Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Can't Let Go by Gena Showalter

Title: Can't Let Go
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: Original Heartbreakers (Book Five)
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
SynopsisNew York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale about an icy war vet and the only woman capable of melting him…

With trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men.  Then Jude Laurent walks into her bar and all bets are off.  The former Army Ranger has suffered unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting him? Impossible.

To Jude, Ryanne is off limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her livelihood, and her life, he can’t turn away.  She triggers something in him he thought long buried, and he’s determined to protect her, whatever the cost.

As their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows he must let go of his past to hold on to his future...or risk losing the second chance he desperately needs.

The Romance Review

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

This started out rough but got better toward the end.

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Ryanne's dream is to travel the world. She has finally saved up enough money to go on her first trip and her bar has been doing well. Then a wicked man moves his club in across the street and wants nothing more than to put her bar out of business. He's dangerous and won't let anything stop him from running her out of town. Her only hope may be the one man who doesn't want to help her.

Jude knows that the new thug in town will be a problem for Ryanne. He also knows that he should assist her, considering she's friends with his security firm partners and their women. But Ryanne also owns a bar and Jude hates alcohol with a passion after a drunk driver killed his wife and daughters. Saving Ryanne's bar goes against everything he stands for. But letting harm come to the only woman who has stirred his blood in years isn't an option either.

As the pair come to terms with the fact that they need to work together, they come together in other ways too. Ryanne's charms start to wear down the wall surrounding Jude's hardened heart and he wonders if there is a chance he could be with another woman again. But the threat to Ryanne's safety is still there and when a secret comes to light, he realizes he has a lot to lose. He'll have to protect the woman he loves if he plans to keep his heart intact.

Jude took some getting used to. I'm usually all for a broody hero who is initially resistant to love. I had no issue with Ryanne being the pursuer in the relationship. I like strong females who go after what they want. I just couldn't understand the allure of Jude in the first place. She doesn't find him to be necessarily handsome, just unique. She doesn't like his attitude or his humor, which doesn't exist at that point anyway. So why does she even like him? Because he doesn't like her very much in the beginning.

Ryanne was a great character, though. She was a really big flirt and I found her personality to be entertaining. I loved the fact that she was the boss and didn't put up with anyone's bull. While it took some time for me to warm up to Jude, I liked Ryanne from the start. Her mother was a surprisingly fascinating character. I can't say that I understood her, but I laughed out loud several times when she was in the scene.

As for the story, the plot was interesting enough. Ryanne's bar being threatened by a rival business thug and the whole plot thread with the prostitute kept the story trudging along even when the actual romance stalled. Speaking of romance, it was a slow burn. However, I did like our couple together once progress was made. The surprise twist thrown in wasn't a big surprise, but I liked the addition to the story. The love scenes were plenty spicy and I rooted for the couple in the end.

I've only read two books of this series so far and while I've enjoyed both by the end, they each took some self-discipline to reach that final chapter. Why? Mostly due to the length. Just like the previous book, this was so long that it started to drag when nothing new happened and our couple didn't go anywhere for several chapters. 

I'm all for developing the romance but why do these books have to be so long that I start to get bored? If I hadn't agreed to review it, I might have DNF'd it because it moved so slowly. I may not continue this series simply because I already dread having to force myself to finish the next one. Just not my favorite style of writing, though it might not be an issue for others.

In closing...
A woman breathes life into a man who hasn't lived in years. 3.5 suns!

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