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Rachel Gibson

REVIEW:  Run to You by Rachel Gibson

REVIEW: Run to You by Rachel Gibson

 

“There’s nothing like fleeing Miami to ruin a girl’s day.

Stella Leon’s bartending gig was going fine until gorgeous retired Marine Beau Junger decked her mob-connected boss, spirited her out of the city, and claimed that Stella’s half-sister—the one with the perfect life—sent him. Now Stella has no choice but to go along for the ride . . . and seduce Beau’s military-issue socks off . . .

The Marine Corps was Beau’s escape from his old man’s legacy of naval heroism and serial philandering, but no amount of training could prepare him for the day he looked in the mirror and saw his father staring back. The answer: swear off meaningless sex. Oh, and find a way to make Stella Leon quit being so damn hot . . .”

Dear Ms. Gibson,

We’re back for the (I think) 2nd book in this series and it’s about Sadie’s illegitimate sister Stella. Stella has always felt unwanted by her rich father who basically paid a huge trust fund to Stella’s mother to manage until Stella’s 25th birthday or marriage to keep them all away from the Hollowell family in Texas. Stella has never felt as good as beautiful blonde, debutante Sadie and has stumbled through life with a few jouvie incidents with the law and by working as a singer and bartender. She’s apprehensive about meeting her sister and stunned to learn that up til now, Sadie hasn’t known about her.

RuntoYou_RachelGibson_300Beau is a former marine sniper who now runs, surprise surprise, a security company who has been tasked by his twin brother, who is friends with Sadie’s fiancé, to find Stella and deliver the news her sister wants to meet her. Only events don’t play out like Beau planned and he inadvertently gets Stella in trouble with her boss who has mob connections. Now Beau has to drive Stella from Florida to Texas and both of them aren’t sure they’re going to survive being in that close contact with the other without one of them committing murder. Can love bloom along the interstate?

I can take one or two characters being unlikeable or difficult but so many of them makes a book hard to read for me. Stella is a woman with some quirks and annoying habits while Beau is downright crude. And no I’m not going to give him a by based on 18 years in the military and a dickwad of a father. Being in the military doesn’t have to mean you’re a uncouth bore. Even Stella’s family sounds like a pack of bloodsucking leeches living off her trust fund. And then there’s her boss Ricky and his mob buddies. I was halfway into the book and not really liking anyone – including Beau’s mother who gives off a slightly creepy vibe and spills family secrets the minute she meets Stella, hinting that she wants her son to marry and start giving her grandchildren.

On the plus side, the plot is coherent and well thought out. It’s a road trip from Annoyance Land as these two tick each other off yet feel a strong sexual attraction. Neither of them will dive into that for two reasons – he’s tired of his “hook up for a night” lifestyle which suddenly reminds him too much of his philandering father and has decided to remain celibate until he finds his One and Only while Sadie is still a (technical) virgin depending on how one feels about oral sex and also waiting for Mr. Right before giving it up. Then suddenly after their night of hot and heavy in New Orleans – whether or not it’s sex depends on your idea of if Bill Clinton was right or not – feelings seem to be developing. Really?

Beau’s thinking Stella isn’t as annoying now that he’s gotten his hands on her fine ass while Stella is annoyed that she lost control and yelled she loved him as she hurtled towards her orgasm while he maintained his icy control. Added stress arrives now that they’ve arrived in Texas and the sisters meet but it just as quickly dissipates as Stella’s “feeling of inadequacy” plot line fizzes out.

Well, okay then what’s left to settle? Why it’s whether or not Beau will admit to any feelings beyond caring for Stella. She’s pissed, he’s confused and now off to help his twin brother in what will probably be the set up for a future book. Then, suddenly, Beau realizes his feelings are lurve. How did this happen?, he asks himself. And I’m wondering the same thing. There’s a grandiose public statement of love, delivered Marine style with sound/light effects but I’m sorry, I just didn’t see the love striking any more than Beau did. It is a fast read but not a very convincing one. C-

~Jayne

 

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REVIEW:  Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson

REVIEW: Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson

She’s 33, unmarried, and stuffed into a Bubble Yum pink bridesmaid dress. And the whole town wants to fix her up with anyone with a dental plan…

Who’s going to rescue Sadie Hollowell now?

Everyone in Lovett, Texas knows Sadie has always been a ‘notional’ kind of gal. She got a notion to leave town asap , and never visit her daddy (bless his heart). Now, she’s back and got the notion to invite a good-looking, hard-muscled, total stranger to her cousin’s wedding. Better a stranger than some of the losers she’s dated.

Vince Haven got his muscles the hard way—as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. He’s staying in Lovett to visit his crazy aunt—the proprietor of the local Gas N Go. Before he can get the heck back out of the small town, his aunt makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Maybe he’ll stick around Lovett for a while. Maybe he’ll make a ‘go’ of the Gas N Go. Maybe he’ll rescue Sadie out of that pink dress!

Dear Ms. Gibson,

“Rescue Me” is a slow Southern style romance. Great intro of the two with Sadie bluffing a stun gun and telling a friend all of Vince’s personal info. She impresses him and me with her smarts. Vince and Sadie don’t spent their time lusting, lusting, lusting – instead they head straight for the action and manage to keep their relationship as FWB which slowly slips into more. Nice, easy. The way the book is set up might annoy some readers in that there are portions of every chapter where Vince and Sadie don’t endlessly lust after each other or even constantly think of each other but instead – amazingly! – they get on with their (at this point) separate lives. Sadie deals with her father’s injury and recovery and Vince begins work on the renovation of the Gas and Go. Imagine, two protagonists who aren’t mindless puddles of drool as they only fantasize about body parts and boinking. I found it refreshing.

Rescue Me Rachel GibsonBut the book also manages to be hot – sinfully hot. Sadie and Vince are both adults who’ve had physical relationships and don’t go all coy. They know what they want and when they get a chance, they get right down to it. It’s direct, it’s done well and it got my motors revved. I also appreciated that there were no regretful mornings after. At one point Sadie mentions they’re about to make bad decisions do things they might regret in the morning but thank God they never do. Regret them, I mean.

That being said, the “ILY” realization and declarations were a long damn time in coming. I don’t like books which drag on too much after everything is settled but this one literally took until the final pages before both of them were romantically on the same page. Still, I felt that both Sadie and Vince reacted realistically based on how you’d written their characters. Neither one shows emotion very easily and it takes a lot, in Sadie’s case a life changing event and for Vince a visit to his sister and assholic BIL who spouts some – bizarrely emo – words of wisdom which make me wonder if he’s going all soft and girly, to break their emotions loose and let them out.

Angst is certainly there but both are the type to keep things inside rather than cry in front of others or let it all hang out. They have to be rescued from that, from the closed in lives they were living, from the expectations of others who don’t really know them. They also need rescuing from their own feelings of self doubt and regret. Sadie always wanted to please her mother in pageant competitions and then her father in ranch stuff but never quite managed either. It’s not that her mother was mad at her but rather that since she died when Sadie was so young, Sadie never had the chance to excel at something for her mother. And only too late, Sadie gets an inkling of how little chance her father had to be a loving father to her based on his own messed up raising. She feels she was never what either parent wanted – a pageant winner or a boy to inherit the ranch. Never quite what either parent was looking for in her. And then there’s the expectations of the people of Lovett about her and the ranch. And the gossip.

I love how Sadie faces down everyone who wants to question and quiz her about her life – in the town, at the wedding with her deaf aunts shouting all her business to the reception, Sadie sucks it up, deflects when she can and acts like she was raised right.

The SEAL stuff isn’t so much in your face – My hero is a SEAL! since Vince is off the teams now. The weapons stuff sounds cool and probably correct but it doesn’t take over the story. Vince thinks about these things because they were a part of him for so long and are deeply ingrained but I never got annoyed that SEAL worship was taking over the book or that it made Vince just a cardboard cutout caricature of a man. All this stuff also serves to set up Vince’s “Rescue Me” issues which is the PTSD he refuses to acknowledge and which scares him more than any insurgents ever did. Big tough men don’t quake from dreams .Vince hates his BIL to be – and it’s totally believable how he never mentions Sam’s name to Sadie, never boasts of his famous BIL, just calls Sam a SOB. Vince’s personal issues relate to the death of his best friend and Vince’s feelings of guilt and anger and loss of his place on the team due to his damaged hearing.

All the Texas stuff might be over the top but I enjoyed it and laughed in appreciation. The hair – poofed please and never flat – the clothes, the language, the food, the descriptions of the lovely Texas evening skies – I like it all. Could be overkill, though, for those who prefer skyscrapers and smog.

Call me crazy but I like that Sadie doesn’t suddenly discover a love of the ranch. She still hates cows and wants to get rid of the Texas Cow Traditional style of decorating at the ranch house. What she finds is a love of the place and a love of the business … but still not cows. She also will always have unresolved issues with her father – there’s no Hollywood happy ending there but something that mirrors how life sometimes is. I was also slightly surprised that the issues of Vince’s father weren’t explored but instead you just use this to paint some more brushstrokes of his personality and past life without trying to force anything into a neat little box with a bow at the end.

You’ve ended the book on sort of a cliff hanger. What happened 28 years ago and how is Sadie going to find out and what will happen when she does? I think I can guess who will be the next hero but I will look forward to it, him and another trip to Lovett, Texas. B

~Jayne

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