Favorite Quote: “Have fun and stay safe, and make sure you get home by midnight. Excuse my French, but by then there ain’t nothing open but legs and hospitals.”
Reviewed by Tori
Daniel Porter, Strawberry Valley’s own hometown hero, has come home with his two best friends to take care of his dad and start their security business. A lone wolf whose time in the Army changed him dramatically, Daniel spends his days working and his nights at the local bed and breakfast trying to outrun his nightmares with multiple women.
Dorothea (Thea) Mathis left Strawberry Valley after a lifetime of bullying to follow her dreams of becoming a meteorologist. Years later she returns divorced and disillusioned. Older and wiser, Thea has vowed to never let anyone treat her poorly again. She is back and has big plans for her family’s inn and the gorgeous and complicated Daniel Porter isn’t part of them.
Daniel can’t believe how sexy Thea has become and wants a chance to catch up on some old times with her…preferably in bed…but his past has him fearing the future with anyone. As Daniel and Thea grow closer, Daniel finds himself unable to breathe when she is around, desperate to keep her in his life forever. But he can’t get past his fear of the future, he will lose his present with her.
Even though the three Original Heartbreakers have found their happily ever afters, Showalter continues the series with another trio of sexy and wounded bad boys whose friendship was forged by war, horned in battle. Showalter’s trademark humor, passion, and outrageousness are in evidence as she builds a charming but predictable romance that deals with love, loss, family, redemption, and forgiveness.
“Tell Dorothea I said hi. Maybe give her a kiss from me. Use tongue. I would.”
Beginning in the past, the story opens up in high school where we see the then town bully, Harlow Glass from The Hotter You Burn, attack Thea. Daniel steps in to defend her and Thea is over the moon. She imagines Daniel’s attention being more romantic in nature until she catches him with one of Harlow’s minions. Thea’s hearts breaks a little as she realizes that she will never be the type to catch and hold the attention of someone like Daniel Porter. We then jump forward to the present and Thea is cleaning up after yet another one of Daniel’s sexathons. Angry she has to clean up after him and that he’s having sex and she’s not leads to a humorous confrontation that introduces the explosive chemistry that has always simmered between this couple.
“Bad weather will hit in an hour or two. Go home, Daniel. I’m tripling the room rates tonight.”
“Does triple rate come with cuddle time?”
“No cuddles, but I can make sure your stay comes with a knee-to-crutch introduction.”
“Yeah, baby. Talk dirty to me.”
This couple clicks and all you can only hold on for what looks to be an emotional and amusing ride as they both struggle to come to deal with their personal issues in order to move forward. The romance is definitely slow to develop and move through the sexual tension and angst keeps you firmly engaged.
‘It had been one tragedy after another for this precious woman, one rejection after another, and yet she’d never waved the white flag. That was courage. She possessed a soul-deep strength and a purity of character few others did, both of which mattered far more than outward beauty ever would. Even an outward beauty as magnificent as hers.’
Multiple plotlines flow through the book as Showalter expertly manipulates and explores them as she peels back the layers of Thea and Daniel and guides them gently in the direction she wants to go without making it to obvious. I enjoyed the strong communication skills employed by Thea and Daniel. No game playing here, they know want from one another and they communicate it well, though their ability to get it is another story. Both have terrible trust issues that color their perception of things to create confusion and melodrama.
“ I’m worth everything because that’s what I’m willing to give.”
Plenty of laughs can be laid at the feet of the rambunctious and well-known residents who pop in and out with advice, admonishments, and general craziness. We meet Daniel’s best friends-Jude and Brock-who tries to help Daniel despite trying to handle some pretty serious issues of their own. Their possible loves interests look to be some interesting match ups.
“Your hospitality sucked.”
“I’ll be sure to mention my raging guilt in my diary.”
I enjoyed meeting Thea’s younger sister whose own insecurities creates even more drama and Jessie Kay continues to reign supreme as the town smart-arse. Virgil, Daniel’s dad, is an utter delight and offers some dad-isms when needed.
“Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, boy.”
While the Original Heartbreakers series continues to entertain (Showalter is definitely a talented writer) I was disappointed to see the recycling of storylines and lack of imagination with character names (Jase/Jude-Beck/Brock). At times I felt like I was reading a mash up of books one and two with just the names changed. Regardless, I am interested in seeing how she handles the couple in book five-Can’t Let Go-set to release Oct 31, 2017. A bartender and a wounded warrior whose family was killed by a drunk driver? D.R.A.M.A.