Hers to Own is the second book in The Vault Series by Anne Lange. This book can be read as a standalone though the books and characters are interconnected. I hadn't read the previous book in the series before reading this book, but I cannot wait to go back and read their story after seeing those characters in Hers to Own. When I was first asked about judging the Erotica Category for the National Excellence of Romance Fiction Award Contest (NERFA), I was really excited to be involved at all as it was a huge honor to even be asked! I have to say though that the best thing about being involved is being introduced to some authors I might not have heard of otherwise, and that is definitely the case here. Anne Lange is new to me, but I will definitely be reading more from her in the future!
After having a tough childhood and being made fun of for her looks, Brienna Morgan has worked hard to lose some weight and take care of her appearance. When she gets invited to her reunion, she almost avoids going but decides it is time to finally show her former classmates what she has made of herself. But when she runs into her crush Kade McBride, she realizes that she hasn't made as much progress as she once though. Kade can't believe that he finally has a second chance to get to know the girl he always admired from afar. But while Kade wants nothing more than to get to know Brienna, she isn't so quick to let him in. But can Kade get Brienna to open up to him and see that she is beautiful inside and out? Or will Brienna's insecurities keep her from having a chance at happiness with the man she always wanted?
I really liked Brienna and Kade. Kade was sweet and kind, and he was alpha without being a controlling jerk. He was able to take control when it was wanted, but he was always such a great guy that seemed to genuinely care for Brienna. He wanted to give her pleasure and have her see herself for what she really was rather than what the cruel kids had once convinced her was there. I loved that he never gave up on her, and it was easy to see that he was falling for her. He had vowed to never let someone in beyond his family for the long haul, and yet he couldn't fight the connection with Brienna. Brienna was easy to like and relate to. She had issues with her body, and had been picked on from a young age. I think her issues are something that most women will experience at some point in their life, and it is easy to think that because we aren't perfect that we are somehow flawed. But what I loved about this book is that Brienna learned to accept herself as she was, and she even started to love parts of herself that she hadn't before. Kade helped her to see that she was beautiful as is, and that is such a powerful message that all women need to hear.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I liked the characters a lot. Kade and Brie were great together and I thought that their connection and chemistry was so strong. It was great to see a heroine that wasn't a stick thin perfect looking girl, and to see her learn to embrace her body and looks. It was really a journey for her and I liked watching her grow. I will admit that it did take awhile to happen though, and at times her insecurities did get a little old. But I really did like this book and would definitely recommend it. Beyond the great message here though, this book was extremely hot and I loved the sex scenes. This book does have some BDSM aspects, though they are not very intense or dark as far as BDSM goes. But readers should beware of that content before making the decision to read. I am really looking forward to reading more from Anne Lange in the future, and I would love to get to know Kade's brothers Kyle and Gabe better!
**Review Copy Provided by NERFA**
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*NERFA Contest Erotica Category Results*
I was given the chance to act as a judge for the National Excellence of Romance Fiction Award contest for the Erotica category and was provided with three books to read. It was an honor to read these books and to pick a winner, and I loved getting the chance to read some authors that I hadn't heard of before. The three finalists in the Erotica Category were Hers to Own by Anne Lange, Cowboys Never Fold by Lexi Post, and Tempting Meredith by Samantha Ann King. I really believe that any of these entries could have won depending on who was judging, but I thought that there was one that stood above the rest. For me, Hers to Own was the clear winner and I really enjoyed the story as well as discovering a new author. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this contest, and I highly recommend giving some of these books a try!