My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ren is a maternity nurse with a rape in her past, Cayden is a police officer/marine whose mother is dying of cancer.
There’s a lot of angst in the this book.
Two broken people coming together and healing each other is one of my favorite romance tropes, and this story, told in alternating POV that reveals just how romantic and emotional Cayden is, was deliciously easy to drop into. The story blatantly deals with only the juicy bits; first dates on a geocaching trip, getting through Ren’s fear of bugs in a nightime skinny-dip, Cayden visiting a friend in the hospital and coincidentally seeing Ren for some break-room nookie.
Two niggling things kept this from 5 star status for me (although I did devour the book in like two sittings. Excellent beach read!); Ren’s super-easy “healing” from her rape trauma PTSD and Cayden’s somewhat over-melodramatic framing of normal, inescapable events as his own failures. I understand his overwhelming need not to let his father or anyone else down, but when he says he failed because of not being able to protect his mom from cancer…that was a tad too much at times.
Dealing with rape is not an easy issue, and it has so many sticky layers of places to go wrong in the romantic context, although alot of potential for some excellent, heart-depth breaking open and healing as well. Ren had to struggle a bit at the start of the relationship, but I felt like she never had to deal with it afterwards (she has another secret she struggled with instead) in terms of physical relationship with Cayden. So…your mileage may vary. That’s a very personalized issue and probably something that won’t bother a lot of other people.
And like I said, I did devour this in two sittings and enjoyed the side characters as well. (who, I see many have their own book so yay). The steam level is hot, but not outside the bounds of conventional positions.