Series: Hurley Brothers

Review: Back to You by Lauren Dane

Posted January 4, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Back to You by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Back to You by Lauren Dane
Series: Hurley Brothers #3
Also in this series: The Best Kind of Trouble, Broken Open

Publication Date: June 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
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What won't he do for a second chance? 
Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn't truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly's finally ready to move on, and she's planning to marry another man. 
But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it. 
Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish—and prideful—fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock-star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly's beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he's had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he's the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there's only one way to do it…

This is a great reunited lovers story. Vaughn and Kelly were everything I’d hoped they’d be from the glimpses we had of them in previous books. The timeline of this book runs parallel to Broken Open, the 2nd book in the series. There isn’t a lot of overlap, however. Just enough to see certain scenes from a different perspective, but not enough to make me feel like I was reading the same story twice.

Vaughn and Kelly loved each other deeply once upon a time. Then Vaughn screwed it all up and Kelly left him. She’s been a wonderful mother to their two girls, and made sure he had a much access to them as possible given his schedule, but she’s mainly avoided him and his family, who blamed her for their separation (something he hasn’t ever bothered to correct). Vaughn is man enough to admit he never stopped loving Kelly, but it isn’t until she gets engaged to someone else that he realizes he isn’t ready to let her go. He’s going to fight for her – for them.

Kelly let Vaughn in once, and he broke her heart. She can’t deny she still has feelings for him, but she doesn’t trust him not to break her again. Until suddenly he’s back in her life, admitting he was the one who ruined everything and trying to make things right. She wants to resist him, but this Vaughn isn’t the man she knew before. He’s stronger, steadier and sexier than ever. Kelly doesn’t want to give Vaughn her heart, but she isn’t sure she can resist. Not when he’s determined to bust through her walls.

Vaughn didn’t impress me in the previous books, and he wasn’t shown in a very favorable light once the details of his past came to light in this book. But it was clear he’d grown and matured, and I really came to love him. His determination to right his past wrongs and prove to Kelly he was the man she needed him to be was admirable and sexy. He was a wonderful father, a loving brother and son, and great husband material.

Kelly was a strong woman who was understandably gunshy. Her fierce protection of her children and her determination to let them grow up with as much family near as possible was lovely to read about. Too often the ex-wife (even when she’s the heroine of the story) keeps her kids away from her former in-laws, but Kelly did her best to keep them involved. Considering her former mother-in-law’s extreme dislike of her, this was no easy task. That’s the theme for Kelly, though; doing things that are hard because they need to be done. I had a lot of admiration for her.

There was a good amount of anger, frustration and sadness between them, which really came across well. My heart hurt for the both of them. I wanted to see Vaughn man-up and do right by Kelly, but I understood why he held back so long. Similarly I wanted Kelly to forgive Vaughn and let him back in, but I understood her wariness. They had chemistry in spades, though, and I truly felt their love for one another.

An intoxicating tale of love and second chances. The secondary characters add flavor and excitement without overshadowing the romance.

4 out of 5


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Review: Broken Open by Lauren Dane

Posted March 17, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Broken Open by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Broken Open by Lauren Dane
Series: Hurley Brothers #2
Also in this series: The Best Kind of Trouble, Back to You
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: December 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Beyond passion. And beyond their control… 
Five years ago, Tuesday Eastwood's life collapsed and left her devastated. After an empty, nomadic existence, she's finally pieced her life back together in the small Oregon town of Hood River. Now Tuesday has everything sorted out. Just so long as men are kept for sex, and only sex… 
Then she met him. 
Musician and rancher Ezra Hurley isn't the man of Tuesday's dreams. He's a verboten fantasy—a man tortured by past addictions whose dark charisma and long, lean body promise delicious carnality. But this craving goes far beyond chemistry. It's primal. It's insatiable. And it won't be satisfied until they're both consumed, body and soul…

For years Ezra lived the high life of a rock star; partying it up, going crazy and eventually drowning in addiction. He’s been clean for years, but he still struggles with his demons. Though he still makes music with his brothers, he no longer tours with them, or does live shows. He spends his time working the family ranch and writing music. He isn’t looking for a relationship, but he lure of his sister-in-law’s best friend is more than he can resist. Tuesday is the whole package: strong, independent and so sexy he can barely breathe around her.  But Ezra has battled addiction in the past and the last thing he wants is to develop another – even one as sexy as she is.

Tuesday had it all once, until tragedy struck and she was left empty and alone. For years she wandered, unable and unwilling to put down roots. Finally she’s made peace with her past, and has settled in Hood River, close to her best friends from college. She’s happy to create jewelry and have casual sex, but she isn’t interested in anything deeper. Ezra is the perfect guy for a fling, except that he’s now related to her best friend through marriage – and she wants him a little more than she should.  She doesn’t want to risk her heart, especially on a sexy rocker who has more baggage than she does.

But their chemistry is hard to deny, and they end up forming a friendship despite their intentions. Which is fine, until they start to realize friendship is only the beginning.

I know I say this all the time, but Dane writes the best heroines. They’re strong and capable and have their own lives and thoughts independent of the hero. Tuesday knows her own mind, and refuses to bend for Ezra or anyone else. She can compromise, but she isn’t willing to change herself for anyone. I admired her strength and determination a great deal, especially given her past. She could easily have brushed aside her feelings for Ezra in order to protect herself, but instead she faced them head on. Hell, she faced everything head on.

Ezra’s darkness could have consumed him, but he made it out. He still feels tremendous guilt over his past actions, and harbors a healthy fear of  falling back into old habits. Once an addict always an addict, right? He denies himself the things he wants most, so they don’t become addictions. Which includes a relationship with Tuesday. I think for all the healing he did, and all the progress he made in his recovery, he was still broken. He’d gotten clean, but he hadn’t taken the next step in reclaiming his life. That could have been painful or frustrating, but it was hard not to understand where he was coming from. Especially given his previous plummet to rock bottom.

Tuesday and Ezra both had strong support systems. The Hurley family is close, and though Ezra’s brothers frustrated him, they always had his back. Tuesday’s biological family wasn’t close in proximity, but her roommates from college were her best friends, and they were family just as much as her biological ones. I loved how tight they all were, and how quick to jump on – or in front of – one another when needed.

I’m really loving these Hurley boys. Ezra was pretty damaged, but I think Tuesday did a good job of putting him back together. I love how fierce and confident she was, and how strong he was despite his darkness. They suited each other well. 

4 out of 5


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Review (+ Giveaway): The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

Posted August 25, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 17 Comments

Review (+ Giveaway): The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane
Series: Hurley Brothers #1
Also in this series: Broken Open, Back to You
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

She has complete control…and he's determined to take it away 
A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton's world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley…. 
And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for. 
Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there's a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!

Natalie and Paddy hooked up years ago when he was just getting started in the music biz and she was a waitress at a dive bar they frequented.  In the intervening years, Paddy’s band, Sweet Hollow Ranch – which is made up of all his brothers – exploded and he’s now a major rock star. Natalie gave up the party lifestyle in favor of a master’s degree and career as a librarian.

They run into each other in a coffee shop in Paddy’s hometown, where Natalie has been living for several years (she figured they’d never run into each other, or if they did he wouldn’t recognize her). He enjoyed her then and would like to enjoy her again, but Natalie’s youth was full of chaos and she wants nothing to do with his lifestyle.

Paddy refuses to give up and Natalie eventually gives in. Neither are prepared for the tight bond that engulfs them,  or the chemistry that sets them on fire. When pieces of Natalie’s past come back to haunt her, her faith in Paddy and their relationship will be tested. Can Paddy prove he’s worth putting her trust into?

Natalie grew up with an addict for a father. She started to go down that road herself until she realized she was ruining her life and pulled herself together. She’s since become a total control freak, needing to be in charge of every aspect of her life. It’s the only way she knows to keep herself from falling down the rabbit hole. Paddy upsets everything about her carefully ordered world. Though it takes time, she eventually comes to trust him enough to give up some of her control to him. Their relationship started out slow and progressed in the same way, which really worked with their past issues.

Paddy is used to having it easy. When Natalie pretends she doesn’t remember him and turns him down, he’s intrigued. It started as a challenge, but he quickly realized she was special and started pushing because he wanted her, not just because she was a novelty.  It was great how quickly he fell into her and how reluctant he was to get out. I like that they both recognized their faults even when they weren’t able to get out from under them.

The bond between the brothers was tight. They pushed, supported and loved one another. They were family in every sense of the word. Though Natalie didn’t have any flesh and blood family worth claiming, she did have a family-of-the-heart in the form of her college roommates.  They were just as solid as the Hurley brothers. Dane really excels at writing family relationships, whether blood or of the heart.

I loved spending time with Nat, Paddy and their families. I wasn’t ready to leave when the story ended.

4.25 out of 5

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