This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Published by NAL
Released on May 6, 2014
With each new book, I fall more in love with this series. These tough, but vulnerable military guys and the women they love just get inside my heart so quickly. Each story is different with new sets of characters and new situations, but my enjoyment just grows. In this latest story, a minor character, Rafe Murano, from the last book gets his own story. This could definitely be read as a standalone since this series of books are only loosely tied together.
Rafe Murano was the guy who picked the wrong woman to give his heart to and now he has to find a way to pick up the pieces. He needs a distraction. One night he walks into a classy burlesque club and locks eyes with just the woman to do the job. Normally, he is the one who cuts and runs with no backward glance when it comes to women these days, but Fallon takes barricading her feelings and shoving people away to a whole new level and he decides that she is worth the effort to crack through her hard icy shell to the vulnerable passionate woman he knows is there.
Fallon has come a long ways from the night her parents through her out of her home and their rich, pretentious lives. She went from a penniless, homeless teenager to now owning her own place and making her own rules. She still dances, but for her own gratification and she kept her taste for elegance about her even in her club. It’s all about control and keeping people at arm’s length for her until the night the stranger locked eyes with her when she is up on the stage. He makes her feel and he makes her want.
[quote]But she admitted it and accepted it. The way he held her captive with his eyes felt like he was truly touching her, containing her- holding her. And if he looked away, she was afraid she would beg him to look back. pp. 74-75 Fallon from A Beautiful Distraction[/quote]
Rafe doesn’t know what this is between them, but he’s not giving it up easily. He does the unprecedented thing and brings Fallon to his army buddy’s barbeque to hang with his friends and then he invites her to come for Sunday dinner with the Muranos when he escorts her to NYC. He is falling hard and it’s his wise dad that gives him the push he needs to allow it to happen.
[quote]”There are women, women like your momma that give their heart freely…But then there are women who guard their heart, women like Tilly. They make a man fight for it, want to make sure he deserves it, can keep it safe. Those women hide their love, protect it themselves. But if she lets you hold her for everyone to see, she’s giving you the chance to earn her love, to protect her heart. You get that son, she’ll love you in the small moments.” pp. 255-256 Pop from A Beautiful Distraction[/quote]
Fallon is so far outside her comfort zone that she is terrified. She acknowledges that Rafe has broken through and has her heart, but she knows that she doesn’t deserve his after meeting his wonderful family and feeling just in a short time what it is like to be loved and cherished by such a man. She has no idea how to love and how to love him so she feels she only has one course of action and his distaste to see her dance for the crowds gives her the excuse she needs to push him away.
[quote]”His love runs strong and deep, Fallon. So does his anger. But they go hand in hand. The only thing that triggers his hatred is love. He’s a passionate man. He’s a loyal man. A protective man. He doesn’t give his love out easily. But when he does, its intense.” p.274 Tilly from A Beautiful Distraction[/quote]
The plot on this one is character and relationship-driven. The two main characters have their pasts to overcome and the catalyst for this to happen is what they come to mean to each other. The story winds gently through their initial attraction and passion to a tentative relationship. Their feelings are the easy part, but its getting past Fallon’s hang-ups that came about because of her heartbreaking past that add the tension in things. Rafe has his troubles, but once he meets Fallon, he can get past them. Her issues aren’t the most horrific out there, but they aren’t things that can be dismissed either. There is some tug o’ war going on in the romance, but it wasn’t frustrating because it wasn’t over the top and it fit the characters’ circumstances. I loved these two together and felt they were worth it even if in spite of the difficulties, it wasn’t that hard to read their story.
I really admired Fallon. She was a compassionate and understanding soul and it is a result of her past heartbreaks that put her through the fires and remake her into someone stronger and yet more tender. She can be merciful and loyal to a friend who slipped up with drugs. She can hear about Rafe’s past exploits with women and one big screw up with a married woman and be so understanding. She can take the vitriol of a small-minded woman who throws what she does for a living in her face. Did I like seeing her pushing Rafe away? No, but it made sense that she would be a tough sell on love.
Rafe was a delight to read about too. He screwed up and gave his heart where he shouldn’t and he lets it eat him up so that he hits bottom with the flings and the booze, but then he gets up, dusts off and goes for it all again with Fallon. This guy’s heart was huge and there isn’t an ounce of insecurity in him. He’s a fighter and a protector even if he has to fight and protect Fallon from herself. I loved that he just kept coming back and he never really threw her issues up in her face. It didn’t hurt that he could make her writhe with passion in his bed and make her happy because for the first time someone put Fallon first.
I do have to also mention Rafe’s family. The Muranos particularly his dad were just salt of the earth. These guys and Tilly just made a scene sparkle when they were in it. I laughed so hard when Rafe’s dad handed him his butt and chuckled over Marco and his cakes working his wiles with the women. Such a beautiful family that, like Fallon, I envy and would love to hang out with.
All in all, another fabulous installment in the series that I can heartily recommend to military and contemporary romance fans who like a bit of challenge to the characters and a lot of spice and heat to the romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Up for grabs is one paperback copy of A Beautiful Distraction by Kelsie Leverich. To enter, leave a comment below.
US only. Giveaway ends May 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm EDT.
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