January 13, 2015
To Be Published February 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Pre-order: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets,. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.
Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.
Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…
Samantha Young has this uncanny knack for creating these super hero guys that are larger than life. Caine Carraway is infuriating, antagonistic and damaged. But, when it matters, he becomes this blazing white knight willing to take on the world to save the woman he loves. How can you not love a guy like that?
I know Samantha Young from her On Dublin Street series, which I love so much. It all started with Braden Carmichael, the original white knight. He's kind of set the standard, you know. They're big shoes to fill. Luckily, Caine is packing some pretty big feet. About halfway through HERO, I was saying to myself, "Braden who?"
Caine Carraway's life was destroyed when the man who his mother had been having an affair abandoned her in a hotel room to die of an overdose when he was only a young teenager. Twenty years later, he comes face-to-face with that man's daughter, and he's at war with himself. He's taken by her, but he hates everything she represents too. When her circumstances cause her to grovel for a job, Caine thinks this will be the perfect opportunity to torture her. He didn't expect for her to grow on him so quickly. And then when Alexa is in danger, Caine realizes how much he needs her.
I can appreciate Caine's hatred of Alexa in the beginning. He has all this displaced anger over the awful things that happened to him when he was a child. He's learned to rely only on himself as he was pushed through the system and then remade himself to be a success. Alexa is a threat to his carefully erected facade. She represents all the bad things to Caine. She's a wild card.
The one thing Caine didn't count on was how resilient and persistent Alexa could be. She too has faced all the bad things and lived to tell about them. She, however, is not rich and successful. Her only remaining family can't let on that they know her because of the stigma her last name carries with it. She is alone. She has nothing to lose.
I loved that Alexa sought out Caine in an attempt to rectify the sins of her father. It's not really her responsibility to make things right, but she tries anyway. To me, that shows that Alexa has a good heart. She feels so badly that the actions of her father caused Caine so much pain, and she wants to try and make it better in any way she can. She becomes his personal assistant both out of necessity - hey, it's a nice paycheck and she needs the money - and out of a perceived obligation. She knew it would be rough, but she was willing to stick it out.
Rough isn't even in the ballpark. Caine was relentless. He was awful to Alexa at first, and it made me loathe him for a time. But, it seemed like once he got all that initial ire out of the way, he became someone softer. And, then when he gave into their attraction, things really got interesting. Caine eventually comes to realize that the sins of the father should not be visited upon the son, or in this case, the daughter. Alexa's life was destroyed as well. Caine has his millions to keep him warm and the adoration of an entire city. Alexa barely has her apartment and is a pariah. Yet, she stays in an attempt to grow some roots and make a life. Once Caine sees all this, his respect for Alexa grows.
Caine is your typical alpha male type. He's gorgeous and brooding and ridiculously over protective. He bosses Alexa around, not only on the clock, but off it as well. When Alexa's safety is compromised by an unknown person, Caine is in his element, assigning security and sending transportation and telling her when she can and can't leave. And Alexa is just so thankful that someone finally gives a damn.
Caine and Alexa are amazing together. Their passion and love is almost a tangible thing. Once Caine got over himself, they were such a fantastic couple, complementing each other perfectly. Where Caine is hard and demanding, Alexa is soft and forgiving. But, they're both very strong and very strong willed. I loved that about both of them.
I'm almost sad this is a stand-alone. I would have loved to read more about this couple. For now, though, it's good enough that I had one book with Caine Calloway. But, if Samantha Young ever wants to write a follow-up novella, well, I wouldn't be upset.