I received this book for free from Candi Kane PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Crooked Tree Press on October 22, 2019
Cover Design: Book Cover Kingdom
Cover Model: Adrian Pedraja
Cover Photographer: Rafa G. Catala
Format: Digital, Paperback
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Small Town, Brother's Best Friend
Source: Candi Kane PR
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Amazon UK, Buy on Amazon AU, Buy on Amazon CA
“Tell me a happy something, Sutton.”
I was only seven the first time Grady Bowen whispered those words to me. Cloaked by the black sky under a blanket of stars, it was easy to get lost. He didn’t have any good memories of his own, and needed to borrow mine. I’d willingly give him anything.
Being infatuated with that boy was a beautiful curse. What could have been special didn’t get the chance to bloom. He’d never see me as more than his best friend’s kid sister. That was a hard lesson to learn, but not the most difficult.
Grady had always been struggling against the odds. Eventually he quit fighting and let his family’s reputation own him. Try as I might, those influences were beyond my reach.
He didn’t mean to break my heart. Or maybe he did. I shouldn’t have made it so easy for him. Either way, our wrongs against each other carved new lines between us.
I went four years without seeing Grady—each one more painful than the last. That distance did nothing to dull my feelings toward him. But things are different now. Most noticeably is Grady. I barely recognize this man he’s become. And that’s the way he intends to keep it. Not that it really matters.
Grady Bowen stopped being my happy something long ago.
New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Brother’s Best Friend, Small Town
First Person, dual-POV
This is a standalone book with HEA.
He smells of a hardworking man, that familiar mix of motor oil and fresh hay. I snuggle deeper while inhaling the scent of my dreams.
Addictiveness: 5/5 This was an easy read with lovable characters and a plot that kept me interested until the end. As addictive as chocolate!!!
Character: hero 5/5, heroine 5/5, secondary characters 5/5, growth 5/5, real 5/5 Multidimensional characters with depth that it was easy to feel their pain, happiness, sorrow and love.
Grady was an almost perfect hero. Really, his love for Sutton was undeniable and special. He was hot, hardworking, a great friend, an amazing son and a sweet boyfriend. He had baggage and it was hard for him to believe he deserved something good in his life, but when he embraced his relationship with Sutton, he was 150% in and he never made her feel anything but special.
Sutton was a special heroine. She knew what she wanted and she was not afraid of going after. Even better, when things seemed like almost impossible, she faced it and conquered it. She was beautiful, smart, an amazing daughter, a good sister, a great friend and a wonderful girlfriend.
So many amazing and important secondary characters here. Sutton’s entire family was great and had their moment to shine. Sutton’s best friend was sweet. Grady’s mom was another very well developed secondary character that had a huge impact on the story.
Villains.. antagonists… there was one major antagonist, that we could call a villain, that was well written and evolved pretty well in the story.
All characters were lovable, connectable and easy to understand!!!
Cover: art 4/5, title 5/5, color-font 5/5, buy 5/5 I’m obsessed with book covers. I love to find snippets of the stories within the art. I like this cover, the guy is sexy and I can totally see Gray, but it is a bit generic. It could be the cover of many other books.I like the title and I love the font used. I love the colors and the play with light and shadow. I would buy this book by its cover without needing to read the blurb!!!
Freshness: 4/5 It is hard to write something completely original in a contemporary romance. There are so many out there, that if feels like everything has already being said at least once. But the author wrote a family-friendship romance in a small town so well that if felt fresh. It offered me a few unexpected twists that kept me guessing until the end. As fresh as mint tea!!!
Plot: believable 5/5, conflict 4/5, dialogue 5/5, ending 5/5, enjoyment 5/5, opening 5/5, pace 4/5, setting 4/5, subplots 5/5, twists 5/5 Great opening for a cute ending. Very believable plot, with great dialogues and good pace. Interesting conflict, a couple of great twists with deep subplot. High level of enjoyment!
Romance: believable 5/5, chemistry 5/5, description 5/5, development 5/5, steam 4/5 This is a love story, not just romance. Love among friends, love of a true family, a brotherhood that goes beyond blood. But the romance was undeniable. The couple was crazy about each other and there wasn’t one moment of the story that I was unsure of their love for each other. They were young and the way they helped each other and overcome the huddles thrown in their way was very mature. Their chemistry was crazy and the smut was really hot. Forever romance!!!
Writing Style: 4.5/5 Wonderful characters, interesting plot concept, enchanting romance and good smut. Crafty writer!
I really loved and enjoyed the story but if I have to be picky…
I have to say we know what is coming from the beginning, even the villain is sort of easy to discover from the beginning.
I’m a character reader, I love well constructed characters that give me a variety of emotions making it easy to connect with them. Ms. Rae has created a whole town with so many cool people that I could see myself visiting.
Even though it says standalone, I’m really hoping Jace gets his own book. I love his family so much and I would love to see the manwhore falling.
I love to read love stories and this one is TRUE LOVE!!!
31.5/35 STARS – 4.5 STARS (between 31.5 stars and 33stars)
Addictiveness: 5 Character: 5 Cover: 4 Freshness: 4 Plot: 4 Romance: 5 Writing Style: 4.5
Action 2/5 Angst 3/5 Darkness 1/5 Humor 3/5 Romance 5/5 Suspense/Mystery 0/5
Would I recommend? Definitely! For everybody that wants a story about true love.
Would I re-read this book/series? I would reread it.
Would I read more from the author? I’m really looking forward to.
I take a closer inspection of this swoony charmer. Not an ounce of deceit registers in his expression. There’s no stony edge blocking his emerald stare. His ironclad guard is nonexistent. Zero inhibitions block the sliver of space between us. Everything is on display for me to see. I should be the one to stop this. He’s obviously not in his normal state and under the influence of hefty narcotics.
Who the hell am I kidding? Basking in a rare smile from Grady is a gift I won’t take for granted. Appreciating from a safe distance will be the true challenge. I test my willpower by trying to evade the sneaky fingers inching up my thigh. But our skin is magnetized and moving is impossible. The golden specks in his eyes glitter at my failed attempt. Yep, he’s onto me. I’m a goner.
As if there was another option.
The itch to comb through his shaggy hair tickles my fingertips. Would he lean into my embrace if I cupped his jaw? The tiniest bit of resolve stops me from acting on those impulses. But it doesn’t stop my brain from working overtime.
I wonder if anyone else has seen this side of him. The romantic in me wants to believe I’m the first, and hopefully only. I shove the fanciful notion aside. “Well, you sure seem to be in a great mood.”
That luscious bottom lip gets trapped between his teeth. I’d love to take a bite. As if hearing my thoughts, Grady rolls toward me. “Abso-fucking-lutely. Why wouldn’t I be? I have a gorgeous woman within reach, ready to take care of my aches and pains.”
This time I really do choke on my tongue. “W-what?”
The hand he has on my leg drifts higher. “You sound shocked, Sutt.”
How could I not be? “That’s an understatement.”
“Stay with me,” Grady croons.
“For the night?”
“For always.” His gaze is smoldering. Damn, he’s sexy. And irresistible. I’m liable to straddle his lap and offer him everything. But the chains of our past hold me hostage. I can’t fall victim so easily.
“Why now, Gray?” Whatever painkillers he’s on are proving to be an effective truth serum. I might as well use it to my advantage.
His blink is slow. “I miss the peace, Sutt. My slice of goodness.”