We meet Brody Brown, the hero, in the first book in this series, Laid Bare. He is the oldest brother of three siblings on which this series is based. At a young age, the Brown siblings parents die and Brody has to take over the raising of his siblings, putting aside dreams of going to art school. Now years later, Erin Brown is settled down with her two men, Todd and Ben. Life is good for Brody. He is nearing 40, owns his own house, rides his Harley on sunny days and has all the family and friends a man could love. But he doesn’t have that one woman to complete his life.
Elise Sorenson has just moved to Seattle from New York and directly across the street from Brody. Her daughter, Irene or Rennie as she is called, is a typical 7 year old. Having left behind a tragic past and her career as a ballerina, Elise is trying to make a new life for herself and her daughter. Intrigued with Brody, she never expects to meet him only to have him clipped by a hit and run. She jumps right in to doctor him up before the paramedics get there.
What I found so likable about Elise was that she really had a bad incident happen in her life, but she never once let it get her down or make her given in as a parent to Rennie. She was strong for herself and her daughter. While Brody instigated the romance, she fell into it whole heartedly and made no excuses for the desire she felt for him.
Brody, sigh, I just loved his character. While he kept thinking he was getting old at his late 30s, I thought he had just all the right amounts of maturity and strength. He devoted himself to raising his siblings and starting his tattoo shop. He was in fact thinking his life was starting to settle, but he didn’t push away from finding what he wanted. The romance just started as friends with benefits, but grew like any relationship over time.
What I appreciated in this novel was time. The book took place over a year and a half. None of that 1-5 day love affairs. It was a gradual progression and really kind of nice to see it happen like normal people taking time.
There is a part on the custody of Rennie. Any mother who loves her kid (s) knows how heartbreaking that can be. While it wasn’t a ex-husband, it was still painful to watch her go through this process.
Overall, I just adored this book from many angles: length of love affair, fidelity, strength of characters and mature characters.