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Reviews of Beck's Previous Novels:
Light Her Fire (#2) -- Pat
Ten years ago, Sinclair and Shane were together, though only in secret; he was from the wrong side of the tracks, and she wasn’t certain how her family would react. There was also the fact that he was two years older than her, making him 18 and her 16 while they were together. The summer after his graduation, he went off to basic training (Marines) while she was touring Europe (a school thing, I think it was?). But trouble with his training kept him from contacting her until much later that year, and by then she wasn’t answering him, convinced that he had simply left her entirely. They each went their own way; he served a few years before become an emergency planning consultant (he helps cities and companies to determine if their buildings and property are as protected as possible against potential disasters and such), while she became a successful jewelry artist. While he’s never been back to their home town, she’s settled down there, content with her home and her passion.
But at her sister’s wedding reception, she notices that he’s back. He’s in town for business, but he also makes it clear that he’s going to try his hardest to get to the bottom of why everything fell apart on them the first time around. She’s determined to resist him, to hate him, but she can’t deny that she still cares for him, still thinks of him, and clearly still has a strong attraction to him. But before she can even think about trusting him again and trying for another relationship with him, she has to open up about the past and finally tell him what happened that summer . . .
While they try to sort through their pasts and start again, problems with his work pop up: the company that’s hired him is located near her beloved home and if they have their way, she’ll either live with the threat of a potential flood being redirected to her place or be forced to leave the property entirely. Shane has to show her that she can trust him again, both with her heart and with her home. They’ve both changed in those ten years; is it enough to give them a solid second chance – or is it too little too late?
I wasn’t completely sold on how Shane went from not actively seeking her for those ten years to taking on the job in his hometown – even though he even admits that he didn’t want to come back at all – to suddenly being solidly determined to get her back while he’s there. I needed something more to show me his change of mind because that’s a lot of time between doing nothing to seeing her face again to suddenly having his biggest goal be getting her back.
Other than that bit, I did quite enjoy their romance, and thought that the way he worked to regain her trust and woo her was pretty sweet. Not to mention hot, as these two get up to some steamy fun along the way: against his car, out in the woods, and even in his old childhood bedroom. There’s definitely a good dose of heat in this book and I loved it.
That being said, there were a few minor things that bothered me. Keep in mind, these three things I’m going to mention are all quite common in romance novels, unfortunately, so take it as you will. I’m pointing it out because for me it’s worth mentioning but I also fully recognize that I can’t hold these things against the book too much when it’s not something that ONLY this book has done.
The first two issues I had revolve around their first time. It’s mostly shown on page, in the form of a flashback/memory that Sinclair has. Remember, their first time was when she was 16 and he 18 (which, I know, might make some people iffy because of the age of consent and laws for statutory rape; of course it’s 100% consensual between them, but I do understand why that age difference could worry some). When she’s thinking back on it, she repeatedly thinks of it as a gift – as in, she gave her virginity to him, on his birthday no less, as a gift. And UGH, it’s not a gift, I don’t care if it’s within a fully loving relationship or what, that’s not what a woman’s virginity is. But, as I said, this is something that shows up in romancelandia AND even society’s views IRL. On top of that, the sex scene while she loses her virginity includes the infamous Misplaced Hymen. In case you’re new to this idea, here’s why I say misplaced: Shane has already started to enter her, is nearly half way in, and yet doesn’t break her hymen until he then gives on final, quick and hard thrust. Um, nooooo. The hymen is not located half way up a woman’s vagina, people, that’s not how any of this works!
Did the loss of her virginity ruin the book for me? Of course not. But I also can’t just blindly flip past inaccurate anatomy. Not even after all these years of reading romances, misplaced hymens and all. Generally speaking, it’s better than it was, as more authors are writing about the hymen in a more anatomically correct way, but I’m still surprised and a bit tired when current releases still use the old “he’s gotta be fully inside her before she’s actually deflowered” nonsense. Come on, this needs to go!
The other, very minor, gripe I had was a brief use of slut shaming. When Sinclair is showing Shane his old house, and wants to give him a good memory in the place (ala, a blow job/sex), she starts asking him if he had any girls in his room before. He vaguely tells her that yes, he had a few (all before they were together that one year), and she refers to the unnamed girl who sucked him off as a slut. Again, this is garbage that’s prevalent in romance AND outside of it and it needs to stop. No slut shaming. A person, especially a woman, enjoying and seeking out sex, should never been looked down upon for doing it. And no, jealousy is not an excuse. Stop it, period!
Those things aside, I liked this story and read it in a day. While I can’t say that it was one of those stories that really pulled me in and will stay with me for years, it was an easy and entertaining read nonetheless. There’s heat, there’s some sweet second chance romance going on, and some emotions, too, though I won’t spoil their story by explaining where those emotions come from. I think many will enjoy this one, and I know I’ll read more from Beck (this is my second novel from her, and I've been pretty happy with her writing style).
3 1/2 STARS!
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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.
*Note: The quote used belongs to Samanthe Beck; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.
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Until Next Time,
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