by Jeanette Grey
Published by Forever Yours on March 1st 2016
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Whispers in the night lead to sweet surrender . . . but what will the dawn bring?
Anger. Guilt. Sorrow. They've strangled Cole for years-and now they've literally damaged him. With his knee out of commission, Cole knows the road to recovery will be nothing but long and irritating . . . until his beautiful and determined neighbor offers to help him in return for a favor. But soon Cole finds himself offering her so much more. Their unexpected passion lays Cole bare, body and soul. And leaves him wondering how he'll walk away before he ruins her life, too.
Gruff, secretive, and coiled with tension that begs for release, Cole is too intriguing for Serena to resist. The English accent and brooding brown eyes don't hurt, either. Their nights are beyond compare-yet the truths Cole confesses in his darkest moments reveal a heart bruised almost beyond repair. But Serena's seen the kindness and support he shows when she needs it most. Armed with a bottomless well of patience and devotion, she'll show Cole just how good it can be to let someone in . . .
I requested this book on NetGalley not really expecting anything except that the blurb really intrigued me and that I’m a sucker for a broody and broken hero finding redemption with a help of a strong heroine. And man, oh man, Cole and Serena fit the bill perfectly.
The plot is quite simple and straightforward. Both Cole and Serena live in the same building but have never met until Cole had an unfortunate incident which put him out of commission indefinitely. Serena being the caretaker that she is immediately took to driving Cole to his doctor appointments and physical therapy in exchange for some math tutoring for Serena’s nephew. Cole ever the aloof neighbor with secrets to hide tried to distance himself from Serena but the attraction and Serena’s nature keeps pulling him back in until he can’t do anything but surrender to his attraction despite his fears and guilt and regrets.
If you love character-driven stories, then I highly recommend this book. Cole has experience a deep tragedy in his life and it destroyed him completely. But when he meets Serena, he realized that he wants to try again even if it means confronting his own demons. His story was a heartbreaking one, and author managed to make feel every single one of those heartbreaking moments. I won’t go into the details of what broke Cole but let me just say that the author did a phenomenal job with bringing his character full circle.
But Cole isn’t the only stellar character in this book. The heroine Serena is the perfect combination of strength and vulnerability. She’s one of my favorite heroines that I’ve read so far this year. She’s amazing. But she’s not a special snowflake at all. She made mistakes and she had her moments of indecision. But she’s honest and strong and just amazing. I have to be honest, I was afraid she was going to be a pushover and just allow Cole to walk all over her. I’ve read a similar type of story where the heroine was just an all around doormat and takes so much crap from the “broken” hero. But Serena, while she allowed herself to be vulnerable around Cole knowing full well that she might get hurt in the process, was never a doormat. She didn’t allow him to treat her like crap. And I loved her for it.
Then there’s the secondary characters. Their presence add so much complexity and layer to the story. I loved the complicated family dynamics between Serena, her sister, and her mother. I found myself just agreeing and nodding my head as I was reading the interaction between them because there’s so much truth to it. I adored Max and intrigued by Serena’s sister, Penny, who I think is getting a book of her own, which I can’t wait to get my hands on.
Everything just worked for me. I apologize for rambling but as you can see, I really loved this book. It’s been a while since a book captured my attention like this. I just loved how emotionally complex the story is without ever resorting to unnecessary drama and angst. Just great writing, amazing characterization and smoking-hot chemistry. Like SMOKING HOT CHEMISTRY. You have Cole, who not only has a sexy British accent who likes to talk dirty in bed, he’s a math professor who bakes. BAKES!!!
I freakin’ volunteer!
Seriously you guys, make me stop talking now please, and just read this book. Read it.
ARC provided by Forever in exchange for an honest review.