border with over 300K in a backpack and meet a group who held her mother for a trade at their specified location. She truly thought it would go off like a charm just because she was following the rules they laid out and this was still her thinking after Zander spelled it out for her more than once that the bad guys didn’t play by the rules and *gasp* they lie to people to get what they want. TSTL award goes to…
But… then I remembered something pivotal when it came to this story. It took me the whole book to realize something. These two are just barely into their twenties. For some reason, I got under the impression that like a decade had gone by since they broke up and that I was dealing with people who were long time adults. Part of it is because when the story talks about all Zander does in his military career, I know that takes years and part of it is because there is reference to Erin working and being done with school. But shock, these are babies and so their thinking and choices suddenly made much more sense. Erin still needed to live a little, but then again, that was the point of the story and Zander’s efforts there in the end were to show her how.
So yeah, once I had that paradigm shift in my thinking, I actually really appreciated the book so much more. I should have worked it out just by the sheer amount of sex these two were capable of getting up to because whew boy I was exhausted just reading about them. Haha! Now, as to whom this would be for I would definitely suggest those who like NA Contemporary Romance, but I think it might appeal to some adult Contemporary Romance fans who like to change it up a bit.
My thanks to Barclay Publicity and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.