Inside Out by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #3
Also in this series: Drawn Together
Published by Berkley Trade
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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WORTH THE WAIT
Ella Tipton is a survivor. In the wake of an attack that nearly left her dead, she has spent each day putting her life back together. Once vibrant and outgoing, she's needed to reclaim the best parts of who she was while retaining the hard-won lessons. There hasn't been room for any romantic entanglements, even if she were ready. Still, it doesn't mean she has to stop sneaking looks at Mister Tall, Dark and Tattooed himself.
Security professional Andrew Copeland isn't quite sure when his jones for the lovely and decidely skittish Ella developed. He's known her for years, has watched her triumph over the pain she's been dealt. Cope is no stranger to women, but he knows the nervous flush he gets every time he talks to Ella is different from any attraction he's had in the past. Determined to get Ella to let him in, Cope does the one thing he can think of to get close: he offers her hands-on training in self-defense.
While Ella's sure Cope is just being nice, the prospect of being able to touch him and and gain the tools to push away the last vestiges of her fear is more than she can resist. Soon enough, Cope shows Ella his feelings are far more than friendly, and he reignites something deep inside her. It isn't long before desire and love turn them both inside out.
Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.
The first time I read this book I was left feeling a little disappointed. While the other two books were slow moving in parts, I found this one to be rather slow from beginning to end. I kept wanting..something. Some kind of culmination or showdown. Upon re-reading the book, however, I was much more satisfied. I really liked the slow slide the characters took into love. This series is about real people finding real love. So it wasn’t dramatic or crazy. That took some getting used to.
I adored Ella and Cope both separately and as a couple. They had amazing chemistry and really got each other. They were both willing to look past the surface and see the real person inside. Because of Ella’s past, I expected most of the conflict, or hesitation, to come from her. She was in an abusive relationship and suffered greatly for it. We watched her recover slowly through the previous books, but I expected she’d still have some baggage.
So it was kind of a surprise to see that Cope was the one with the issues. Sure, Ella suffers still because of her past, but she made a decision not to let her past rule her life, and aside from a few bumps here and there, she’s stuck by that. She’s fairly well adjusted, and works hard to confront her fears. It was wonderful to see such a well-adjusted character come out of something so tragic.
Cope’s issues weren’t the result of a tragedy. They were just insecurities that come from never quite measuring up to his perfect older brother. That’s not to say he didn’t love his family and get along with them, because he did. He just didn’t feel like he was quite good enough. He definitely recognized what a gem Ella was, and didn’t hesitate to snatch her up. I think the depth of his feelings took him by surprise and he wasn’t sure how to deal with them. I loved that Ella didn’t let him get away with it, though. She called him on his crap and made him deal with it.
Issues aside, Cope was an amazing man. He was sweet and caring, and he really took the time to understand Ella. The packages he sent Ella totally melted me. The first one she opened had my heart stuttering. Although parts of it moved slow, it was the moments like those that really made the book.
As always, it was good to see the Brown siblings and their crew together. Erin and her men really played a large part in the novel, because of issues she was having. Elise and Brody were also featured, as the novel revolved in part around their engagement party and wedding. I like that Dane wove the characters together without taking away from Cope and Ella.
Another great novel in Dane’s Brown Siblings series. I love that the focus of these novels is directly on the characters and their growing relationship, instead of outside conflicts and misunderstandings.
4 out of 5