If you have read any of the New Hope books from Lexi Ryan, you will recognize Janelle Crane as Nate Crane's twin sister. If you are new to Lexi Ryan or haven't read most of those books, Holding Her Close can be read as a complete Standalone. While I have loved all the books I have read from Lexi, her Here and Now books are my favorites as I love Hanna and Nate. So I have been anxiously awaiting Janelle's story since she played a bigger part in their books. This book definitely didn't disappoint, and I am so glad that we got to know Janelle better here.
Janelle Crane has finally landed her dream role as an actress, in which she will be taken serious rather than just be known as the actress that always plays an airhead. But her ex screws everything up when he asks her to dinner and the incident winds up all over the tabloids. Determined not to lose the part, Janelle hires a fixer to help get her reputation back on track. But when Janelle goes to her brother's Halloween party and makes out with the guy in the Batman suit she believes is to play her fake fiance, she quickly discovers that there was more than one Batman at the party and the one she made out with is none other than New Hope local cop Cade Watts. Cade hates actresses after his ex led him on for publicity and he has no interest in being Janelle's fake fiance to help fix her reputation. But when Janelle finds herself in danger from a stalker, Cade is determined to keep her safe and help her in a way he didn't in the past.
I loved Cade and Janelle. These two both had issues from their past that affected the way that they handled things here. Cade had been hurt and betrayed, and unfortunately that tainted the way he saw all actresses. While he was drawn to Janelle and wanted her, he didn't trust her and was easy to assume the worst. Yet he also couldn't help but want to look out for her and protect her, and I really liked seeing him get to know her and soften a bit when he saw that she was different. Janelle had been hurt and lost everything that she thought she had except for her career. She was insecure because of things her ex had done and said, and I really liked seeing her gain confidence here and discover that she wasn't the problem. I really felt like Cade was perfect for her, and it was good to see these two help each other grow and heal after all they had been through. The chemistry was smoking hot between these two, and I enjoyed seeing the slow build that their relationship took. They had some super steamy moments, but it was good to see them get to know one another and it all felt very natural to me.
Overall, this was a really good story and I liked the characters a lot. There was a lot of great moments between Janelle and Cade, but I also loved seeing some familiar faces. I had been wanting more of Janelle's story, and I really liked seeing beneath her facade. She was so much more than the world knew or had seen, and I really loved who she was. These two were great together, and I enjoyed this story a lot. If you are a fan of Ryan's, you will definitely want to check this book out! If you are new to her though, this is a great place to start and will make you want to go back and read all of the New Hope books! I can't wait to see what Lexi Ryan writes next.
**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**