I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Closer You Come (The Original Heartbreakers, #1) by Gena Showalter
Also by this author: The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers, #2), The Harder You Fall (The Original Heartbreakers, #3)
Also in this series: The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers, #2), The Harder You Fall (The Original Heartbreakers, #3)
Published by HQN Books on March 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Romance
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter introduces the Original Heartbreakers, where three not-quite-reformed bad boys are about to meet the women who will bring them to their knees.
Just released from prison, Jase Hollister has a dark and twisted past. And now, he has only one goal: stay out of trouble. Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, sounds like the perfect place for him and his two brothers-by-circumstance to settle down and live a nice, simple life. But model citizen isn’t exactly this rugged bachelor’s default setting—especially when it comes to a certain hot-blooded Southern beauty…
Brook Lynn Dillon has always been responsible. Not that it’s done her much good. The down-on-her-luck waitress is broke, single and fun-deprived. Until Jase comes along. He is dangerous, stunningly protective, breathtakingly sexy and as tempting as sin, and the passion sizzling between them is undeniable. But can it melt her resistance? After all, the right kind of trouble might be just what they both need.
‘Cause when you’re around my defenses go down
Feelings get stronger, looks get longer
The closer you come, the weaker I get
If it ain’t happened now, just ain’t happened yet
The Closer You Come was my first experience with author Gena Showalter. I had heard from buzz about her before especially in regards to her Alice in Zombieland series so she was an author that had been on my TBR radar for a while. Luckily for me in 2015, I attended the Harlequin High Tea at BEA, and The Closer You Come was one of the books that I received in my gift bag. Admittedly, it did sit on my shelf for a while … okay over a year … but after reading it I can finally say I think I understand what some of the buzz regarding Gena Showalter is all about.
The Closer You Come is the first book in the Original Heartbreakers trilogy. The trilogy follows three men who have been through some tough and traumatic experiences and the women who steal their hearts. There is actually a novella prequel (The One That I Want) that introduces the characters and sets the stage for the events that take place in Strawberry Valley but I can tell you from experience that you really don’t have to read it to feel ready for the rest of the trilogy. Gena Showalter does a fantastic job of allowing the reader to get to know the characters from the moment they begin their story.
Jason Hollister and Brook Lynn Dillon are the focus of The Closer You Come. On the surface, they are polar opposites. Jason was recently released from a ten year prison sentence and represents everything Brook Lynn has always tried to avoid. He is edgy and dangerous (or at least that is how he appears on the surface) while she is responsible and holds her heart close to her chest. She has always had to be the responsible one especially when living with a hearing problem (she has to wear a special hearing device) and dealing with her older sister who is a bit of a wild child. For years, it has only been the two of them, and Brook Lynn will do anything to protect her sister, even busting down the door of the stranger she just slept with.
Yes, Jason slept with Brook Lynn’s sister Jessie Kay, and while it does create an awkward situation at first, it also works for the set-up of the rest of the book. There is this spark between Jason and Brook Lynn which refuses to go away even as hard as they try to fight it. And believe me, they try to fight it … lots of sexual tension and chemistry between these two characters. And they didn’t just jump into bed to get what they were feeling out of their system. There was a friendship and trust that was built between them before anything went further. I really liked this set-up because it allowed me to get to know Jason (stoic friend) and Brook Lynn (zombie fighter) as individuals not just as a pair. Both characters were damaged because of things that had happened in their lives, and I couldn’t help but want them to heal together.
The Closer You Come also introduces us to Beck O’Ckley and Lincoln West who are Jason’s best friends and blood brothers. The three men met in a foster home and became inseparable. Together, they have been through more demons than many men would have survived. They depend on each other and have supported each other through anything. Both Beck and West are supportive of Jason and Brook Lynn getting together because they see how happy Jase is around her. But they also warn her not to hurt him which is fair play as Jessie Kay warns Jason of the same thing in regards to Brook Lynn. There are also hints of the possibility of romance in the future for both Beck and West. Oh, and did I mention that Jessie Kay and West can’t stand each other? Ah, can’t wait to see what happens with that!
The Closer You Come is not a fluffy light contemporary romance but instead a complex story of two damaged individuals trying to find solace together. The road isn’t the simplest to get Jason and Brook Lynn together. Both have difficulty letting go of their past so they make mistakes that could have ultimately driven them apart. But, these mistakes do not drive but apart but instead their journey together makes both of them stronger, and the uneasy path on which they have each traveled makes it all worth it in the end.