Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Serenity Springs Series
Hero: Dillon Ward
Heroine: Nina Carlson
First Published on: April 2009
Started On: 31st January 2011
Finished On: 1st February 2011
I can see why this book received the 2009 RITA award for the Series Contemporary category. As I delved into my first Beth Andrews story, delighted was I to find such a well crafted one, a hero that I needless to say salivated over and a heroine who was real enough with genuine problems and fears that she needed to overcome to find everlasting happiness and love with the man who even though is not perfect, is the one for her.
Ex-convict Dillon Ward has spent 5 years in prison for killing his stepfather. Dillon moves back to Serenity Springs after he is released and 2 years on, people still avoid him like the plague and he goes out of his way to isolate himself because being in prison, continuously having to look after your own hide changes a man for better or worse. Dillon is a man who has never had it easy in life. Dillon’s father had died when he was 4 years old from a drug overdose and his mother had turned to vodka to drown all her sorrows leaving Dillon to look after his younger sister Kelsey who gets her own happily ever after in book 1 of the series which I have yet to read.
Single mother Nina Carlson is the new owner of Sweet Suggestions, a bakery in Serenity Springs which is Nina’s salvation. Blonde, curvy and full-figured, Nina has always been the good and golden girl of Serenity Springs. Nina had dropped out of college to marry her ex-husband Trey Carlson, the self important and arrogant psychologist of the town who not only abuses her emotionally and physically but leaves her to marry the tall, thin, sexy and successful Dr. Rachel Weber which puts a huge dent in Nina’s self esteem as a woman. Nina is a woman who continually wages an internal battle within herself with the need that arises in her to assert herself and become independent from the shackles that bind her and what she has always been till now.
It is because Nina bows down to pressure from her ex-husband Trey and her well meaning family members that she decides to remove Dillon from her building, the tenant which she acquired along with the purchase of Sweet Suggestions from her grandparents. Nina has never really come to know Dillon that well and with half the town afraid of him, Nina goes along with the flow until circumstances force Nina to look up and see Dillon for who he really is. Dillon who acknowledges that he has a strange fascination for the town’s good girl but refuses to do anything about it finds himself on the losing side of the battle when emotions and feelings he had thought long since buried rise to the surface making him hope and believe that he is indeed worthy of the good things in life if he could have just a little bit of courage to let go of his past and move on.
Stuff I liked:
1- Dillon Ward. I always love my heroes to be a little bit tortured and just a tad dangerous. Hell, the more dangerous the better. And Dillon proves to be as sexy as they come and brings to the story that elusive quality which makes a romance come alive in the little ways that matters so much in the end.
2- Nina Carlson. What I loved about her was the fact that I could see her struggle with very real problems that many a women go through in the real world and come out the winner in the end. Because she tries so hard to be a better woman, to be more independent and to rid herself of her dependent nature on others, its no small feat that she accomplishes within the story that unfolds.
3- I loved the sizzling variety of sexual tension in this book. From the many a Harlequin Super Romances that I have read, this one comes out on the top in delivering sensuality that knocked my socks off as I read along. I always love it when the tough hero loses control and that is exactly what happens in this delectable story towards the end!
4- Loved the character development. Harlequin Super Romances always deliver on that and this one’s no exception to the rule. Because of this very reason, this line from Harlequin is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine.
What could have made this better? The lack of an epilogue rankled me in this one because I so wanted to see how Nina and my deliciously sinful Dillon with Nina’s two adorable kids fare in the end. Would have definitely made this novel a much more complete one in my opinion.
Memorable scenes/quotes from the story:
He lowered his lips and touched his lips to hers. She was taken by surprise at the softness and warmth of his mouth and, yes, the pleasure of his touch. When he settled his mouth on hers a second time, she slowly slid her hands up to his shoulders.
He cupped her neck with one hand, held her head still. It’d been so long since she’d been held and kissed – really kissed… A low moan escaped her. She pressed her hips against his.
An answering sound rose from his throat and he pulled her up against him so that he toes only grazed the floor. He stroked his tongue across the seam of her lips and she opened them. The slow rasp of his tongue against hers made her heart pound. The feel of his hand on her lower back and his large, solid body against hers – she felt … wanted. Desirable. Maybe even daring.
And, good Lord, it was wonderful.
Okay, so maybe she was right. But to be positive, she had to test her theory.
Before she could change her mind, she clasped her hands together behind his neck. Her breasts brushed his chest and she felt, more than heard, his sharp intake of breath. She lifted her face, her forehead bumping his chin lightly. His expression was heated. Intense.
He pressed his hands to her lower back, his fingers splayed just over the curve of her butt. Heat licked its way into her stomach.
“You’re killing me,” he growled into her ear.