February 12, 2015

ARC Review: Slow Burn (Driven #5)

Slow Burn (Driven #5), by K. Bromberg
To Be Published February 24, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Pre-order: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) One Night. That's all it was supposed to be.

Reeling from the sudden loss of her sister, Haddie Montgomery has sworn off relationships. All she wanted from Beckett Daniels was a sexy distraction to help her escape her pain for just a little while....There weren’t supposed to be any strings attached—so why can’t she shake the memory of that unforgettable night from her thoughts? Or the taste of his kiss from her lips?

No matter how hard Haddie tries to forget about him, Becks relentlessly tries to prove that she should start living for today. But she is determined to avoid romantic commitment, and she can always use her ex-boyfriend’s reappearance to help snuff out the slow burn within her that Becks has sparked....

Or will fate force her to realize that this kind of connection doesn’t come along very often and a chance at love is worth the risk?

You know how sometimes you pick up a cupcake, expecting it to be just a plain old cupcake. But, then you bite into it, and you discover it has chocolate chips baked in it. And, then another bite in, and you get to the frosting-filled center. And you realize that this seemingly ordinary cupcake is anything but ordinary.

That’s the best way I can describe SLOW BURN.

I can’t even tell you what I expected, other than to say that what I got was so much… more. I expected K. Bromberg’s awesome slow-build storytelling. I expected more Colton and Rylee. I expected playful banter and hot sex between Becks and Haddie. And, like I said – I got more, more, MORE. Of all of it.

Haddie has decided that she has no room in her life for both fate AND a man. After seeing the devastation left in the wake of her sister’s death, she decides to make fate her bitch and not form any close attachments to anyone new. That way, if fate decides to have its way with her anyway, the after-effects can be somewhat contained. But, neither Haddie nor fate counted on Beckett Daniels. 

Both Haddie and Becks were secondary characters from Bromberg’s Driven series – Haddie being Rylee’s roommate and BFF, and Becks being Colton’s crew chief and BFF. We never got too involved with either of them at that point, but we did get a general sense of what type of people they were. I gathered that Becks was responsible, smart and had a huge heart. Haddie seemed very happy-go-lucky, loyal and a bit wild. Now that the spotlight is shining on Becks and Haddie, I can see how my first impressions only scratched the surface.

Haddie is a wild child – or, was a wild child. It made me sad to see how much of herself had been lost after her sister died. We get glimpses of the old Haddie here and there, but most of it is now weighed down by a blanket of grief and hopelessness. She and her sister were so close, so it’s like half of her is missing. The times that she spends with Lexie’s young daughter and husband were some of the most bittersweet moments I’ve ever read in any book. Ever. Seeing their pain through Haddie’s eyes was… frustrating, actually.

There were many moments in Slow Burn where I wanted to shake Haddie for being so stupid. She makes blanket decisions about other people and their feelings. She keeps secrets under the guise that she’s protecting the people she cares about. Haddie has developed a whopper of a martyr complex, and it drove me crazy. And, yet, I could understand completely why she did the things she did. And, that really tempered my irritation.

All you Colton fans out there, listen up. If you loved Colton in all his alpha protective ACE glory, then you’re really going to love this book. In some ways Becks and Colton are complete opposites. Becks has a great relationship with his mother and brother. He seems to have had a fairly uneventful life compared to Colton. But, in the absolute best ways, Becks and Colton are cut from the same cloth. Becks may be the proverbial nice guy, but he is not a push-over. He calls it like he sees it, and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty to get what he wants. When he realizes that Haddie is it for him, he knows he’ll do whatever he has to, take out whomever he needs to, and piss off everyone in the process if need be, for her to be with him. And, when it comes to the bedroom, Becks takes complete charge. Oh yeah. 

Speaking of Becks and Colton, their bond and friendship was one of the best things about this book. Spread out amongst the heavy emotional moments with Haddie was some much needed hilarity between these two as they discuss the important stuff like the nuances of the estrogen vortex or the effects of the voodoo pussy on the average, poor, unsuspecting male. Their banter and the incredible awesomeness of their friendship provided levity at just the right times.

The most unexpected part of Slow Burn was the raw emotion threaded throughout the story. I got the hairy eyeball from my husband more than once during the reading of this book, as he encountered me bawling like a baby. Although I’m an emotional reader, it’s rare that a book affects me as much as this one did. Slow Burn will kill you and make you feel alive all within the same chapter. Kristy Bromberg is a freaking master. 

Slow Burn is not to be passed by. It will grab on to you and not let go. The characters and the story stayed with me long after I finished the book. I guarantee it will affect you in incredible ways.

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