Friday, 31 October 2014

Book Review: Afraid to Hope by M.J.Nightingale

Louisa Sears is ready to start over. Escaping her small town where prejudice, long memories, and old fashioned values haunt her, Louisa embarks on her dream of finding love, and a man who can warm up her bed at night. Pregnant at sixteen, divorced from an abusive husband at twenty, and raising a daughter alone, Louisa is now ready to live. She wants what every woman wants. A rock hard man, who knows how to love. Will Florida be the place where her dreams come true?

Jay Russell is battle scarred. A past filled with horrors from childhood, the war in Iraq, and the most devastating event of his life that occurred when he returned home, he is definitely not looking for love. When he first meets Louisa Sears, the bombshell with the fantastic body, he wants one thing, and one thing only, her body underneath him. The hot little ticket that walks by his t-shirt shop, meets all his requirements for a night of passion.

The scars in them run deep though, and they both have secrets. Can two people so deeply wounded by the past learn to trust each other enough to share those secrets? And if they do, will they be able to get past them and learn to hope again?

I have not read any of the other books in this series, but that will change. This was so much more than a sizzling hot romance.

We meet two characters who are attempting to re-build their lives, both have emotional scares, both at different stages of their personal recovery. They are equally attracted to each other, but being together opens old wounds, triggering terrifying memories from their respective pasts. Both are fragile and afraid to hope, that their problems can't be overcome to enable them to move forward and build a future together.

There is no denying the chemistry between Louisa and Jay. Louisa is an upbeat woman, re-building her life after raising her daughter alone after an abusive marriage. Now with an empty nest, she moves to Florida to make a fresh start after finding her dream job. Jay is a rather cheeky guy, oozing sex appeal and gives the impression he is just carefree. However beneath the surface he is riddled with guilt from an incident from the past whilst rehabilitating after serving in the military. He too has made his home in Florida after he re-connecting with his father.

The author brought so much more to Louisa and Jay's story than just their developing relationship. We are given a graphic insight into Jay's past, so that we the readers can sympathise and fully appreciate the full extent of the atrocities Jay was exposed to during active service in the military. It is shocking and uncomfortable to read. However it isn't gratuitous in any way. It is there to serve a purpose.

As I read Afraid To Hope as a standalone, the characters from the previous books in the series slipped well into the plot. I didn't feel any loss for not knowing their background stories they serve to compliment the storyline perfectly. One in particular is pivotal in providing information and insight to Louisa, giving her a new perspective and view on what she has to do to make a relationship with Jay a possibility.

This is a well written book packed with emotions and scorching hot romance. I fully intend to read the other books in this series as well as future works from this author.

4½ stars. **Arc received in exchange for an honest review**