[551]: The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter

21844938 The Closer You Come [The Original Heartbreakers, #1]
HQN Books | January 1st, 2015
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


From Goodreads:

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.


My first foray into Showalter’s writing was fun. I’ve always wanted to read her supe series, but I don’t have the time to invest in them nowadays. I saw these books in my recent blog hopping and decided to check them out. Thankfully, they’re easy and fast reads, so I’m  caught up to the series.

So this story was surprisingly not all fun and games. Jase is an ex-con looking to spend the rest of his life in peaceful existence. It’s how he convinced his best friends to move to Strawberry Valley. There, he meets Brook Lynn (hate this name, by the way); the girl he threw in the pool on the night she barged in his bedroom. Oh and this, while he was having a carnal meet and greet with BL’s older sister. Needless to say, their meeting didn’t get off to a good start.

BL and her sister were orphans at a young age. Since then, they look out for each other. BL more than Jessie, because between the two sisters, she’s the responsible one. BL is an admirable character; there’s not one evil bone in her body. She gives everybody the benefit of the doubt, even their uncle who taught them how to hustle and who only stuck around to take advantage of them. Which is why I was surprised when she couldn’t give the same to Jase when he finally told her about his past.

I have always been a fan of stories that feature a character with some sort of physical disability. BL wears a hearing aid because of a disorder she was born with. Growing up, she’s taken a whole slew of insults from kids their age due to the wirings visible on her ears. Because of that, she’d learn to hide them with her hair. She’s worked hard to keep her sister out of trouble, but Jessie courts trouble any chance she gets.

This novel had a bit more depth than your run of the mill Harlequin romance. I supposed it follows the same formula as most New Adult romances out there: girl and boy overcoming their own difficult pasts to find happiness and love. But in this case, replace girl and boy with woman and man. The most important component in a romance novel is the chemistry between characters. Showalter knows how to make them believable and convincing without breaking a sweat. Overall, I’m off to a great start with these books, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.