Series: Star Harbor
Author: Elisabeth Barrett
Read copy: eBook
Published: May 13, 2013
Julie Kensington grew up in the same small town as the Grayson brothers and remembers when the boys were nothing but trouble. As teenagers, Cole’s rugged sex appeal set Julie’s heart ablaze, but she did her best to ignore it. Now a grown woman with a medical degree, Julie still can’t resist her searing attraction to the roughest, toughest Grayson. He’s ex-military, tormented, and sexier than ever, but are his wounds too deep to be healed by her loving, gentle touch?
Even back in high school, straight-arrow Julie had a way of making Cole think twice about his bad-boy lifestyle. When Julie decides she’s finally ready to embrace her wild side, Cole knows he is just the man to show her the way, unleashing years of pent-up desire. Neither of them counted on falling in love, but when Cole’s demons threaten to derail their relationship, it’s up to Julie to show him that together, they can overcome the past . . . and build a future.
Cole Grayson, current sheriff of Star Harbor, has no time—or patience—for getting involved with a woman deeper than for a few nights of pleasure. There's his job for one, keeping the people of Star Harbor safe while trying to put a stop to the drug dealers and smugglers obviously using the small town as the center of their operation. And then there's the 'little' issue of his PTSD. Though the nightmares have finally stopped, doesn't mean he might not snap at any minute. His temper is a very frail thing.
So, what the heck is he doing sniffing after Star Harbor doctor Julie Kensington? Isn't she the one who slapped him when he tried kissing her in high school? And she's too classy, too sexy, too gentle, too beautiful...too everything to dally with him. But he just can't stay away. And when she starts returning his kisses, matching his passion with his own, Cole slowly starts to believe he just might be worthy of her...
Yes! Yes! Yes! I loved Seb's story and I was disappointed by Theo's story so I was rather apprehensive about reading Cole's book, fearing it might end up the way the second one did. Or the heroine might have as much (or more) issues than the previous two (though Lexie's were legitimate and understandable).
So you can imagine my delight when I realized Cole's story was (so far) the best in the series:
- he was amazing, sexy, heroic, a bit Neandertalish sometimes, intense, hot, uber-intense, and this time it was him that had more baggage and more issues than his heroine (but he wasn't annoying because of that!),
- his heroine was the best so far in the series—strong and resilient, realistic (definitely not a Mary Sue type, which I liked, given the fact the amount of dangerous situations she found herself in), smart, and (almost) no issue in sight, especially those of the I-cannot-trust-the-hero-for-whatever-idiotic-reason variety,
- the story was great—especially because of the emphasis on the suspense arc with the drugs and dangerous situations the heroine found herself in needing the brawny hero to rescue her (I was getting a bit tired with the 'straight' romance plots of the previous two books),
- we got to see the after-HEAs of Seb/Lexie and Theo/Avery pairings (I'm still partial to the first couple, because I cannot 'forgive' Avery for being an idiot just yet),
- a small part of the main suspense arc was resolved with the revealing of the Star Harbor-based 'mastermind' of the operations (I suspected the wife, to be honest), so now I cannot wait to see what happens next when Val comes charging in (finally),
- and I also experienced a choke-up moment toward the end, where Cole thought he was being so noble, while at the same time being a complete idiot, but I loved that little choke-up moment, because it seemed so 'realistic' to me (I might be off base, but it somehow played well into the whole PTSD issue that his reasoning sounded rather plausible).
Another winner, if you ask me—as I said, my favorite book in the series so far. And although it ended, and I was very satisfied with how it ended, I just wanted to keep reading. I'm glad there's the last one still waiting to be read, because I've fallen hard for the Grayson brothers...And the little town of Star Harbor.
Kudos to Ms. Barrett for her wonderful narration when it comes to the descriptions of the town and all its nuances (including the people). Every time the narration shifts from the characters to their environment, I feel like I'm there with them, experiencing the town alongside them. I've seen it in autumn, winter, and spring. Now lets see what summer brings.