Series: Over the Top #3
Published by Forever on January 10, 2017
Genres: Adult, Second Chance Romance
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Reality bites. Hard.
The last time Raven did "real" was sixteen months ago, when she spent one unforgettable night with the tattooed, impossibly sexy Nico, and then he disappeared the next day. Since then, she's kept her guard up and her feelings to herself. She doesn't have time for relationship drama when she's busy searching for her long lost sister.
Nico hasn't stopped thinking about Raven---her sultry curves, inked skin, or the fact that he ditched her after their night together. Now that they're living in the same city, he knows this is his chance to make things right. What better way to prove to Raven he's for real than helping her find her sister? But when the lines between right and wrong start to blur, putting his job on the line, Nico has to decide if the risk is worth the ultimate reward.
You know how everyone these days seems to want that bad boy with an attitude, the alpha male with a quick tongue and even bigger muscles, the star athlete or rockstar? I love how Kelly writes real characters with real issues. I don’t know about you, but I can’t say I often come across a bad boy who needs to be reformed or a rockstar who’s home on tour. But you know what is a possibility? Stumbling upon a cop with the biggest heart imaginable. I love how real it all felt.
So, long story short, Nico is kind of everyone I want. Sure, he’s tall, sure, he has muscles, sure, he has piercing blue eyes, but you know what else? He would do or give anything possible for the people he loves. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need and he always goes above and beyond. I’m not even just talking about Raven, but with his family, or Kolton and Sawyer. Even the kids that he helps out at the rec centre where he volunteers. Everything Nico does has a purpose and that’s to help others. Sure, because of this he holds those close to him at higher standards, but it’s because he doesn’t want to see anyone fail. I also felt so bad for all of the pressure that he keeps on his own shoulders, how he internalizes any issue instead of opening up. When Nico could accept that he isn’t responsible for everyone’s actions and Raven could let down her guard, these two are magic.
“There is darkness in all of us, but there is light, too. Yours still shines, Raven. How brightly is up to you.”
Quick recap on Nico: he’s a cop, he’s hot AF and he’s a giant, mushy teddy bear with a lot of feelings. Um, sign me up for one of those please and thank you! Maybe I should try my chances with a speeding ticket? Decisions, decisions… 😉
“Is this the part where you tell me not to worry? That objects appear larger from this angle?” My attempt at levity falters under my shaky voice. I’m no virgin, but my body has never accommodated something that size.
Gripping the base of his shaft, he kneels on the bed and nudges my knees apart. His eyes flick up to mine, that usual liquid ocean now blue flame. “This is the part where I show you how good a man can make a woman feel.”
I loved how strong and independent Raven is. She holds her pride high and will only ask for help when it’s truly needed. One thing would’ve loved to see of from her is her vulnerable side! In those moments when she showed her vulnerability, especially with Nico, amazing things happened. Those were some of my favourite moments of the entire book. She may have been a bit hard to connect to, and damn don’t even get me started on her stubbornness, but Raven was without a doubt the perfect heroine to bring Nico to his knees. I’ve been curious about her since My Perfect Mistake, so I’m so happy to now have her story!
“Penny for your thoughts.” Kolton nudges my elbow, his brown eyes soft with compassion.
“Seems cheap, and we don’t have pennies anymore.” My heavy thoughts weigh more than the crown jewels.
For all of my non-Canadian friends, true story. We don’t have pennies.
I’m a sucker for romance. Can you tell? And you don’t have to sell me on a fancy candlelit dinner, I want the real stuff. Quiet whispers on the couch, stolen glances or touches, family dinners with crazy siblings. All of that stuff means more to me and therefore builds a stronger report with the characters and their relationship. To be romantic, sometimes you just need a Hawaiian shirt and crazy nickname. From now on, please call me Petal.
The last (I want to say) 30% or so really just knocked me off my feet. In that short span alone there was not only plenty of plot development and character growth, but these two learning so much about each other and their relationship all at the same time. The rising action and subsequent conflict was so simple, but the reactions and outcome were so complex, I was really excited to see how Nico and Raven would work their way back to each other. And the feels! Ahhh, there were just so many feels it makes my little heart happy. Coming out of this though, my favourite part of the entire book was the resolution. Usually, when one character does something wrong, I want to see them in their knees grovelling. Who doesn’t like a little well deserved grovelling? But here, there were issues on both sides. Sure, one character screwed up more than the other but you know what made that perfect? It was the fact that they then BOTH had to work TOGETHER to find their way back to each other. There was grovelling, there were heartfelt speeches, there was a ton of romance and all of it was perfect. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Kelly writes my favourite endings ever.
“Poker players don’t lead with their hands open. They bluff once or twice, ensuring unpredictability, then they attack. This is my chance to go all in, all chips on the table, win big or fold. For Nico, I’ll risk everything.”
Oh, and then we get to this little thing called an epilogue, and here’s were I’m going to contradict myself; where I love endings, I usually hate epilogues. I hate how forced they are and it seems that in every epilogue ever, the couple either 1. Gets engaged. 2. Has their wedding. Or 3. The heroine announces that she’s pregnant. Let’s all start a slow clap for originality, okay? Yeah, I’m not a fan. But Kelly, my girl, she writes the most beautiful epilogues that have my heart soaring in the clouds and the biggest smile on my face. They’re perfect, every time. The epilogue in Hooked on Trouble though wasn’t just to end off Raven and Nico’s story, but it was also a send off for Shay and Kolton, and Lily and Sawyer as well. That’s right, we got one last hoorah with the whole gang together and it was magnificent. Especially with that bomb dropping, and THANK THE LORD! because I’ve been waiting for this moment to come up for THREE BOOKS!!! Hahaha I’m so happy, I love it. #bratoss
“We’re not the same, Nico and me. We won’t always agree, and we might test each other’s limits, but if he kisses me like this and opens his heart, I’ll be his and his and his. And he’ll always be mine.”
Yeah, sure, Hooked on Trouble can be read as a standalone, as with the others books in the series, but why would you bother when they’re all this good? Trust me, start with My Perfect Mistake, fall in love with everyone, and then keep going. You won’t be disappointed! <3
Kelly seriously impresses me more and more with every book she writes. With her debut, Chasing Crazy, coming out only a year ago, it’s astounding the level of precision and perfection that she uses in her stories. You’ll never know that she’s a newer author, she writes like a seasoned professional. She creates characters that you want to know and love while creating dynamic stories that are real enough to seem obtainable. In the romance industry, what more can you want? The sassy or strong heroines, the alpha, brooding or loveable heroes? Yeah, don’t worry, they’re all there too. <3 It feels like she’s been doing this for years, so I’m shocked to now see that it’s literally been one year. But damn, what a year it has been.
“Standing here, so close [to him], I can easily forget the nights I spent staring at my cell phone, plotting his demise. Dismemberment by captive killer whale was high on my list, a close second to pitching machine shots to the balls.”
I feel like I’ve come full circle with these characters and honestly don’t want to let them go. Ask ANY of the other Sisters here at The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Boyfriends, I don’t ever finish a series. I could pick up a story that’s book 5 in a series, or book 3. I’ll read one, sometimes two, and move on. I never, EVER, finish a series (and it drives Quinn nuts!). I’m usually just too busy or there’s too many other books releasing around the same time and I move on. But with the Over The Top series by Kelly Siskind? No way, Jose. I’m hooked.
“I’m nothing but a moody troll.”
This quote just speaks to me. 😉
*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.
His large hand presses against my knee under the table. “Can we talk?”
Jesus, his touch. It’s the first time I’ve felt the weight of his palm on me since Aspen. It’s heavy. Huge. Callused. Instinctually I shift forward, my body no longer mine to command. He doesn’t move his hand. Just his thumb. It presses harder, dragging downward. I grip my armrests to keep from sliding to the floor. He stares at me, waiting for my answer.
Yes. No. Maybe. I choose silence.
The way our lives are entrenched with our friends, I’ll have to spend time with him, and I can’t keep pretending I can block him out. Moving here was about starting fresh, which means letting go of this grudge. But talking about Aspen could stir up more feelings, the same way the experience spurred my need to find Rose. If we talk about our time in the hot tub, it could unhinge me further.
Our waiter arrives to take our order, and Nico’s thumb moves again, a tiny brush, his skin against mine, sending a pulse between my thighs. My sanity plummets. I shout, “Chicken,” like a lunatic as I push away from the table.
Nico’s hand slides from my knee, but his eyes don’t waver. I feel his gaze on my back as I hurry to the bathroom. The second I get inside, I close the door and lean against it, thankful it’s not a public room with several stalls. I take a few deep breaths.
How can that bit of contact turn me inside out? The smallest touch?
Memories of his other touches flip through my mind, snippets of skin and ink, flashes of ecstasy.
My back arching.
His fingers exploring.
The curve of his inked shoulder.
His huge hands.
The sheer size of him.
We might not have had sex, and the details may be fuzzy, but there’s no doubt it was the hottest night I’ve ever had. What isn’t fuzzy is the time I spent with him in the hot tub prior, and how he took advantage of my vulnerability.
Goddamn Nico. And Goddamn Aspen.
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