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4.5 So. Freaking. Functional (but still totally badass) stars
My Dream Man series reread continues with book 2, and an absolutely fantastic romance that has become the one that I compare all others to.
Tess has been in a relationship with Jake for four months. She’s happy and she’s in love, but her world is turned upside down when she learns that he’s an undercover DEA agent who has been sent to look into her as part of an investigation into her ex-husband who, it turns out, is a drug lord. Of course, she is devastated, but she picks herself up and carries on with her life. She has a great house, runs her own highly successful bakery, and is getting by, and then three months later ‘Jake’ walks back into her life, introduces himself as Brock Lucas, and tells her that he wants her back – in fact, he never considered their relationship over in the first place.
“You stayed away and I see now you took that time to build your wall but I don’t give a fuck … I’m done livin’ with it and lyin’ awake wonderin’ where your head is at. I’m done, Tess. So tonight, at nine, I’m back, we’re talkin’ shit through”
Brock appeared in the first book of the series – Mystery Man, and I love his somewhat questionable introduction. As his title suggests, he’s a bit of a wild man, deeply committed to his career, which he has put it first for all of his life. But he is now realising that he needs to take a step back and focus on his family, and that includes Tess.
“Straight up, baby, I wanna explore this with you. I liked what we had, I fuckin’ missed it when it was gone. I want that back and I wanna know how it feels to have it not havin’ my job comin’ between us.”
And just like that, it’s done. Sure, they have stuff they need to talk about but they do it, they deal with it, and they move on – together. And OMG it’s so refreshing to read an angst-free relationship. I freaking LOVE Brock and Tess, they are the couple that I measure all other couples against when it comes to being functional – “No bullshit. No games. No masks. No lies”. They’re older – she’s 43, he’s 45 – and I like that. There’s no game playing or indecision. They’re at a place in their lives where they know what they want, they’re prepared to work for it, and they make it work, and it’s beautiful! Open, honest, and extremely passionate, they create something very special together and I loved every minute of it.
“Babe, you think I found the women of my dreams at 45 years old and I’m gonna let anything happen to her, think again. That’s a long fuckin’ time to wait for what you want. I waited. I found it. I’m pullin’ out all the stops to take care of it.”
That’s not to say there’s not drama, because OMG, there’s drama! Obviously, Tess’ ex-husband is trouble, and he’s not prepared to let her go easily. But Brock’s ex wife is also a total nightmare. Between their two exes, there is a lot that they have to deal with, but they do it together, standing strong, and never letting anything come between them.
“There’s a wild that’s fucked and there’s a wild that’s just, plain wild. You just hooked yourself to a different kind of wild, Tess, and I swear, baby, swear,” his arms squeezed before he finished, “I’ll show you that’s a good, safe place to be.”
Brock also has an intense family situation, and there is a bit of time spent with his parents, brother and sisters, and he also two young sons who are really sweet, and who play a beautiful part in the story. I loved the scenes that featured his boys. And, as always, there are lots of the glorious little scenes that make up life together.
“Well, now that we’re on the subject, it’s somewhat unhygienic for you to drink out of the milk jug.”
“Babe, I had my tongue in your mouth for ten minutes this morning. How’s that any different?”
As you would expect for a wild man and his woman in the world that they are in, there is still some danger, suspense and a bit of action, which I really enjoyed. There’s some more Hot Bunch action with the Rock Chick boys (Vance!), and Hawk and Mitch even make an appearance. But mostly, this book is very much focussed on Tess and Brock’s beautiful romance, and as always (even though Brocks’ a total badass), I got completely swept away with all of the swoon.
“Come here, baby, I wanna tell you I love you when you’re in my arms.”
There’s a fantastic epilogue that finishes the story beautifully and ties up the loose ends, and left me (again), with a big, goofy smile on my face.
I loved it even more on the reread! 4.5 stars.
The Dream Man series
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