Format: Bound copy (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Slater knew tragedy from a young age, but with the support of his foster family, he turned his life around. Now, back from a stint in the Navy, he’s packed up his motorcycle and returned to Red Hook to help to run the family restaurant—a job that comes with a tantalizing upside. Her name is Rocki.
Flirty, sweet, and outgoing, Rocki brings in crowds as the lead singer of the house band. And although she’s unable to resist the charms of this intense bad boy, she refuses to open her heart to him. Until a family crisis shatters Rocki’s easygoing demeanor, exposing something from her past she’d always hoped would stay hidden.
But Slater knows a thing or two about family secrets—and he sets out to prove to Rocki that their relationship could finally give them both a future worth believing in.
Another new to me author, Robin Kaye definitely has a talent for giving her characters a traumatic past.
Slater is the type of character that grabs your attention from the beginning. At first I wasn't too sure if I liked him, he was a little standoffish and difficult to get to know. It wasn't until he met the heroine, Rocki, that I started to warm up to him. He started to show his true self, he was actually a caring, sweet and sometimes nerdy guy who just happened to be wrapped up in a bad boy package. Irresistible really.
Rocki is an outgoing and charismatic character. She draws people to her with her sweet and flirty personality and of course Slater is no exception. Rocki, for all her looks and job is actually a pretty normal woman who cares for her family. She's a lot like Slater in that way and just like Slater, she also doesn't want any romantic entanglements.
Slater and Rocki's chemistry is undeniable and they spend so much time fighting it that the tension grows by leaps and bounds. I loved that tension that was at times sexual and at others emotional. The push and pull then denial on both parts made things more interesting. Both Slater and Rocki are so likable that I not only rooted for them as a couple but as individual characters.
The added emotional turmoil that occurs in Had to be You was unexpected. Rocki's family trouble takes her by surprise and shows her a different side of Slater that not many people have ever seen, but just when it seems their relationship is heading in a positive, new direction, Slater's past comes back to haunt him and it's a whopper of a revelation. There's such darkness in Slater's past that caught me off guard and it changes him and his relationship with Rocki to where it seemed like he wouldn't be able to come to terms with it.
There's also a surprising relationship between Slater and Nicki, a young girl that Slater's father has taken in to raise. She's surprisingly observant and seems to bring out a side of Slater that no one else can. I liked her innocent honesty and tenacity when it came to getting what she wanted.
Final Verdict: Had to be You was an enjoyable read for me. It had two interesting and somewhat complex characters who in turn have interesting and complex relationships with those around them. There was some great dialogue and humor to balance the sexiness of the relationship between Slater and Rocki as well as some heartbreaking revelations that both characters had to face and overcome.