♥ SYNOPSIS ♥
When Isabelle Martin steps onto Sawyer Auto Repair’s parking lot, she can’t believe it’s come to this. After dropping out of a school she never really wanted to go to in the first place and dumping a boyfriend she never really loved to begin with, she thought coming home to Claremont, North Carolina would solve all her problems. Instead, she’s still reeling from her mom’s death six months earlier and trying, but failing to help her dad, who’s sunken deep into a whiskey-fueled depression. Working in the local, motorcycle club-owned, auto shop’s office is a last resort, but it’s the only option she has…even if it means working with Caleb Sawyer, the bad-boy biker with swagger to spare who used to drive her up the wall in high school.
Caleb Sawyer is on the fast-track to a downward spiral. He used to think he had the world at his feet–all he has to do is be patient, earn his keep in the club and in the shop, and his legacy within the Iron Horsemen MC will be his for the taking when the time is right. But that just doesn’t mean anything without his old lady by his side, who wants to leave Claremont more than she wants to stay with him. When the bottom finally drops out, nothing prepares him for the impact and he deals with it the only way he knows how–with whiskey and women. Despite all that, being around Isabelle Martin, the girl whose feathers he ruffled so easily in high school, somehow brings him back to life. She doesn’t take any of his crap, but she calls him on it without judgment and without pity.
Despite some initial animosity, Caleb and Isabelle quickly realize that the perceptions they had of each other in high school couldn’t be further from the truth. The more time they spend together, the closer they become and the more they gravitate towards each other. Both are at a crossroads, but stuck in reverse. Isabelle needs help; she just doesn’t know how to ask for it. Caleb needs a life preserver; he just doesn’t know where to find one. And ultimately, on the path to rediscovery and identity, all roads lead them to exactly what they need–each other.
When I got a message from the author asking me if I would like to review Carry Your Heart, I immediately said yes for two reasons:
One, the blurb sounds really enticing to me. I am one of those readers who aren’t bothered by a presence of an old love or reading about a hero who has someone else at the beginning of the book before the heroine. These things don’t bother me. In fact, I actively seek out books like these. Carry Your Heart fits what I wanted to read to a tee.
Caleb Sawyer’s life is unraveling. His old lady who he has been together with since high school is leaving him to move across halfway across America. His Old Lady wants Caleb to leave with her, to leave the club and his brothers behind. Enter Isabelle who just moved back into town after losing her mother to cancer and her father to alcohol. She and Caleb went to the same high school but they don’t run in the same circle. She thinks he’s a criminal and he thinks she’s a stuck up. Desperate for a job, she applied for the only position to suit her–being an office manager for the motorcycle run auto shop.
Which brings us to the second reason why I had to read this book: It has a Sons of Anarchy vibe to it. Caleb is described as having longish blond hair with blue eyes screams JAX!! Even the description of Caleb’s mom is a dead ringer for Gemma. Unfortunately, the fact that it reminded me too much of SOA was a bit disconcerting. Each of the characters in SOA except for a few have their own equivalent character in this book. But this isn’t as gritty as SOA. Think MC-lite.
Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoyed it. I liked the story. I appreciated the fact that Caleb and Isabelle started off as friends first before becoming lovers. I also appreciate that even though Caleb started with another woman as an old lady, there were no ex-girlfriend drama after he got together with Isabelle. He decided it was her and he followed through or in other words, he wasn’t hung up on another woman. That was very clear throughout the book. I also like that the author took the time to develop the romance.
That said, the book did drag a bit for me in the middle. It seemed like Caleb and Isabelle were content to just be friends. The romance at one point moved at glacial pace, I wondered if they will ever get together. Another thing is the conflict. There wasn’t really a huge conflict except for individual ones. But there is a hint of a big conflict in the second book.
This book ends on an HEA for Caleb and Isabelle but there’s an incoming threat that could play a big role in the next two books. Overall, a solid debut for K. Ryan.