141 pp. // Contemp. Romance // Samhain Publishing // Feb. 2013
GOODREADS SUMMARY: When you’ve been burned, the heat of the moment is the scariest place to be.
Six months after a sexual assault, Anna Jameson has decided enough is enough. She’s sick of being a victim, of letting the experience have power over her. She wants her fear of physical intimacy gone, as in now.
In the quest to reclaim her sexuality, she needs a man. A man she trusts absolutely. A man like her best friend, Finn.
Finn Shaw is all about taking risks. He does it every week on his extreme sports TV show. But there’s one boundary he’s never pushed, and that’s his friendship with Anna. When his hyper-intellectual family kicked him to the curb over his dyslexia, Anna stuck by him.
Her request to become friends with benefits throws him for a loop. He can’t deny her anything, but this is a whole different ball game. Once they’re skin to skin, there will be no hiding the fact that he’s loved her for years.
When their chemistry burns out of control, Finn decides he’s the one who’s had enough. It’s time to break out of the friend box—and show Anna that risking her heart is a risk well worth taking. Even if it costs him her friendship.
Jackie Ashenden’s debut release packs a helluva punch!
Even though it took Anna some time to fall for Finn, I fell for him almost immediately. Yes, he’s good looking — okay, he’s hot! — but he’s also extremely patient and thoughtful. What woman wouldn’t want a man who pushed her to be a better person? It’s clear how much he cares for Anna and their relationship made my heart swell — even though they had their explosive moments (boy did they!).
There were times when Anna frustrated the hell out of me and I just wanted to give her a good shake because she was so clueless about how lucky she was to have a guy like Finn. However, it was these same quirks that made her character flawed and three-dimensional. As someone who’d went through a traumatic experience, her willingness and strength to try to take back her life was admirable and I respected her for that.
It’s been a while since a book made me cry, but parts of the story were so emotional that I couldn’t help it — the on-air scene, for example. Even with the waterworks turned on I kept on reading while sniffling. In fact, I didn’t stop reading and in a matter of hours I had finished the entire book!
This is a strong start to Ms. Ashenden’s author career. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!