Series: The Original Heartbreakers #1
Published by Harlequin, HQN on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemp Romance
Source: Advance Reader Copy, author
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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter introduces the Original Heartbreakers, where three not-quite-reformed bad boys are about to meet the women who will bring them to their knees.
Just released from prison, Jase Hollister has a dark and twisted past. And now, he has only one goal: stay out of trouble. Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, sounds like the perfect place for him and his two brothers-by-circumstance to settle down and live a nice, simple life. But model citizen isn’t exactly this rugged bachelor’s default setting—especially when it comes to a certain hot-blooded Southern beauty…
Brook Lynn Dillon has always been responsible. Not that it’s done her much good. The down-on-her-luck waitress is broke, single and fun-deprived. Until Jase comes along. He is dangerous, stunningly protective, breathtakingly sexy and as tempting as sin, and the passion sizzling between them is undeniable. But can it melt her resistance? After all, the right kind of trouble might be just what they both need.
I raved a week or two ago about the prequel novella to this series, and can I say I loved this book more! If you want one of the best heroes of the year, this book is it. Not to mention this is probably the hottest Showalter book out there.
That being said, I won’t spoil what it is, but there’s a part right at the beginning of the book that might be hard for you. BUT, while it is something I normally would drop a book for, Showalter made it work, made it believable, and made me move past it.
Jase is recently out of prison. He’s an ex-con, and not only did he actually commit the crime, he did his time, and he isn’t magically back in the real world with no adjustment problems whatsoever. Jase has trouble adjusting to life again, and his friends want to do everything they can to help him. So they moved to small-town Strawberry Valley thinking he’d have an easier time than in the big city.
And then he meets Brook Lynn. Brook Lynn works her butt off, is super responsible, and is trying to keep her big sister out of trouble, which is hard to do with a party girl for a sister. They bicker like real sisters, and at one point, Brook Lynn pinned her sister down and did the “Why are you hitting yourself” thing that siblings do. I about died laughing because Jase was just gobsmacked at the whole scene.
The romance is slow, and sexy, and real. Brook Lynn is an amazing, strong heroine who you just plain like! And Jase? Oh Jase. He was the perfect foil for Brook Lynn. They work well together, they steam up the pages, and they make you want to root for them. Jase melted my heart. I’m really glad he got a happily ever after.
I think we’re seeing a lot more real stories in this series, and maybe it’s because I’ve read so much of her PNR that it seems so different, but Gena Showalter shines in going back to her Contemporary Romance roots.
***Book courtesy of the author
About the Author:
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.
Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories”, while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.
Excerpt: (This is the part right after Brook Lynn is fighting with her sister I mentioned. Jase handles it…poorly)
“Pay attention, honey,” Jase said to Brook Lynn. “This isn’t a lesson you’ll want to learn twice. You throw a tantrum in my room, you get wet.” Jase tossed the little wildcat into the deep end, hoping to calm her down.
Jessie Kay beat at his arm, screeching, “Idiot! Her implants aren’t supposed to be waterlogged. She’s supposed to cover them with a special adhesive.”
Please. “Implants are always better wet.” He should know. He’d handled his fair share.
“They aren’t in her boobs, you moron. They’re in her ears!”
Well, hell. I’m on silent, she’d said, the words suddenly making sense. “Way to bury the lead,” he muttered.
Brook Lynn came up sputtering. She swam to the edge of the pool and climbed out with her sister’s help, then arranged her hair over her ears before glaring up at him, reminding him of an avenging angel.
He’d hoped the impromptu dunk would lessen her appeal.
He’d hoped in vain.
Water droplets trickled down flawless skin the color of melted honey. The plain white button-up and black slacks she wore clung to her body, revealing a breathtakingly erotic frame, legs that were somehow a mile long, breasts that were a perfect handful…and nipples that were hard.
Those traits, in themselves, would have been dangerous for any man’s peace of mind. But when you paired that miracle body with that angel face—huge baby blues and heart-shaped lips no emissary from heaven should ever be allowed to have—it was almost overkill.
Damn, I picked the wrong sister.
Well, what was done was done. Another piece of broken glass in his conscience. Another memory to leave a sticky film on his soul, like a spider determined to catch flies.
“I’m sorry about your hearing aids, or whatever they are,” he said, “but catfights aren’t allowed in my room. You should save all disputes for the next JELL-O Fight Night.”
She watched his lips. Her eyes narrowed, an indication she’d understood him.
Without looking away from him, she said, “Jessie Kay, get in the car. If I have to start counting again, you’ll regret it.”
For the first time that evening, her sister heeded her command and took off as though her feet were on fire.
West and Beck arrived a second later and scoped out the scene: a gorgeous woman who was soaking wet, probably chilled, stood as still as a statue, her hands fisted at her sides, while Jase couldn’t seem to look away from her.
“What the hell happened?” Beck demanded, running a hand through his hair.
“This is between him and me.” Brook Lynn pointed to Jase. “You guys go inside.”
“Your hand is bleeding.” West frowned and reached for her.
“I’m not your concern.” She stepped away, avoiding contact, and would have toppled back into the pool if Jase hadn’t caught her arm.
With her sex kitten curves, he was surprised by the slenderness of her bones. Even more shocked by the soft silk of her skin, the warmer than melted honey temperature. She wasn’t chilled, after all, and the longer he held on, the more electric the contact proved to be, somehow cracking through the armor he’d spent years erecting around his emotions, until he practically vibrated with the desire to touch all of her…to hold her…
What the hell?
He released her with a jolt and widened the distance between them. His inner armor wasn’t something he maintained just for grins and giggles. It was for survival. As a boy abandoned by his parents and sometimes mistreated by fosters, he’d learned emotions were a weakness that could be used against him. To feel something for a person or object meant he’d placed value on it—whether for good or ill.
Feel nothing. Want nothing. Need nothing. For the most part, the motto had served him well. There had been times the armor vanished, the darkest of emotions consuming him…pushing him to do things he shouldn’t. Trouble had always followed.