Published May 6, 2014
Publisher: Berkley Romance/NAL
Format: paperback, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5 STARS
(From Goodreads) First Sergeant Rafe Murano did everything to the extreme. He trained harder, he fought harder, and, unfortunately, he loved harder. And falling for the wrong woman nearly destroyed him.
Home from a deployment, and without his missions to consume him, Murano is ravaged by memories of his heartbreak. So he drinks until he’s numb and drowns himself in meaningless one-night stands. But they only take the edge off…
Until he meets Fallon.
Haunted by her past, Fallon Kelly knows all too well about the desperate desire for an escape. So when she sees the tatted-up bad boy who’s one punch away from a ride in the back of a squad car, she offers a distraction—one that quickly becomes an addiction.
Little does she know, this bad boy can love so hard, it can break her…
I know this is the third in a series - a series in which I've not read any other books in. Normally, that would automatically make me say no, at least until I've had a chance to catch up in the series. But, I've heard good things about Kelsie Leverich's Hard Feelings series, and I really do love a good war hero story. They are one of my favorite kinds of bad boys. So, I bent my rules for A Beautiful Distraction. And, I'm so glad I did.
Fallon is a confident businesswoman - the owner of Velour, a burlesque club, she has learned that relying on herself and herself alone is the safest and surest way to go. Rafe has spent years burying the pain caused by his disastrous relationship in the war overseas. But, now that he's back, he's got too much time on his hands to think. Alcohol has been his best distraction until he sees Fallon dance in her club. Events put these two in each others' path, and they find better ways to distract one another.
Rafe is a bit of a contradiction. The dichotomy of a hardened war hero and a man who loves too much was too much for me to resist. Usually these grizzled war guys are so closed off from themselves and the rest of the world that they're brought into a relationship kicking and screaming. In Rafe's case, he was the easiest to convince that he and Fallon were better together than apart. It was Fallon that was the most resistant.
He was a confusing, compelling contradiction. He absorbed her hidden emotions yet at the same time made her feel. He was dangerous, yet his nearness alone gave her a sense of security she'd never experienced. He was a stranger. A beautiful distraction.
While Rafe has a supportive family, Fallon has no one. She has learned to rely on herself after her wealthy family kicked her to the curb when she didn't meet their expectations for the perfect daughter. So, when Rafe comes barreling into her life - an unknown, but exciting variable - she has a hard time dealing with the uncertainty and unpredictability it brings to her orderly life.
I loved that Rafe took Fallon's life and turned it upside down. I loved that she thought she had even a chance of stopping him.
And, I loved when Fallon had to come to terms with her feelings for him after his past comes back to try and reconnect.. Actually, the moment when Rafe makes his decision between his past and his future with Fallon, that was one of my favorite parts of the book.
Rafe positions himself in Fallon's life fairly quickly, and what's even more surprising is that she lets him. At first it may have been just the sexy hot times they seemed to share whenever they touched. But, eventually, as Rafe brings Fallon into his life - introduces her to his dad and his brothers, tells her about his past and the war - she sees there's so much depth to this guy that she can't help but fall in love with him.
A Beautiful Distraction is told in dual POV (love it!). The writing is really great and the pacing and plotting was perfect. I made it through this book in just over 24 hours - it was so hard to put down!
Now that I've broken myself in with the Hard Feelings books, I plan to go back and read books 1 and 2 in the series to catch up. I'm definitely sold on Kelsie Leverich and her Hard Feelings boys.