Monday, March 24, 2014


NOTORIOUS (Seaclusion series, Book 2) by Leanne Davis
Published by The Wild Rose Press, November 2013

About the Book:

Luke Tyler wants peace from the grief that has ruled his life in the three years since his wife’s death. Instead he is forced to share a house with Kelly Reeves as they care for their shared nephew. He dislikes everything about Kelly until he begins to glimpse the true woman hiding beneath the notorious reputation that Kelly has carefully created. 
Kelly thought her trip to the small town of Seaclusion, Washington, would be nothing but a forgettable two-week vacation. Then she accidentally witnesses Luke’s staggering grief and suddenly reevaluates what is truly important. Soon, Luke becomes the only person she trusts past the facade she has cultivated.
Kelly believes their love can conquer all, but Luke isn’t convinced. Kelly is forced back to her life of fame and fortune, making Luke question which is riskier…letting her walk away or running after her?

Sometimes you buy a book because you love the cover, right? This cover drew me right in. I'm not even sure if I read the blurb until after hitting the "buy now" button on Amazon. So the storyline was a little bit of a surprise to me as I started reading, and totally not what I expected.

Which is kind of a theme running through NOTORIOUS.

This is not an action or suspense novel, and most of the emotional turmoil is internal or played out on the small screen between two main characters who are broken, each in their own way. The drama comes from the way the two crash together and then slowly blend until you are rooting for them to figure it out already and be happy. The author throws one obstacle after another into their world, and the suspense is whether Kelly and Luke will be able to handle one. more. thing.

Kelly Reeves is a gorgeous high-paid supermodel, visiting the small town of Seaclusion (along the Washington coastline) for her big sister's wedding.When she was just starting her career, she posed for pin-up fantasy shots, which remain both popular and scandalous to the small town folk. As in, everyone has seen her breasts in print. She's a regular feature in the gossip rags, flitting from one scandal to the next. The paparazzi follow her to her sister's wedding and cause a scene. She's a notorious, self-absorbed party girl.

But that's not who she really is. It's her persona. An act. Her sister understands this and loves her, but the rest of the town? Not so much. Especially not the groom's brother, Luke Tyler. Luke sees Kelly as everything that's wrong with women and the world, and is not shy about sharing his gruff opinion.

But Luke is dealing with angst of his own. His pregnant wife died in a car accident three years before, and he can't get over the pain or the hole left in his heart. He sleepwalks through life, wishing he'd died instead. He pretends everything is fine, and puts on an act for everyone in town, with polite smiles that never quite reach his eyes. Or his heart. His disdain for Kelly is his only true emotion.

Thrown together with Kelly to babysit her sister's son Tim, he figures he'll grit his teeth and bare it like he does everything else in life. But Kelly has other plans - like helping him heal and get on with living. Okay, that sounds kind of suggestive, which isn't her original intent at all, although there is plenty of heat as the story progresses. The interplay between the two main characters is wonderful to watch, as is the gradual unfolding of both Luke and Kelly from one-dimensional stereotypes to emotional people the reader cares about and roots for.

If you enjoy a story with emotional angst and truly wonderful character building, give NOTORIOUS  a shot.

You can find it on AMAZON or from The Wild Rose Press.

Note: This is the second in a series, but I never read the first one. I wish I had, as it sounds like it was a twisty romantic suspense, but now that I know every twist of the resolution I probably won't read it. If you like to read eery book in a series, you might want to start with POISON. I can recommend the author's voice and writing style, so I'm sure the first book is a page turner. Book 2 is totally a stand-alone book, and at times I forgot this was a "book 2" as it wasn't relevant to the characters and their immediate situation, kind of like Carly Phillips' SERENDIPITY series. So if reading every book in the series doesn't matter to you, read this one. I can totally vouch for it being a good read.

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