Quick Reads and Quick Reviews 4

 Cocked & Loaded, [Fields, Annette]  His to Keep, [Wood, Vivian]  Blaze, [Kade, Teagan]

This was a little short for me.  I enjoyed the story and the strong, feisty Pepper the most.  She was a bit fragile near the end, but it was well warranted because of how she'd been maneuvered and raised.  Her heart was guarded but she needed healing just as much, if not more, than the arrogant and aloof Reagan.  He was tender, sweet, and more than a little sexy.  With all that, he was also patient and willing to work hard.  There was no insidious or ulterior motive for his getting close to her beyond the first meeting.  He knew that there was more to not just Pepper but her community that would benefit him than just building on the land first acquired.  All around great story that had more heart than I expected and just enough sexiness to round out a quick and intense romance.  The issue with it being short was more that there was a leftover feeling of shallowness, that there could have been more depth and a foundation that was lacking (not missing, just lacking).  4 stars.

I was a bit disappointed with this story.  The connected story, His Best Friend's Little Sister, was a much better book with more depth and angst and resolution.  Sure, Henry and Ellie had a life-long connection through her brother which gave a background for them, but why can't a book of equal length and interesting circumstances have just as much depth?  There was nothing here to really recommend the romance itself and Samantha tended to be not just submissive, but a doormat and a rather weak female.  I wasn't drawn to her or invested in her.  Connor was arrogant and self-absorbed and his confession near the end wasn't nearly good enough to make up for an entire book of his antipathy and vacillation between being drawn to Sam and denial of anything more than physical attraction.  Then the dating app thing was a total dick move.  Not a fan.  So I didn't hate this book because these people were still human and navigating some difficult circumstances that I hoped would have brought them together in a more concrete, believable, emotional way.  2 stars.

This book was merely okay.  There was a ton of sex, which is always interesting in a story with the title and premise, but there was very little in the way of maturity and growth.  The epilogues were absolutely necessary and the reason for a 3 star instead of a 2 star rating from me.  I liked that they each helped one another with their weaknesses and that their relationship wasn't just physical, it just got a little overshadowed by all the hormonal posturing of 21 year old males.  I actually thought this was an unwise age to make the MC's.  I would have believed their depth of feeling more if they each had a couple/few more years of life experience.  The villain was predictable but not exactly in a bad way.  His craziness was a bit unexpected though.  Overall, this was a pretty good read, definitely quick, but not exactly inspiring depth worth revisiting.  3 stars.

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