Thursday, December 31, 2015

{ arc } review || THE FRACTURED HEART by Scarlett Cole

Swerve | January 5, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
Second Circle Tattoos, book 2


All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.

Tattoo artist Brody "Cujo" Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn't want, he's intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent's engagement party, which means working with Trent's fiancée's best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.

Andrea "Drea" Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she's at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.

{ review } .

This book can definitely be read as a standalone, but to fully understand the bickering that is Drea and Cujo, I think that reading THE STRONGEST STEEL is a great idea. Heck, just reading the book for fun is a great idea. But the bickerfest that is Drea and Cujo started previously, as Cujo is Trent's best friend since forever and a day, and Drea is Harper's best friend, since Harper ran to Miami.

From previous review:
And then there's Cujo and Harper's friend, Drea. Oh my goodness, I loved their interactions from the moment they met. Cujo is very much that boy who teases the girl he likes -- Drea swears she doesn't like Cujo and besides, he's an ass to her. All of their interactions made me laugh and smile, including the whole "she loves him a little bit more"/hold her back scene.
That said... I totally wasn't expecting to be so completely enamored by these two. I knew I'd love them -- heck, I already loved them -- but watching their interactions, learning more about them, finding out about their pasts, and watching as their relationship built up, fell apart, and came back together again? Absolutely loved it. You could not guess that this is only Ms. Cole's second title.

Drea has super thick skin -- she has to with the way her mother treats her -- and as such, she tends to hold people away with a yard stick. She's not afraid to call things as she sees them, but she doesn't always expect for her words to have a reaction. She told Cujo his buzzed head reminded her of a bully, so the guy grew it out -- even though he had a very good reason for why he kept it short in the manner he did.

Cujo -- given name Brody (who loves it when Drea calls him by it) -- grew up with an indifference toward women. The one who was supposed to stick around in his life did not, leaving him with his mourning father and two brothers. Cujo is a great family man, and watching his interactions with his father and brothers was great. I loved his protectiveness toward his brothers, as well as his anger and grief as their past starts to piece together. Equally, I loved that when Cujo realized his feelings for Drea, he wasn't coy about them. He knew he wasn't a romance and flowers guy, but he wanted that with Drea.

I’d made a decision to never ink this arm randomly. It leads from my wedding ring finger to my heart... -- Cujo

This story had such a different feel to it than Trent and Harper's -- there was still the drama, still the suspense, but it was done at a different light and in a different speed, that the story felt organic and extremely real. Cujo and Drea butt heads at every turn, but eventually they give in to the temptation, to the very chemistry that boils between them, and find just how well they ignite. I did find that some of the 'clues' that are placed throughout the story may have been 'too big' in the aspect that they were too much information. The backstory there grew and grew and grew, but really didn't go very far when all was said and done.

As both of their pasts come to play with the present, both have major juggling to do. I definitely felt that every aspect of their relationship was true to form, and one you could see your best friend having.

A great story. Like I said, I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did, with as much as I loved the first book. Book 3 is THE PUREST HOOK and features our favorite lady Second Circle friend and the band man who works alongside Trent. I'm pretty excited -- and I won't make any assumptions that I'll like it more or less than this second book, because we saw where that got me after the first.

{ previously in series } .


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