Release Date: July 26, 2018
He warned me. Said hawks were dangerous birds. Their majestic beauty could blind your eyes as they picked the flesh from your bones. But even hawks have enemies. And they eventually came for the Hawthorn family. Held us hostage. Demanded retribution.
But I wasn’t a Hawthorn. No, I was just the help. Caught in the turmoil of a tragic family. I worked hard for Delsey Hawthorn. Tried to earn the respect of the reigning tyrant. Assistant. Event planner. Gardner. Chauffeur. I added it all to my resume.
And then I met Javier Hawthorn. Delsey ordered me to stay away from her grandson. But like a moth to a burning flame, I gravitated toward him. He was so different than my world. Irresistible. Charming. He brought a calmness to the chaos.
But that was before the intruders came into the house. Tied us up. Hurt us. We struggled to get away. We fought to survive. But who were the men behind the masks? Did we know them? Because someone who got this close to the family at night must be even closer during the day.
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Where to begin? First, I have never read an S.D. Hendrickson book before so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Second, I seem to be a little disenchanted with romance books of late. Combine those two things and honestly, my expectations weren’t all that high. Luckily for me, this turned out to be a fantastic read. It was well written. The pace was OK (more about that in a bit). We jump back a forth in time from past to present. Something I usually don’t like very much, but it worked quite well in this instance. The plot was engaging and kept me hooked throughout. The author even threw in a twist near the end that took me totally by surprise. Last, it was all wrapped up in a completely satisfying way. All that said, there were a couple things that kept this from being a complete hit with me. The first being, I thought it was a tad too long. This book clocks in at nearly six hours long and there were parts that I felt dragged along a bit. Not enough that I lost interest, but enough that I felt the author could have tightened the story up a bit thus improving the overall pace. My second issue was the heroine herself. I just never fully warmed up to her (more about that in the heroine section).
JAVIER…I loved Javier. He was simply a perfect book boyfriend. I would have loved to have seen some chapters in his POV. I think it would have helped round out his character a bit and given him a little more depth. But like I said, he was pretty much perfect. He was sweet. He was kind. He stayed true to himself despite having Cruella Deville as a grandmother.
SARINA…Sarina, what to say about her? Honestly, I never completely warmed up to her. There were glimpses here and there where I found her likable, and sweet. Kind even. But most of the time I just found her to be selfish, self-centered, and materialistic. She went on and on about how she wanted to better her life and help her family, but I felt many of her choices were self-serving. I also didn’t like her attitude and interactions with Cole. I never understood the level of animosity she showed towards him when it seemed like she was the queen of mixed messages when it came to their relationship.
There were quite a few excellent secondary characters in this one. I loved all the other employees at the Hawk Mansion. I enjoyed Sarina’s brother Ty. I really liked Cole (and hated how Sarina treated him). I am hoping he is going to get a book of his own because he deserves a HEA. And of course, we have Cruella Deville AKA Delsey Hawthorn. She totally reminded me of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada (lol).
LOW. There was a bit of spice in this one, but it wasn’t much. To be honest, I think the romance took a bit of a backseat to all the other stuff going on. That said, it worked well in the context of the story.
LOW. I didn’t find this one particularly angsty. At least relationship wise. These two pretty much hit it off from the start and even though they need to keep things on the down low, it is pretty much smooth sailing until right near the end. The hero wasn’t a manwhore. The heroine wasn’t a virgin. There was no OW drama. There was OM drama in the form of Cole, who was Sarina’s f@ckbuddy for two years. He loves her and wants her back. She pretty much treats him like sh!t. (HIGHLIGHT TEXT FOR SPOILER) He kisses her once after she is with Javier, and she does VERY briefly kiss him back, but then pushes him away. She tells Javier right away.
I enjoyed it a lot. Was it perfect? No. Was it pretty close to being perfect? Yes. Will I be reading more from this author? Hell yes! Would I recommend this book to my fellow readers? Undoubtedly. Therefore yours truly is going to give this one two solid thumbs up.