In the six years since her husband was killed by S.W.A.T., Carrie Padilla has spent long hours at work, rebuilding a life for herself and her son. The little time she has at home is spent keeping her eight-year-old son out of trouble, but he is all too eager to try to be the man in the house. When a handsome cop shows up on her doorstep, her errant son in tow, Carrie's heart stutters. The sexy Italian cop sets off all kinds of bells in her system, and she knows there's only one thing she can do to save what is left of her family, her husband’s memory, and her heart...avoid her new neighbor at all costs.
S.W.A.T. officer Jake Stafani already lost one little boy to gang violence, the dead boy’s older brother is missing, and Jake's not about to let the same thing happen to a neighbor's son. He drags the youngster home only to discover much more than a passing interest in the boy's beautiful, but wary, mother. Forced to take a leave of absence after a bust goes awry, Jake can think of nothing better to occupy his time than to keep Carrie and her son safe, and locate the missing teen who holds the key to taking the gang off the streets, once and for all.
But Jake doesn’t count on his stubborn, intriguing neighbor distracting him from his job, or the passion that flares between them. He doesn’t expect her amazing son to steal a piece of his heart. Jake is ready to risk everything for Carrie, body and soul. But it’s not all up to him. If their new love is to survive, Carrie will need to be strong enough to see the man's beating heart behind the badge, to look beyond the pain of her past, and decide that loving again is worth the risk.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Karen Docter is a new author to me. I'm always skeptical when I read a book from a "new to me" author, but Karen Docter didn't disappoint. This book really touched me. It is an emotional read with compelling characters and a great storyline. I really think the author did a great job with her character development. Carrie is a strong woman. She's raising her son alone and managing a successful career. I like how she seems to have figured it out. And despite her son's escapades, she does realize that he's missing out on having a man in the house. I just don't think she ever expected that the man would end up being a cop. It was really neat how Carrie meets Jake literally on her doorstep - with her son beside him. And that was the start of a great, complicated, exciting relationship.
Gosh, I just love Jake. He speaks to Carrie in a rational, loving, kick-ass kind of way. He loves her, but he won't let her do something he doesn't think is right for her. I love how he let her learn for herself when he realizes he can't convince her, and when he admits that if she doesn't see what he sees, then maybe what he's seeing isn't real. I can't say enough good things about this hero.
Carrie's strength also means that she can be stubborn. She has hung onto her misdirected responsibility for her husband's death for a long time, and it takes the fear of possibly losing the love of her life to help her realize the reality of the situation - well, that fear, and the arguments of a good man who can be equally stubborn and refused to give up on the love of HIS life!
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes hometown heroes, strong women, sensitive men, and a great love story!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author:
Karen’s contemporaries are delightful, spicy romances. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don’t allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each others path.
Her romantic suspense novels (as K.L. Docter) are also filled with romance, although the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love. Karen/K.L.’s an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.
When she’s not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them to fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking. If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!