Dear Ms. Brent:
I read the first book in the Gentry Boys series, Draw, when it lingered at the top of the Kindle charts a couple of months ago. I’d found it on Scribd and felt it was a no risk proposition (and by found it, I mean, it was part of the subscription service). There was something very alluring about your voice, the slow southern lyricism of your characters’ internal monologue, the occasionally witty dialogue, and the certain we’ll love before our doom theme that provides the overriding suspense.
Risk isn’t terrible different than Draw but that’s part of the appeal, I think. I know what I’m getting and it’s comfortable.
Tallulah Rae Lee is a waitress at Cluck This, a fried chicken establishment near Arizona State University. She rooms with a quiet, secretive girl and has only a few friends. Her past is a roadmap of wrong turns marked by increasingly bad male choices starting her falling for her mother’s boyfriend at the age of seventeen and ending with being a kept woman of a wealthy married man. At some point, she realizes she’s never going to find the love she needed between the legs of a male and she focuses on making enough money to pay her bills. She misses her three sisters who she walked away from when her mother threw her out, but she doesn’t know how to reconnect. In short, Truly is lonely but trying.
Creedence Gentry is one of three Gentry triplets who grew up under the abusive hand of their dad. The father would either beat them all or beat one or make Creed choose who he should beat, promising a terrible retribution to the other two brothers if he wouldn’t choose. The Gentry boys escape their oppressive small town and make their way to Phoenix. The one brother has started classes and the other brother Cord (the hero of Draw) is a burgeoning tattoo artist. Creed drinks and serves as security for ASU football games. Oh, and he’s committed himself to a shady promoter who sets up fights to the death between poor schmucks like Creed and ex cons.
In Draw, Chase is beat up and in exchange for information about the perpetrators behind the deed, Creed offers himself up as tribute in a dangerous game. All three brothers know that this is very close to a death sentence and Creed’s response is to ramp up his drinking and his screwing around. His eyes light upon Truly and she can’t resist.
There are a couple of problems in the book. First, Creed is portrayed as super rough around the edges and appears to view women as “holes” in the first POV. This is abandoned later, but the set up of Creed as this foul mouthed misogynist does little to serve the story. Second, he’s portrayed as having a heavy drinking problem but fortunately for him Truly makes his thirst go away. That’s not really how alcoholism works and it’s a little frustrating to see it portrayed like that.
Truly and Creed fall quickly for each other but the threat of Creed’s fight and his possibly short time on this earth is a dark cloud over their romance.
Despite the problems, I really liked Truly and because she wanted Creed, I wanted Creed for her. I didn’t think Creed was as interesting as Truly’s character. Yes he came from an abusive household; yes, he was in unfortunate circumstances, but a lot of those circumstances were his own making and I never felt like he owned those like Truly owned her mistakes.
But for readers that like the gruff alpha who is head over heels for his woman, this will be appealing but the book was made for me with the Truly character. If she’d been less interesting, less spirited then I wouldn’t have liked the romance or Creed as much.
Interestingly while the characters have sex quite a bit, the scenes themselves are very short (only a few of paragraphs) I wouldn’t qualify this as an erotic romance but a sexy contemporary. B-