Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: I have the new edition, nice but not exciting.
Sometimes one look is all it takes.
Chloe Peterson has vowed never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Her reasons are as vivid as the bruises on her cheek. So when her car skids off a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced the gorgeous guy who rescues her must be too good to be true.
As a successful international photographer, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women. He’s satisfied with his life – until he finds Chloe and her totalled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley.
With every loving look – and every sinfully sweet caress – the attraction between them sizzles, and Chloe can’t help but wonder if she’s met the man who may be the exception to her rule …
I’ve been reading reviews about this series for a long time, and one day I decided: I am going to buy the first one, and read it myself (thanks Riverina Romantics blog!). I did enjoy Bella Andre’s hot shot series, so I already knew I like her writing style. To my happy surprise, this series was just (re-?)issued in paperback, and not too expensive, so I pre-ordered the first 5 books in the series. And I have to say, I really enjoyed meeting all the Sullivans at the start of the book, and am looking forward to reading their stories.
The first one is about Chase Sullivan, who is a famous photographer. After celebrating their mothers’ 70th birthday, Chase is on his way to his brother Marcus’ country home. Marcus owns a very successful vineyard, and Chase has arranged a photo shoot at the premises for the next week. And while Chase will be staying in the guesthouse, he as also arranged a sexual interlude with Marcus’ manager Ellen. But the weather is getting worse and worse, and when he spots a woman walking on the road, and a car in the ditch, he just has to stop and offer his help. Chloe is on the run from her abusive ex-husband, and she really doesn’t trust Chase’s offer. Her husband also started out looking too good to be true, and in the end, he was. And Chase is even bigger and stronger looking! But still, there is something about him that calls to her, and she really does need some help. It is too far and too dangerous to walk to the next town and arrange her car to be picked up. Not like she has the money to spare either.
Instead of taking Chloe to the nearby hotel, Chase decides to take her with him. His brother’s guesthouse has more than enough bedrooms, and he just feels the need to protect her from whomever she is running from. After he saw that bruise on her cheek, he became instantly protective. Even though he has been tiring from his habit of sleeping around, that does not mean he is ready to settle down! But still, there is something about Chloe that makes him rethink his life.
At first Chloe thinks that Chase is just another rich man used to doing as he pleases and getting what he wants, but even though she can tell that Chase is interested in her, he does not touch her or pressure her into anything. And when they find the naked woman waiting in his bed, she just has to laugh about it all, though Chase is kind of embarrassed. He completely forgot about Ellen, and now he is only interested in Chloe. So, exit Ellen, who does not really seem to mind. When Chase later walks into the bathroom while Chloe is having a bath, he wants nothing more than to join her, but he manages to restrain himself. But not enough to leave to room right away. She sure is a sight to behold! And Chloe doesn’t know what is happening either, but she is not afraid of Chase, and even flirts with him. Still, nothing happens, and she is even a tiny bit disappointed by that.
The next day, she finds Chase in the vineyards, working on his photoshoot, and she is invited to stay and watch. She can’t go anywhere until her car is repaired anyway, and Chase has asked one of his other brothers to take care of that. Chloe finds herself really enjoying the day, and makes friends with some of the models and other staff quickly. Still, dinner with Marcus and Chase afterwards is great as well, until Marcus starts asking questions she is not ready to answer. So when she escapes to the bathroom, Chase really takes Marcus to task for that. But Marcus, as the oldest Sullivan, is protective of his siblings, even though they have outgrown that need. And he offers to have looked into Chloe and her past, but Chase refuses. She will come to trust him eventually, and tell him all about herself and who hit her. He won’t pressure her for answers.
That attraction between Chase and Chloe is off the charts, and soon they give into it. And wow, those love scenes are hot! Bella Andre sure knows how to write those.
This book is completely about the romance, the main characters and their interaction. Chloe’s past is told in little bits and pieces, and there is not really a plot to follow. They spend a few happy days in the vineyard, working at the photoshoot, and spending the evenings and nights together. Even though the smexy times began fairly early, they did take the time to learn about the other. Chase knows she is the one for him, and even though he knows she is not ready for a new relationship, he will wait for her, but he will not give up on her. Chloe thinks she can handle a fling, before she starts her own life again, she thinks she has to be able to make it on her own first, to stand on her own two feet. But love comes knocking on your heart when you least expect it, and she does not want to lie to herself anymore. She has fallen for Chase.
Her husband was a controlling jerk, constantly belittling her and telling her what to do and how to act, and she just accepted that. Until she did no longer, and he took away her quilting stuff from her. That is when she had enough, and got out. But even know they are divorced, he wants her back, and he doesn’t shun violence to get her back. Which is why she was running away that night. And now she has met Chase, and he is offering her everything she has ever wanted out of life, a loving family. How can she say no to that?
I enjoyed it, Chloe is becoming really free, and is enjoying herself with Chase, not afraid to ask for what she wants, but still not willing to accept more from him than what she is comfortable with. Still she is easily persuaded to stay, and as she is needed to help out at the set as Alice gets sick, that was understandable. She had fun, and was needed and appreciated. Nothing was waiting for her outside the gates of the vineyard.
Chase was very patient, he did not push, he let her set the pace. He is a light-hearted hero, although he is very alpha, he is not overbearing, and I liked him. His life is a success story, and I don’t think he has ever fallen in love or had his heart broken. All it took to fall in love was one look between them.
It is a really nice entertaining and sweet contemporary romance story, with hot love scenes. Indoors and outdoors. I do recommend it.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian