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This is a quick read and a dramatic and angsty ‘childhood crush/best-friend’s-brother’ love story. It’s the first in Christine Zolendz’s Behind Blue Lines series which features characters in the police force, bringing a dramatic edge that works really well with the romance. I enjoyed this one.
Olivia Rhys is a teacher who lives in Vermont, but she is returning home to Queens deal with her alcoholic, hot mess of a mother. She walks into a disaster zone, pretty much right at the same time that her mother’s neighbour and her childhood crush, Dean, literally crashes through the door to save the day.
Dean is the oldest brother of Olivia’s childhood best friend, Brooke, and the man she has had feelings for for as long as she can remember. They grew up next door to each other, but Dean is five years older than her and never showed her any interest. And he doesn’t seem to now – even though from that first glance Olivia’s attraction for him flares back to life.
Dean Fury is a detective. His father was on the force, as is his sister. It’s all he’s ever known and he has dedicated his life to his job. But his single-minded commitment has come at the cost of his personal life, for he knows the cost that is placed on the loved ones of police officers and he refuses to put somebody in that position.
An unexpected tragedy has recently rocked his world, and while he struggles to deal with his grief, anger and bewilderment, Olivia is next door trying to do the same. In the midst of all of that emotion, the two of them are there for each other and the chemistry begins to sizzle.
I want to kiss you. I want to touch you, everywhere. I want to pretend for one moment in my life I lead a normal existence. I could love you without ever breaking your heart. Because I never want you to feel the burden of what I do and the man I am.
But with Olivia only in town for a short while, and with Dean trying to come to terms with his loss and still determined to stop anybody from getting too close to him, these two have a lot of hurdles to overcome before they can get on the same page.
“We’re like broken glass, aren’t we? Both of us tiptoeing around our sharp edges trying not to cut each other.”
I enjoyed this book. The romance is a slow burn with some angst and UST as they torture and torment each other, taking two steps forward and then one step back as they both work through their issues. There are some twists and turns to the story, with smaller plotlines woven throughout bringing some surprises and providing some added depth to the book (and I loved the cameo from Shane Maxton and the boys). But overall, this book felt a bit rushed for me.
As a long-time fan of Christine Zolendz, I was actually surprised. It didn’t have the depth of emotion or intensity that I was expecting, or that wonderful sense of anticipation you have when you get completely immersed in a story. I usually feel that with her books, but it just wasn’t there in this one. I think it’s because it’s such a short read, so much was unexplored about the characters, their pasts and what was happening between them, and that build-up of chemistry didn’t happen. There were a few moments of intensity and romantic zing that I enjoyed, but they are brief and it takes a long time for resolution to come.
The book ends with Olivia and Dean is a good place, but the story is far from over. There are story threads left undone and questions that still need to be answered, and I’d love to see some real closure for them. But with Brooke’s book up next, and some not-so-subtle hints dropped for where her story is going to go, I know they will be a part of whatever is to come and I’m looking forward to reading more.
Behind Blue Lines
Missing Love (#4)
To be released