Thursday, April 30, 2015

Two of Hearts by Christina Lee

Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional —not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.

Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he’d lost forever.

Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she’s also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Christina Lee is one of my absolute favorite authors and I was pretty damn stoked to see she was going to write an adult contemporary--usually she's NA. And Two of Hearts, while I still found myself slipping into the New Adult mindset now and again, was a luscious second chance  romance with a sexy hero, a damn strong heroine, a little suspense and some verra hot lovin' as a heartbreaking loss brings Shane back into Dakota's life years after their paths went separate ways.

The quick of it is that Dakota's life is spinning out of control. Her father was killed and she's now in charge of the casino her family runs. To make life even more hellish her mixed heritage and the fact that her mother wasn't Native American have stirred up trouble in their Indian community. They're being pressured to sell to another casino owner, there's unrest with employees, threats, people she's known her whole life are questioning her commitment to the Indian community and her ex-boyfriend has shown up for the funeral and is doing his best to get back into her life and help. It's just a lot for a girl to take on. Whew boy!

Dakota and Shane were wonderful. Shane, utterly lickable and Dakota, both strong and determined. Even if a bit stubborn. I loved the two together. They were sweet and sexy and it was touching seeing them trying to deal with their past breakup and the fact they'd never stopped loving each other.

Shane had that sexy alpha bossiness I absolutely love--he's a US Marshall and totally used to taking control. And Dakota is a take charge woman used to being in control as well which led to some choice exchanges. Things were crazy hot and sexy as hell between them too. Shane could make a girl squirm with just a look. *fans self* I loved their shared history and connection and seeing it all come back to them.
Before I could properly place my feet on the ground, a strong arm hooked around my waist, and Shane hauled me back to him. "Angel, where do you think you're going?"

"I couldn't sleep," I said. "I didn't want to wake you."

"What did I tell you about that?" His gravelly voice slid across my shoulders like a warm caress.

"I-I don't know," I whispered. I did know, but saying it out loud was slightly mortifying.

"A good listen or a good fuck, whatever you need," he said, "I'm here for you. With you. Now get back in bed."
The suspense and unrest caused by Dakota's mixed heritage and the casino being left to her white mother was both heartbreaking and seriously made me want to rage. It was hard watching the turmoil in the community, the distrust and betrayals that popped in when Dakota and her family were most vulnerable. The way people's emotions and loyalties were used against them by certain people who were trying to profit from Dakota's family's loss. It really got my blood boiling and made me want to shake some nicely done!

One of the smaller aspect I just love about Lee's books is that she includes some amazing parent/child relationships. They aren't all perfect, of course, but there are strong, healthy ones included and the relationships are so damn touching and powerful they just get you...right...there. It adds such a nice layer to the story I think and is nice to see that portrayed.

I did have one problem and that was peekaboo condoms. Yall know they're a hot button for me. Sometimes they were used, sometimes no mention, condoms needing to be taken off when they'd never been put on to begin with then at a very late time mention of the Pill and first time without condoms. I know it doesn't bother others and it's a small complaint but it was something that stuck out to me though it could have been in part since I had an ARC. 

All in all, Lee, once again, had me going all girly and wanting to fan-girl just a wee little bit. Two of Hearts had the romance, the suspense, the characters that make me swoon. Definitely excited to see what Lee will come up with next.

Have you read Lee? What did you think?
Have you read a book set in the Native American community?
Any favorite second chance at love stories you just adored?

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