My Review: This is the first thing I've read by Lauren Blakely, but I can see why she's a well-liked author. This book had me hooked from the very beginning, and not just because I'm a sucker for heist novels, which this very much is. Blakely's writing just sucks you in, the story is stellar, and the characters really steal the show. Jake cares about his family, and he has a good sense of humor - both things that really stick out about him right from the beginning, and continue to show throughout the novel. Steph has a good heart, and a strong drive to make her business work, and to get her life back on track. But what really stuck out to me was how genuine her feelings are when it comes to her stepfather. There is a very good chance he has stolen a lot of money from people who can't afford it, but it's obviously hard for her to see him as a bad guy while also seeing him as the man who raised her. You can really feel her struggle with it, and I'm glad the author didn't just glaze over this, but truly made it part of Steph's dilemma.
I know this is mostly my own fault, since I didn't look too deeply into the series, but I didn't realize this was a cliffhanger. I was getting more and more nervous as the story progressed, thinking there was no way the author could wrap everything up with only ten percent of the book left. And while the cliffhanger made me instantly desperate for the next book, I appreciated that she didn't just try to throw everything together at the end. I'd rather this spread over several books, so everything progresses naturally, than to have it wrapped up willy-nilly, and not-so-neatly.
I will definitely be reading the next book, and I can't wait to check out more by this author. This was a one-sitting read for me because I just couldn't put it down. It had everything I needed - a good story, amazing characters, a believable (and hot!) romance, and plot twists that had me drooling for more.
Cover Lovin': Oh my, yes.
Recommendation: This is the beginning of a new series, so no prior knowledge necessary. Also: Cliffhanger alert! So prepare yourself.
Final Rating: FOUR AND A HALF out of FIVE stars! (4.5/5). Loved this, couldn't put it down. It was a one-sitting read, and I even stayed up super late to finish it, because I simply had to know what was going to happen next.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
“Let’s make it a double,” he said, and after they chatted more about fish and the sea and the Islands, he pointed to the dartboard. “Since you have that dart certification and all, any chance you can give me a few pointers?” he asked, standing up to grab a dart from the board. He returned and held it out to her. She rose and moved closer, and when she reached for the end, he wrapped a hand around her wrist and tugged her in close.
Just like that. The gauntlet was thrown. The move was made. She was in his arms. Poised. For something more. For this moment to unspool into something else. A ribbon of heat raced through her body as she catalogued everything. His gaze held her hostage. His green eyes blazed darkly as he stared at her like he wanted to eat her up. That fierce look made her shudder. She was so close she could breathe him in, and his skin smelled so damn good. Like sunshine and showers. And he was hard everywhere. Not just there, because she wasn’t exactly in that spot, but his arms, and his abs, and his legs.
His fingers curled around her waist, gripping her as Jack Johnson sang about banana pancakes and pretending it’s the weekend all the time.
“Three things,” he whispered, his voice all rough and hot, turning her on before he even uttered another word. “One, I want to kiss you. Two, I’m going to kiss you. Three, if you don’t want me to, say no now. Otherwise . . .”
He inched closer. She parted her lips, and a small sigh escaped. “Yes.”
She closed her eyes and waited. In that second before his lips met hers, the wondrous thrill of anticipation weaved through her body. The hope that kissing a stranger named Jake in a bar would be worth it. That he wouldn’t kiss like a slobbery Saint Bernard, all tongue and exuberance. Nor like a schoolboy, hell-bent on vacuuming up her lips. Call her greedy, call her needy, or just call her a woman who hadn’t been kissed well in a long while.
But she wanted that kiss.
The kind that made your knees weak.
That sent your heart fluttering.
That spread warmth on a sweet, shivery path through your chest.
✮✮✮ THE SAPPHIRE AFFAIR is here! From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely’s new contemporary romance Jewel Novel series, this enemies-to-lovers series is filled with sex, wit, glamour, and high stakes, with a rugged, ex-military, dirty-talking alpha hero! Don’t miss this explosive and passionate series! ✮✮✮
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