Author: Lynn Kellan
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: The Brothers Series (Book One)
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Synopsis: What can a screwed-up womanizer offer to her? Everything.
Gabriel Antonov is a mechanic who can fix anything, even a woman’s hesitance. His talents have earned him the well-deserved reputation as a player, but when a routine one-night stand goes wrong, he’s haunted by what he’s done. Nothing can free him from those depraved memories, until he meets Leigh Nelson.
Leigh avoids strong, silent types like Gabe, who is stronger and quieter than most guys. The only man she’s focused on is her father, who is suffering from a devastating health crisis. She’ll do anything to help him, even at the cost of ignoring her own well-being, but the stress is getting to her. Gabe’s strength is tough to resist, and his silence might be hiding a crushing secret only she can understand.
He can’t outrun his gut-deep craving for her. Problem is, she’s running from him. When they’re marooned in his lakeside cabin, he might finally catch her…if he can admit why he’s falling apart without her.
Two people with haunting pasts find solace in each other. Sort of.
Leigh is on her own and finally doing well after leaving an abusive lover. She'd rather not start something new when she's still haunted by her past and unable to really trust men. Especially, men who are large and domineering. Men like Gabe.
Gabe has an itch that he can't scratch and that itch's name is Leigh. Ever since he found her on the side of the road with a flat tire, he keeps seeing her around town and in his mind. He thinks he could finally put her out of his head if he could convince her to spend some time with him of the intimate variety.
This review is a little hard to write because I found this story to be pretty lukewarm for me. While it had its really nice moments, it also had some that made me pause and wonder if I really wanted to root for this couple after all. The good outweighed the bad, but barely.
It was hard for me to really connect with either of our characters. Gabe was a blank slate for me because even though we see his feelings for Leigh manifest in his thoughts, his other personality traits are not very likable. He is brash and rude at times, completely ignoring Leigh and then surprised when she wants to leave him. Umm, really? You're shocked?
And Leigh wasn't an easy woman to read, either. At the beginning, she makes it very clear that she's trying hard to avoid Gabe and we really have no idea why. But she's determined to stay away from him and then suddenly decides to change her mind (also for no good reason). I liked her, overall, but she was a bit of a pushover in some ways.
This brings me to my final reservation of this story. The whole arc with Darlene was crazy. After the truth comes out, I couldn't understand why it had happened in the first place. Then when Gabe gets back at Darlene, I wondered why he did that. He was the one who took advantage of the situation more. It was confusing as hell.
The romance was the best part because it actually was written nicely. There were several hot moments and a few sweet ones. Our couple had good chemistry at the beginning, definitely. I thought the first few chapters were great, up until the first panic attack (of sorts) occurs. After that, it gets complicated and the romance takes a backseat to the manipulation and painful histories.
The ending set up the next book of the series but I'm unsure if I want to continue. While this book wasn't bad, it also didn't make me itch for the next installment. Three suns!