Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “So, are you a hero, Cole Walker?”
Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.
Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.
As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good…(goodreads)
Fans of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series have waited impatiently for Cole Walker’s story since first meeting him in Down London Road. The teenage brother of Jo Walker, readers fell in love with this adorably fierce and loving teenager whose abusive past broke their hearts. Now, Cole is all grown up and looking for his own happily ever after.
Cole and Shannon met for the first time when they were fifteen years old. A chance meeting that affected both of them to the point where they remember each other years later.
“… I felt like fate had just handed me two cups and I’d stupidly drunk from the wrong one.”
Cole manages a popular tattoo parlor and has his life on track. When Shannon applies for a job at the parlor, Cole feels it’s fate bringing them back together for a second chance. Shannon believes fate is once again kicking her in the teeth while she’s down. She has had enough of bad boys and instantly assigns Cole in the role of a villain; finding him guilty of every crime every man ever committed against her.
“I don’t like you. I don’t trust you. There’s nothing behind that charming smile but empty promises.”
Echoes of Scotland Street is an emotional undertaking that crosses the line on many occasions in terms of character angst and drama. In a way, it reminded me a lot of the first book-On Dublin Street. The protagonists are characterized in a similar fashion to the protagonists in On Dublin Street, especially in regards to the heroines. Like our heroine in here, the heroine in On Dublin Street, Jocelyn Butler, had some serious emotional issues that at times made her a liability to the storyline. She was a train wreck that readers couldn’t pull themselves away from. The difference between these two heroines is we didn’t have the connection or background with the hero in On Dublin Street as we do in here with Cole. We get to know Braden and Joss at the same time, muting the sense of outrageous over their relationship antics. In here we know what Cole has been through and it’s painful to see him being so unfairly judged. It’s hard to enjoy a story when you are unable to like a character. It’s even harder when the character you don’t like is the main character.
This was not an easy book for me to read. I think I would have enjoyed the story far more if it had been from Cole’s point of view because Shannon was not an easy person to like. While I empathized with her pain and the fact she had been taught some very harsh life lessons (very harsh and my heart went out to her many times), it didn’t excuse her behavior towards Cole. Every bad thing that ever happened to her is laid at his feet. Every bad decision she ever made he is blamed for. And she’s nasty about it. If Cole had actually done something to her, I might have been more lenient in my analysis but Cole is utterly delightful from page one. He is kind, sweet, and friendly. He has no idea why she hates him and when her anger at his supposed crimes finally blows…he, like me, is shocked by the vehemence that spews out of her.
A large part of the storyline is spent with Cole trying to prove he is a good guy and get Shannon to trust him.Young uses flashes from the past to dig into Shannon’s psyche and explain to readers why she is like she is. Shannon eventually does soften and open up to Cole but I was literally exhausted by the emotional journey. Lucky for readers, a strong cast of secondary characters keeps the story from becoming Young uses familiar and new faces in the hopes of providing Shannon and Cole with a steady safety net. Advice and friendship is offered indiscriminately and with plenty of good natured humor and snark. I loved seeing how the Carmichael, Walker, McCabe, D’Alessandro, Sawyer family units are faring. It’s always nice to revisit previous characters and see how their lives are progressing. I enjoyed meeting Cole’s friends and fellow employees who aren’t afraid to tell Shannon when she’s behaving abominably (which was frequently).
“Don’t push me.” She stopped and glared at me over her shoulder. “You’re my friend, Shannon. I care about you, but if I have to choose, I choose Cole. So back the fuck off before I slap the fucking stupidity out of you.”
The relationship is very slow to develop, keeping in sync with the general tone of the book. Cole chases Shannon, heroically jumping through hoops to prove he isn’t the bad guy Shannon thinks he was. Wonderful chemistry, thick with emotion, helps to build the tension between Cole and Shannon, assuring us they will eventually make it, it’s just a matter of when. Steamy hot and surprisingly fun love scenes keeps the reader entertained. Cole likes it dirty and apparently, so does Shannon.
“You have no idea how many fantasies I’ve had about you and your hair.”
Flushing hotter than I would have thought possible, I squirmed and whispered, “Tell me one.”
“The most recent?” he said, dragging his gaze from my hair and breasts to my eyes. “You’re naked on your hands and knees, and your hair is spilling down your shoulders, the ends touching my ink on your lower back. Some of your hair is wrapped lightly around my hand as I fuck you from behind.” His eyes flashed. “Hard.”
The end is predictable as Young includes the always present manufactured major dramatic event and we watch as the one remaining barrier is swept away. It was at that moment I actually gained a smidgen of respect for Shannon. She finally did what I had wanted her to do for most of the book – see the man standing before her, make a clear choice, and fight for it. Unfortunately, for me it was too little too late. Young was never able to convince me that Shannon was the women for Cole and worth all her drama.
Needless to say, this was not my favorite book in the series. Fans of the more angst infused drama based romances with tragic heroines are sure to love it, but my enjoyment of the storyline and series couldn’t overcome my strong dislike of the heroine.