4.5 Stars - Jointly reviewed for Totallybookedblog.com
Jenny: Well, didn’t this one turn out to be a surprise? And to think I originally assumed this was going to be a quick, light read between books. How wrong I was! This book was so much more. Great characters, engaging story, sexual chemistry and yep, I enjoyed it immensely!
Rook Walsh is a survivor. She has broken the cycle of abuse, moved to Denver and vowed to never again allow anyone, except herself, control her life.
Hers hasn’t been an easy life. In and out of foster care, making unwise choices, running scared and basically surviving a day to day existence. Never being afforded the opportunity to live and enjoy life
“If I wanted to change my life then I’d have to do it myself. Because no one was coming to protect me, or save me….”
Rook is determined to make something of herself and boy did I love that this girl had forthrightness, tenacity and strength, yet had somehow managed to maintain an innocence and softness, despite her past. Yes, I was enamoured by her.
Fate steps in and puts her in the path of Antoine Chaput, a renowned photographer who immediately sees her as the face of a modelling campaign called Tragic. Rook recognises her beauty could be her asset and her way to a better life, yet she certainly wasn’t vain, just the opposite. Rook realises she has to grab this second chance no matter what and intends to the best of it while she can.
“Beauty is fleeting. I know someone important said that, but I have no idea who it was. I just know it’s true. So I’m gonna grab this second chance with everything I’ve got and I’m gonna ride this wave until it spits me back out on the beach of bullshit.”
It is there crosses paths with Ronin (be still my beating heart) Flynn. I just loved this guy and I know you will too! I sense there is so much more to learn about Ronin. Although there appears to be something Ronin is hiding, I never felt he wasn’t sincere in his intentions towards Rook. I can’t wait to spend more time delving deeper into Ronin in future books!
“In the few seconds we twined our gaze together I heard myself ask him to kiss me in a million ways in my thoughts….
I totally understand you there Rook! Ronin is everything her ex wasn’t. He’s kind, patient, protective but Rook has her insecurities, is hell bent on guarding her heart but Ronin has other ideas.
“Ronin Flynn, you might undo me.”
Ronin intends to break down her walls and let him in but Rook intends to fiercely guard her new found independence, yet she feels such a connection to this man and ignoring her heart maybe harder than she thought.
Gitte: I love when a book surprises me and this one really did. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading the story of Rook and Ronin and I loved that we got to hear both voices. Yet again, here’s another refreshing read that will sweep you up and keep you hooked on the great story and well written characters. This Author pulled a blinder here and I’m so excited about the next book in this series!
Right, so I loved Rook. She was a breath of fresh air as far as damaged young heroines go, having been a victim of abuse and controlled imprisonment. She’s had a horrible childhood and early adulthood. Yet for someone who’s been through so much she’s incredibly strong and level-headed.
“She is wrecked…But she’s not down yet. The look on her face is defiant.”
She knows life can throw everything it damn pleases at you and that you need to look after yourself and make your own life. So she grabs it by the balls when given a surprising opportunity from out of no-where. One day you can be in luck and everything falls at your feet; the next day it can all be taken away.
I admired and respected this character no end, she’s under no illusions in life. Rook really got to me and I still haven’t been able to let her go completely.
“You’re not like others Rook. You’re calm and quiet, and a bit tragic…”
“Now I’m homeless, jobless, and broke. But at least I’m not scared and at least I’m not broken and at least I’m not letting people who know nothing about me dictate who and what I am.”
As for Ronin, well I defy anyone not to fall hook, line and sinker for this guy. He portrays something at complete odds with who he really is and what he wants out of life. This gorgeous bloke … well I fell in love!
Ronin is a pretty complicated character too, yet at no point in this story did he make me doubt him nor his intentions.
“…I think about her huddled form in the hallway….She was scared. I make a mental note not to scare her. Ever…”
Ronin is patient, understanding, protective and yeah he ‘gets’ Rook completely.
“Antoine wants to shoot her, I want to keep her. Antoine wants to take pictures of her gorgeous body and her fragile face, but I want to peel away her layers and see what’s underneath. Antoine wants to make her famous and I want to hide her away in my room, under the covers, under me.”
The connection between Rook and Ronin was intense and so very believable. The humour, heat and banter between them were brilliant and honest. The issues were real; trust, independence, desire, control and passion.
Rook needs to find her place in life and she isn’t looking for any bonds or relationships to or with other people. She can count on no one to change her life, she realises only she can do this. Rook has never been shown or taught trust and love, so no wonder she doubts everyone and everything.
“What are you thinking about, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Just how funny life can be. How things can change in a moment and how you never know when that moment will come.” - Rook
The courage and desperation interwoven in this book was enticing and made for addictive reading. I could literally feel it as I read. I loved this Author’s style of writing; it definitely swept me away into the lives of Ronin and Rook and I was left wanting more!
“Why are you kissing me?”
“Because I can’t stop myself. And because I’m the only one who knows you, and you’re just Rook, the girl who appeared out of nowhere. But tomorrow you’ll be the face of TRAGIC. And I don’t think you’re tragic at all, Rook.”
Jenny: Ronin is also a model and the scenes between Rook and Ronin during the photo sessions were off the charts steamy. The air was palpable and it really was as if you were there, front row witnessing the exchanges. You really could imagine the photographs these two produce. HOT is an understatement!!!
“Oh Miss Walsh, I plan on doing many more things to you tonight, but most of all, when I finally get you back to my apartment and into my bed, I plan on making you whimper into my neck, begging me to make you come.”
But it’s not just behind the camera where these two sizzle and connect. They have electricity between them that’s tangible, a gravitation towards one another that can’t be denied. It’s felt in every scene, yet there is tenderness between them that will captivate you.
“I’ll do what I want. And staying away from her isn’t even in the top million things I want to do with that girl.”
Ronin must earn Rook’s trust; try to convince her he can be good for her. It is through these scenes, where we see Rook’s defences being demolished, that this book really shone through for me. I felt it, I lived it and I ached for Rook and her past.
“I’m not going to ask, because I know you’ve got things you’re not about to reveal to me….”
I was completely engrossed in this book. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down. The connection between Rook and Ronin was believable. It didn’t feel rushed and even though it only covered a short time span this wasn’t an insta love. Rook is carrying baggage and this girl needs to sort her life before she can sort out her heart.
“I think you overestimate me, Ronin. It wasn’t courage, it was desperation and fear.”
I loved the banter between Ronin and Rook – the Gidget references had me in fits. This story is told with emotion, passion, humor and feeling. There is so much I need to know! I need more Rook and Ronin…like…yesterday! Loved it!
“Miss Walsh,” I whisper, “you’ve wiped my mind of everything right now.”