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Thursday, April 16, 2015

ARC Review: Taking What's His by Diane Alberts

Seriously, those Brazen imprints are going to kill me. Diane Alberts is a new to me author and she didn't disappoint! Any fans here? Want to share with me which book I should read next?

Format: .epub (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Entangled/Brazen
Release Date: April 28, 2015

One explosive device was all it took to turn Holt Cunningham from ass-kicking Marine to IT technician. Hell, he's still not over it. So when the cute little strawberry blonde at the bar asks him to kiss her, Holt can't resist the temptation of a sexy distraction. Before he knows it, she's blown his mind...and then skipped out the next morning.

Lydia Thomas never expected things with Holt to go quite that far, but oh, it was worth it. After being far too good for way too long, she was ready to be bad. Except that there's that tiny detail that Lydia kept to herself—Holt just spend the night doing naughty things...with his best friend's little sister.

One night isn't nearly enough. But with his friendship on the line, how far will Holt go in order to claim what's his?

Former Marine Holt Cunningham spends his days as an IT technician and his nights picking up random women to help him dull the nightmares that plague him. It’s the same routine every time, until one night a woman named Lydia walks up to him and asks him to kiss her. One thing leads to another and Holt spends an amazing, nightmare free night with Lydia but before he can ask himself why she’s different, Lydia is out the door without a trace. It isn’t until he runs into Lydia again that he realizes he made a huge mistake because Lydia is his best friend’s little sister!

Lydia Thomas knew that Holt should be off limits. She knew after a few minutes of conversation that he was her brother’s best friend but the chemistry she had with him was irresistible. Thinking that she could easily avoid meeting up with Holt again, Lydia gives in and doesn’t regret a thing. Until she accompanies her brother to a work function and runs into Holt again. And yes, the chemistry is still there.

This was one yummy piece of work and I just couldn’t get enough of Holt and Lydia’s intense romance! From the get go, they were like two magnets drawn to each other no matter what. Poor Holt, as noble and honorable as he was before, he was just so helpless against his attraction to Lydia.

Author Diane Alberts (aka Jen McLaughlin) made Holt seem like he was two different men that made up a complicated but definitely wounded hero. There was Holt the Marine, the man who received a head injury that resulted in him having to leave the Marines. He suffered from severe migraines and “episodes” where his speech would come out jumbled. That man did not want to show weakness, he was an alpha male and alpha males didn’t get migraines and they didn’t rely on anyone but themselves. He was physically strong and wanted to stay that way. But then there was Holt the IT technician. The smart guy, the nerdy looking guy with the glasses and the charming smile that was irresistible. That guy was vulnerable and frightened of the nightmares and the speech problems. I loved both sides of him because he wasn’t over the top extreme in his behavior. He had just enough alpha and nerd to make me see what Lydia saw. I adored Holt.

With such a strong male lead it was a little hard for Lydia to shine through. I felt that Taking What’s His was more Holt’s point of view than Lydia’s. Aside from a few facts, I didn’t get to know her as well as I did Holt. I did learn that she was a hard worker, a little unsure in the beginning of the book but gradually grew into a steady, confident woman who didn’t take crap from anyone, not even the man she fell in love with.

Normally a story told from mainly one point of view wouldn’t have worked for me. I usually have to get to know both characters and get inside both of their heads in order for me to become lost in the story (which is why I really don’t care for first person narrative except in very rare cases). But in this case I’ll make an exception because the author did such a good job making the story about Holt and his journey towards having a normal life without making him seem self absorbed.

Even with minor appearances by previous characters and Lydia’s overprotective brother, Taking What’s His remained focused on Holt and Lydia’s relationship which I enjoyed. I don’t like stories that branch off into a bunch of different smaller stories. One main romance at a time is about all I can handle.

Taking What’s His is part of the Shillings Agency series, the fourth book if I’m not mistaken, which until now I hadn’t heard of. It can be read as a standalone but with such scorching chemistry between Holt and Lydia, I’m curious to see if the same applies to previous books. In fact, I’m adding all of Diane Alberts’ books to my “Want To Read” shelf on Goodreads.

Final Verdict: I'm thinking I'll add the previous books to my list of reviews to do for Throwback Thursday Reviews. Hopefully the gift card fairies will visit me ;)

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