I loved this story. This book may not have been one of the epic life changing literary works of art but I loved it all the same. This is my first Diane Albert book but apparently it's #4 in the "Shillings Agency" series. This is absolutely a standalone so feel free to dive right in. I'm already planning to check out other books in the series.
Holt is a tortured former Marine dulling his pain with a variety of sketchy sex. Liv is the younger (but fully grown) sister of one of his best friends who is fresh off a relationship with a true a-hole. Liv tries to sneak in one night with Holt before he figures out who she is but of course following the one night he immediately figures out who she is and spends the rest of the book doing a really bad job of staying away from her.
Ok so maybe I'm a little twisted because I love a tortured Hero and Holt fed my fetish. What sets Holt a part from other tortured Hero's is that his PTSD issues were so well depicted that they didn't feel contrived for the sake of the plot. Diane Albert must have bothered to do some research into the experiences of soldiers following war and I really appreciated how genuine Holt's struggles come across. I can't say enough about how I loved Holt and the way he tried to suffer in silence. I just loved it.
As for Liv, I loved her too. I didn't get as much from Liv as I got from Holt but that's ok. Liv's role was mostly to support Holt and remain open to him despite his continued eff ups. I like that role in a heroine, especially when it's accompanied by some back bone which Liv definitely had.
I love a back and forth relationship where one party is trying to resist while the other is telling them to just let go. Of course they never get it until it's too late (sort of) but the conflict is so delicious. Even though you know we're headed for a HEA, the emotional volley is still delicious to watch.
For my lovers of smoking hot steam (like me), this was like a 3.8 on the steam scale. It was nothing inspiring but it was pretty good.
This was my first "sexy nerd" read. I'm more of a bad boy type of girl but I gotta say, this totally worked for me.
**ARC provided by Publisher**