M. Leighton has written another incredible addition to her new Tall, Dark and Dangerous series. Tough Enough had a different feel and flavor to it than Strong Enough (Tall, Dark and Dangerous #1). Where Strong Enough was dark and suspenseful, Tough Enough was more light and hopeful. That didn't make book 2 any less impactful. On the contrary - I loved Katie and her flaws. And, of course, I LOVED Rogan and his... well, everything, really.
Publish Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) There was a time when I had everything–a wonderful family, a bright future. Love. But all that was taken away in a single night, torn from me like flesh from bone. Since then, I’ve hidden away in my second-choice job as a makeup artist. But I prefer it that way, actually. I’m comfortable in the shadows, where no one can see my scars.
Kiefer Rogan literally took my breath away the moment I met him. MMA champion-turned-actor, notorious playboy, charming to a fault—he’s everything I vowed to avoid.
But he just wouldn’t stop until I opened up and let him in. Maybe I should’ve tried harder to resist him. Maybe I shouldn’t have fallen in love with him. Because I, of all people, know that everyone has secrets. Scars. And that they’re usually ugly and painful and destructive to the people we love most.
I just never guessed that they could be deadly, too.
Katie and Rogan meet when he was tapped to star in a new television series and Katie is his makeup artist. Kiefer Rogan is hot. Like, H-O-T. And, he's used to women fawning over him and falling over themselves to talk to him. Of course men like him are always so intrigued by women who could care less about them, right?
That's definitely Katie. She's been scarred both on the outside and the inside, and after being kicked down so many times, she's just done. She has no interest in forming any more emotional attachments, especially with men. Even though Rogan gets to her. More than she's comfortable with.
My gut told me he would be trouble. I just never expected him to be this kind of trouble. No one affects me this way anymore. No one. It's been safer for me that no one has. And I liked it that way. Because this isn't safe.
Katie never planned for Rogan. She was just trying to lay low and stay hidden from the ones who ruined her life. Keep her scars hidden from anyone who might see them. It's interesting that she's a makeup artist - one trained to hide others' scars so well, and yet, she still struggles to keep her own under wraps. She sees herself as worthless and unimportant, and she can't understand at all why Rogan even gives her the time of day. Katie made me so sad at times - she was so alone, even in a room of people.
"Maybe he thinks I'm a challenge because I didn't fall at his feet. I don't know, but whatever it is, it won't take him long to realize that I'm not a challenge. I'm nothing. I'm not worth his interest. His time. His attention. I'm nothing special. When he sees that, he'll move on."
But, Rogan - he has charm oozing out of every beautiful pore. Through some well timed coffee deliveries and cries for help with his lines, Rogan is able to draw Katie out of her shell enough for her to share her story - and her scars - with him. For all of Rogan's roguish ways, he takes the trust she places in him very seriously. It only solidifies what he's feeling for her and his fierce need to protect her.
"Let me bring you back to life," he whispers brushing his lips over mine in a kiss even softer than his words. "Inch by inch, day by day, touch by touch."
As it turns out, Katie has developed a strong need to protect Rogan as well, which she discovers when her past comes back to threaten both her and the potential future she was trying to carve out with Rogan. Katie finds that she's willing to sacrifice anything to keep him safe. And, isn't that a nice change of pace?
I absolutely loved Katie and Rogan together. They were like two sides to the same coin. Individually, they had lives, but they weren't really living like they wanted to be. Together, they found the most amazing chemistry and vibrancy in life. I loved so much that Tough Enough was told in dual POV. Rogan's chapters were my absolute favorite. His fascination with Katie in the beginning was adorable, and later when his feelings went beyond fascination, I loved seeing Rogan go into full on protection mode.
We did hear briefly from Jasper, but there wasn't much that was said about the conspiracy plot that was introduced in book 1. Tough Enough was completely focused on the relationship between Katie and Rogan, so I wonder if we'll get back to the super suspenseful stuff in book 3, Brave Enough. Either way, there was enough drama, suspense and intrigue in Tough Enough to keep me on the edge of my seat, and enough heat between Katie and Rogan to keep me happily panting from page to page. Hell - that right there is most definitely worth the price of admission.