Review: Wrong then Right by Jodi Watters

wrong then rightTitle: Wrong then Right

Author: Jodi Watters

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: Waitress/Landscape architect Hope Coleson

The hero: Ex-Navy SEAL/Scorpio Securities employee Beckett Smith

The blurb: Hope Coleson is having a doozy of a day. Fired from her waitressing job? Check. Evicted from an apartment with dumpster-front views? Double check. Bedded by a hot stranger with smooth moves and rusty social skills? Triple X check.

And it doesn’t end there. Her life savings has been stolen and she may or may not have a stalker.

Retired Navy SEAL Beckett Smith doesn’t usually make mistakes. Yes, he drinks a six-pack on one too many occasions. Sure, he prefers to communicate at a level only slightly higher than your average poodle. And yeah, he lost his legendary control and slept with his boss’s little sister, taking her virginity.

Only it doesn’t end there. Alcohol isn’t providing the peace he’s seeking and the woman he can’t forget is suddenly parked on his doorstep. Can Beck open his home to Hope, and still keep his jeans closed? If he has his way. Can Hope get Beck into her bed, and still keep him out of her heart? If she has her way.

Standalone or series: Book two in the Love Happens series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Hope Coleson is waitressing at the wedding of Sam Gleeson and Ali Ross (from book one) when she lays eyes on the most attractive man she’s ever seen. She tries not to focus on him, because her horrible boss is watching her like a hawk, but it seems her mystery man has noticed her, too, because he approaches, leaves a card for his hotel room, gives her the room number and tells her to swing by after her shift is done.

Hope is sorely tempted. At twenty five, she is keen to be rid of her virginity. When the temptation is too great, she goes to the hotel room and has amazing sex with the man, whose name she doesn’t know until they’re both naked. She finds out it’s Beckett, but has no idea he works for the company co-owned by her half brother, Asher Coleson.

Hope and Asher share the same father, but are not close. Turns out Hope’s mother was the maid on the Coleson estate, and was having an affair with Asher’s father. His mother knew about young Hope, but she wasn’t ever allowed in the house and her mother used to keep her locked in a tiny room above the garage, something Asher and his father didn’t know. Until one fateful day, when Hope was seven, Asher discovered her screaming after she tipped boiling water on herself.

By the end of the day, both their mothers were dead. Hope was moved into the house and raised by Rosa, the housekeeper, who looked after both the Coleson kids. When Asher refuses to be groomed to take over the Coleson Creek winery empire, Marshall Coleson turns to Hope. But she, too, is not interested, desperate to lead a life of her own.

When the money her father gave her to go to college disappears from her bank account before she starts her final year, Hope is broke and homeless. She spends some nights staying with her best friend, Valentino, but otherwise sleeps in her car. She’s too stubborn and determined to go running back to her father, and she’s not at all close to Asher, who’s a decade older than her. She’s also been getting threatening text messages, which she’s been ignoring.

Hope is drawn to a house in a good neighbourhood that has gorgeous jacaranda tree in the front yard. It’s her dream home. She parks her car there, and is taken aback when none other than Beckett knocks on her car window one morning. It turns out he lives in her dream home, and when he realises she’s homeless he offers to rent her a room.

When Beckett finds out that Hope is Asher’s younger sister, he finds himself in a difficult position. He’s attracted to her, but he can’t risk Asher finding out that he’s been having sex with Hope. Beckett is also fighting his own demons, and he doesn’t think he can commit to a relationship – but will Hope be able to change his mind?

There were so many things I adored about this book. Even though Hope was a virgin, I loved that she wasn’t afraid to tell Beckett what she liked sexually, and was able to take the lead on some occasions. I loved that Beckett was flawed. He carried very real scars that military heroes do. He wasn’t perfect. I loved seeing their story unfold, two people with baggage able to find each other and make it work. Another excellent instalment in a wonderful series.

 

 

Review: Next to Me by Jodi Watters

next to meTitle: Next to Me

Author: Jodi Watters

Year of publication: 2014

The heroine: Writer Ali Ross

The hero: Ex-military/Scorpio Securities owner Sam Gleeson

The blurb: A woman on the run.
A man afraid of no one.
A plan as old as time.

Hiding from her violent ex, Ali Ross knows the law can’t help her. She also knows someone like Sam can. Fearing for her life, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure her safety, and that includes seducing the sexy soldier next door.
It’s the perfect plan. Until…

A woman falling in love.
A man already there.
A past that won’t be ignored.

Standalone or series: Book one in the Love Happens series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Ali Ross has moved to California to get away from her abusive husband, lawyer Danny. She’s filed for divorce and is in hiding until it is finalised. Fearing for her life, she’s moved to a state she has no ties to and, thanks to an unexpected inheritance, can afford to buy a beautiful house on the beach.

She notices the name of a realtor on a bus stop seat, and when she finds out that Donna has a younger brother who’s ex military and runs a security company, she agrees to buy the house next door to him. Her plan is simple: seduce him so that he’ll keep her safe when the ex finally hunts her down. Ali is terrified he’ll find her after living with his physical, emotional and mental abuse for six years. He’s been able to sweep the abuse under the carpet because of his job, and because he has friends in high places who have aided him.

Ali contacts Sam’s company and tries to speak with him directly, but he fobs her off onto other employees. Grady comes to install a new security system for her and they become friends, but Sam doesn’t realise who she is. They meet on the beach when she’s sitting outside, crying. They talk for a bit, and the next morning Ali invites Sam to join her for coffee. He declines, but then asks if she wants to have a beer with him that night after work.

He turns up at her place, and the attraction they both felt bursts into flames and they end up in her bed, having hot, uninhibited sex. Ali’s plan is working perfectly, but it all starts to fall apart when she realises she’s falling in love with Sam. It’s different to her relationship with her ex, because she comes to realise she was never in love with him. Sam is everything she wants, but she knows he’s going to walk away from her when he finds out about her plan and the fact that she’s lied to him about pretty much everything. When he finds out she purposely bought the house next door to him in order to seduce him and have him keep her safe.

Her worst nightmare occurs on both fronts and Ali finds herself in a terrible position. Will Sam come to her rescue?

This book is a wonderful start to what is an amazing series.

Review: Have A Heart by Jodi Watters

have a heartTitle: Have A Heart

Author: Jodi Watters

Year of publication: Out today! I was kindly given a copy to read and review

The heroine: Interior designer Tessa Johns

The hero: Navy SEAL Jason Reynolds

The blurb: A runaway bride, searching for happily ever after. A Navy SEAL, who doesn’t believe in such things. A bar, in the middle of nowhere, and fate, who’s been awaiting this day.

Tessa
When I left my groom at the altar, I didn’t care where I went, or who I met along the way.
When I walked into a roadside bar in Nowhere, California, I wasn’t planning on staying.
When I sat down beside Jason Reynolds, I had no idea who he really was.
My world turned upside down.
Now all I want to do is save him.

Jason
I tried to ignore her. The beautiful train wreck who’d crashed my pity party.
I tried to fight temptation. Her sweet smile and smart mouth threatened my misery.
I tried to walk away. My blackened soul didn’t deserve her bright, hopeful light.
My team calls me Tin Man for good reason.
Love has no place in my life.

Standalone or series: This is book four in the Love Happens series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I’m not sure that I can write a review that will do this book justice, but I’m going to try. For me, the perfect book is one that you can get lost in. Where you meet characters who claim your heart, have you laughing, drive you crazy and make you cry. A book where, long after you close the last page, you’re still thinking about it. Still thinking about them, the hero and heroine who sucked you into their world.

This book is everything and more. Tessa and Jason stole my heart with their amusing first encounter, their unconventional romance, their witty and wicked dialogue, and the way their lives were so indelibly linked. There were so many things to like about this story. Our heroine, Tessa, has done a runner from her wedding to an incredibly boring man after she finds him having sex inside the church rectory half an hour before they are due to exchange vows. She decides to treat herself to a week in Palm Springs to get over it, only to have her car break down in the middle of Nowhere, a small town in the Californian desert.

She stumbles upon Jason in the town’s only bar, where she proceeds to spill her guts and get drunk. Jason is intrigued by this hot mess of a woman and is attracted to her, but he’s not going to take advantage of her in her current state. After hearing her tale of woe and making sure she gets to a room at the local motel safely (which happens to be owned by his aunt), he leaves her to sleep it off. Tessa finds herself strangely bereft when she wakes the next morning, but Jason hasn’t gone far.

They then proceed to spend the day together, exchanging some of the best dialogue I’ve ever read. Alternating between playful and fun to downright dirty, it’s clear there’s a spark between them. When they can no longer deny their desire for each other, they give in to temptation, and their coupling is so hot it’s a wonder the pages didn’t catch alight.

Jason has already set the wheels of retirement from the Navy in motion, so he’s due to finish up in three months. He already has a new mission: he wants to track down the woman who has been writing to him once a year since he was a child. He lost his father in a violent crime, and every year her letter shows up like clockwork. Her letters are what have given him strength to get through the years sometimes, and he wants to find her in person and see if they might have a future together.

But the latest letter from Matilda has been left unopened since he met Tessa. For the first time ever, a woman has piqued his interest and made the heart he no longer believed he had beat faster. He’s known as the Tin Man for a good reason, but this redheaded whirlwind of a woman might change all that, if he lets her in.

Jason has made it clear there is no future for them, but Tessa finds herself in love with him anyway. The night before she leaves Nowhere, they have unprotected sex and she tells him she’ll let him know if she’s pregnant. She’s not bothered by the notion of creating a little human with this man, and the scenes in which she does the pregnancy tests are cleverly ambiguous, so you don’t actually know if she is pregnant or not for a couple of chapters.

When Jason’s out the military for good, he already has a job lined up with a security firm, but he can’t stop thinking about Tessa. So he seeks her out and they see if maybe that spark is still there. When they decide to try and make something of their relationship, it’s threatened when Jason discovers a secret about Tessa. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are a few twists that were so brilliantly done it left me speechless.

But the love they have for each other turns out to be deeper than any secrets which could tear them apart, and the epilogue was so touching that I cried. I don’t cry much reading books, but this was so heartfelt and beautiful that I couldn’t help it. I also adored Jason’s nickname for Tessa: bud. He started calling her bud (short for buddy) just after they met, in an attempt to keep her at arm’s length and remind them both they’re just friends, but it became oddly endearing to have him call her that, even when they were a couple. This book will stay with me for a very long time, and if you give it a read, it will stay with you, too.