A wonderfully addictive, super sexy romance with all the feels.
Loved this story!
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Four years ago, Mitch Lawson moved across the breezeway from Mara Hanover and she fell in love with the tall, good-looking police detective who had an uncanny ability to dress well even though he’s single. It was not a stalker kind of love; she knows she has no hope since Mitch is way out of her league. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s her dream man.
Then one day Mara’s faucet won’t turn off and she knows nothing about plumbing. Being a good guy, Mitch offers to help then he invites himself over for pizza. Mara gives it a go but finds herself running away from him (literally) on their first date, standing him up their second and then she runs into him (again literally) on her way to save her ne’er do well, criminal cousin’s kids who’d just run away from their ne’er do well, criminal Dad.
Suddenly, Mara finds she has on her hands the guardianship of two kids and a gorgeous police detective who’s willing to do anything to help out… including giving fabulous foot rubs.
But Mara knows who she is and where she came from and she knows Detective Mitch Lawson is better than her. Hot law man Mitch disagrees and his challenge is to convince Mara to let go of her past and he sets about building a family at the same time he finds he also needs to protect them all against known and unknown adversaries that would tear them apart.
This is definitely one of my favorite KA reads! Imbued with so much heart, fragility, goodness, loyalty and hope, Mitch and Mara’s story is truly about moving beyond your past, beyond the bad stuff, beyond the kinds of things we assume define us. There was a bit of a fairytale feel to their romance and I actually loved how the story evolved and flourished. Kristen Ashley once again touts her skill at drawing out emotions with a story that is well paced and balanced, a perfect mix of heart, sexiness, suspense and action.
“… he was beyond perfect from the top of his dark brown-haired head to his usually boot-clad feet. He was the man of my dreams.”
Mara Hanover has been in love with her neighbor, Detective Mitch Lawson, since the moment she saw him. He was her dream man. Problem was, they didn’t know each other and they never would. Mara saw the world through a system that categorized people into groups, and Mitch Lawson was on an entirely different level than she was. He was a law man… handsome, good, desired, and being the type of guy he was meant he should not mingle with the likes of her… or so she thought. Mara came from an oppressive background where she grew up thinking she was nothing, and would amount to nothing. She was shy, scared to become a version of her horrible mother, and therefore scared to really live. She spent most of the time in her head, battling with could nots and should nots and nevers.
“You and me are against all the laws in the universe,” I explained.
“No, you and me are against all the laws in twisted, fucked-up Mara World, but I’m gonna straighten out Mara World.”
When fate and a faucet interfere, she finds herself alongside Mitch, who is there to lend a hand. Their dynamic is wonderfully exciting, charged with desire, possibility and hope. Yes, Mara’s upbringing has led her to believe that a guy like Mitch couldn’t fall for a girl like her, but her struggles are inherently relatable. I loved seeing Mitch dispel her insecurities, crush every pre-conceived notion and in essence, help pull her out from being lost inside herself and into the real world full of beautiful possibilities.
“Never believed in this shit, but now, I’m thinkin’ I fell in love with the promise of you the first time I saw you.”
The past is a central theme in the story, because although it was what instilled all that horrible doubt in Mara, it was also that past that brought them together. When Mara’s dead-beat cousin’s kids make a call for help, Mara comes running… with the good detective in tow. From that moment on, Mitch is not only there for Mara, but also unfailingly there for those two kids. The coming together of these four people (Mara, Mitch, Bud and Billie) is a beautiful, heart wrenching thing to experience. There were many times I was moved to tears at what the kids had endured, and at all the love, goodness and hope that Mitch and Mara gave them day in and day out.
“Mara, I’m keepin’ you safe. I’m keepin’ those kids safe and you don’t have a choice in that, sweetheart. Thats just the way it’s gonna be… I was made to protect you and you were made in the way that it would always be worth it.”
In addition to the a new relationship growing and two kids to take care of, Mara and Mitch face a bevy of external problems that put them in the kinds of scary situations that requires the team of badass dream men to mobilize. I’m talking Hawk. Slim. Tack. Lee and the gang. Everyone was there.
It. was. awesome.
And I can’t tell you how much I fell in love with Mitch Lawson. He is a man with such a huge heart, infinite patience and total to-the-soul loyalty. I truly felt that he and Mara were meant to be together, that they needed exactly what the other offered to be a complete and happy family with the promise of forever.
“I hadn’t had a lot of beauty in my life but I knew, in that moment, feeling him filling me, his long fingers in my hair, his eyes staring into mine, gentle, warm, beautiful, telling me without words he really liked where he was and that was with me, that even if I had a life filled with beauty, no moment would be more beautiful than that. And that was why my arms pulled him even closer, my legs tightened around him and tears filled my eyes.”
And… wow. The epilogue. All of Kristen’s epilogues are fantastic and fulfilling to the extreme, but this one had tears streaming down my cheeks because it was perfect and beautiful and so much more than I imagined. This is a wonderful story about past and present, future and possibility. It’s about love and loyalty, safety and happiness, family and friends. From the Dream Man series, this is the probably book that has the most feels, and I loved seeing these people find their well-deserved, fairytale happy ever after.
“I was wrong. I didn’t like the real world. I loved it. Because it felt like a dream.”
Reading Order and Links
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