Dottie’s Star Rating: 4.5 Stars
When I learned B.T. Urruela was writing his first solo book, I was instantly intrigued! I had read and completely ADORED his first foray into the world of becoming an author called A Lover’s Lament, which was co-written by K.L. Grayson. It was very exciting to hear he had ventured into creating a solo novel this time and I put a bug in the ear to the “powers that be” that I would love to get a hold of an ARC to review this new book when it became available! Jenn had heard that the ending wasn’t a typical HEA and was worried I wouldn’t want to read it as a result; but I assured her if BT wrote it, I would read it. And I am here to tell you…it was a very good decision on my part!
Now just because this book doesn’t have a typical HEA, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it, even if you’re a reader who wants their happy endings! This is a book, however, that becomes pretty raw in some of the things that happen within it, can get a bit dark at times. But that didn’t detour me at all – there are a lot of times where I want to read a book that’s got some serious grit to it and this fit that bill rather nicely! (This is not to mean that it’s one of those “dark” books where you never have a chance to smile – I’d say this book is simply a good balance between the light and the dark.)
As the introduction of this book begins to open into the story, it does it in such a way that I felt my eyebrows raise and I wondered where on earth this story could possibly be going (with that beginning). It was intense and yet it pulled me right in – I wanted to see how this situation could even have transpired! I read on. And on. And even though my eyelids were so heavy and I could barely keep them open, told everybody I was going to sleep and said my goodnights…I laid in bed and thought about this book instead. Next thing I knew, my e-reader was back in my hand and I found myself reading more – up until I finished the book at 3:45 in the morning! I felt compelled to see what was happening in this story; I couldn’t wait until morning to finish it!
Xander is definitely a guy I was drawn to as a character. He’s strong and honorable and yet, he’s got some personal demons he needs to conquer. He’s been a traveling man for quite a while and stumbled upon a small town in Missouri when he stops for the night. As he’s sitting at the local bar, a young woman walks in to pick up a “to go” order and is about the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. When one of the locals gets in her face and treats her in an ungentlemanly-like manner, Xander just isn’t having it and steps in to help. I liked how he went about it too – if I were a woman in that situation, I’d want a Xander to step in for me too!
And the young woman he assists, her name is Paige and she’s a local gal. She lives with her family and they own/run a large, beautiful winery just down the way from the bar. She’s recently out of a relationship with a guy who just wasn’t good to her – in more ways than one! She, however, is one of the lucky ones! She has a good family who had her back and have supported her through thick and thin. Once they realized what she was dealing with in regards to her ex – well, let’s just say they stepped up immediately and brought her back home and took steps to make it clear to this guy that he’s just done with her. Sadly, some guys are dense and it takes a while to get the message across.
When Xander decides to stay in town for a while to work and pad his bank account for the next part of his journey, he tries to stay away from Paige. He knows he’s just in town temporarily, and although he finds her amazing, he also realizes she’s the type of woman who has the potential to be a game-changer. This is a woman he could have true feelings for. But he’s got some family obligations that will keep him moving on soon and it just doesn’t feel fair to get involved with her for just a short time…
…But what can I say? I’ve never craved someone like I do Paige, and while I know all the reasons she and I can’t hook up, it just makes the prospect of it that much more appealing. It makes her untouchable. And I like untouchable. That’s not something a man can even help….
But Paige is a woman who knows her own mind. She knows she’s completely smitten with Xander and wants to learn more. Not only is this a guy who came to her rescue in the bar the night she met him, but he’s also become someone she has gotten to know a bit better and it only makes her want to learn more…
…Out of nowhere, she bursts into laughter, holding two hands to her mouth. I start laughing too – the drunken kind of laugh brought on by just about anything. . .and everything. Paige puts a hand to my chest, trying to catch her breath… “Xander Evans, I want to know you.” “You already know more than most. . .and it’s only been two days,” I say. It’s the truth, after all. “I wanna know more.” “Why?” Fuck, I really don’t even care why. I want to know more about this girl too. “I don’t know.” She slips her bottom lip into her mouth, nervously darting her eyes around the driveway. “You have to have a valid reason before I share anything.” I smile my biggest smile, trying my best to keep her right where she is, but as she yawns, I know our night is coming to an end…”I don’t need a reason. You, sir, will tell me because I’m adorable and because I asked nicely.” She blows me a kiss, and turning on her heel, she makes her way to the house. I can’t help but watch her as she walks away, her beautiful ass firm and teasing me from beneath short jean shorts. I wish she’d turn around, no matter the trouble it would inevitably cause….
The information provided about this book is correct – the ending in not a typical HEA – that being said, this is a book where I was perfectly fine with the ending (and I’m a girl who likes her HEAs!!). I felt the ending was one I could appreciate and felt this was absolutely where this book should have concluded. (Don’t worry, there’s not one of those pesky cliff-hangers, thank goodness)!
There were some serious twists and turns in this one…and this book kept me guessing about which way it would go and truly, I wanted to know “Who did it?” As you have seen from the synopsis, Xander ends up in prison after one crazy night – this means there was a crime committed and I honestly was flummoxed about who did the crime! There were honestly a few different suspects and I was constantly guessing and then guessing again about who could have possibly “done it.” I love it when a book keeps me guessing and the answer is not at all obvious! A predictable book is fun sometimes, but give me a good twist any day and I’m a very happy girl!
The bottom line is, BT Urruela is absolutely someone whom I will want to read whatever he writes! I was surprised, to be completely honest, that this book didn’t directly involve the military as it’s B.T.’s professional history and had also prominently played a huge part of A Lover’s Lament. But you know what? This book shows this guy has range that will take him far. I’m on this road with him for as long as he wants to write – hop on board with me and check him out! Get to know this awesome guy, you won’t be sorry!!