Brody Brown has always been responsible for others. After his parents’ death, he gave up a promising artistic career to care for his younger brother and sister. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, has a nice house, makes a nice living, and for the first time in years he’s on his own.This is not a paranormal. I just wanted to put that out there again, since I really thought - until Ames corrected me - that this series was PNR.
Elise Sorenson has come to Seattle with her young daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina—(and just as many years in a marriage-gone-bad)—she’s looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached. More than friends, Brody and Elise discover in each other what they need—wild, physical passion without commitment. But it’ll take a shadow from Elise’s past to make them look beyond what they need—to what they truly desire.
Brody gave up most of his dreams to raise his younger brother and sister after his parents died. Now that they're grown and settled into their lives, he's finally content. He has a great house, a solid business and the love of close friends and family. He isn't in the market for a relationship, but a fling with his gorgeous next door neighbor might be the only thing missing from his life.
Elise is just getting settled in to Seattle. After escaping an abusive marriage the last thing she wants is to start another romance. She just wants to focus on building her business and raising her daughter. When Brody approaches her about a fling, she's all for it. As long as they both understand it won't go any farther, things will be just fine. Right?
I really loved the progression of this novel. The timelime spans more than a year, which gives Brody and Elise plenty of time to get to know one another. Their relationship starts out casual, but slowly moves into deeper territory for both of them.
I really loved Brody. He was a solid guy, content with his life and totally sure of himself. He'd been hurt in the past, but he wasn't suffering from any major hangups. I think the sheer normalness of him is what worked so well. He could be any man, or all men. He wasn't dark and brooding, but nor was he shallow. He was just a guy who loved his family and was settled in his life.
Elise showed major strength and growth throughout the novel. She isn't broken the way Erin was in Laid Bare, but she had scars from her past she had to deal with nonetheless. I liked that she faced them head on and didn't try to stick her head in the sand about her lingering baggage. I also really liked that she was comfortable with her sexuality.
I really love how family centric these books are. Too often I think kids are shown as little more than window dressing in novels, but that wasn't the case here. Not only was she a fully fleshed out character on her own, but Elise's daughter, Rennie, was really integrated into the story. The way she and Brody interacted was lovely and sweet. I love that he fell in love with both of them. It was wonderful the way Brody's friends and family accepted Elise and welcomed her into their fold. Not because she was dating Brody, but because they genuinely liked her.
I was bothered by Elise's martyr complex. She assumed a lot of guilt and blamed herself for a lot of the things in her past that she had no control over. I'm all for taking responsibility for your actions, but Elise felt she was responsible for every bad decision ever made by anyone close to her. Which was ridiculous. I did like that Brody called her on it, though.
Brody's relationship and feelings toward his ex, Raven, also bothered me. Not because he was still in love with her, but he indulged her way too much. I didn't understand why he was so dense when it came to her. It was obvious to everyone but him that she was trying to cause trouble, and still he defended her or brushed it off. She wasn't a crazy ex, but someone the whole family was close to, so I know that made it harder. But in the end I just kept thinking, "Are you really that dumb?" I did like that Elise tried to understand their relationship, though. That showed growth and maturity on her part.
This beautifully written, character driven novel is a must read.
4.5 out of 5
Coming November 2010:
This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. Share this post!