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Thursday, June 27, 2013

ARC Review: Unbuttoned by Maisey Yates

UNBUTTONED is a novella that kicks off category author Maisey Yates’s new Silver Springs series of full-length contemporary romances set in the heart of rural Oregon’s ranch country. Small-town romance AND cowboys? I’m sold! While it suffers from some of the issues typical of novellas due to the short length, it is a sexy, compelling read that definitely has me looking forward to the first full-length entry in the series in August.

Straitlaced councilwoman Carly Denton lives locked in a prison of respectability of her own making, focused on being in control at all times and afraid to take hold of anything she feels passionately about for fear of losing her hold on that prized control. The spectacle her parents have repeatedly made of themselves in public with flagrant philandering and screaming matches have made Carly determined to always be seen as ‘respectable’ and afraid of anything that inspires passion—especially romantic relationships. Sexy cowboy and former bronc rider Lucas Miller has abandonment issues and a major case of ‘not good enough’ syndrome thanks to his mother leaving him and his father when he was young and reducing his father to a maudlin alcoholic. He’s also Carly’s older brother Mac’s best friend and grew up with Carly and Mac to escape his home life, so he’s initially conflicted about his attraction to Carly and his desire to get her to loosen up and forego some of that rigid control. Carly’s been in love with him since she was a teenager but is afraid to take a chance because she’s convinced all men stray and Lucas was a bit of a player in his youth. Lucas doesn’t think he’s good enough for Carly to want to stay with him in the long run, despite wanting forever after with her. Cue relationship drama! The two of them have plenty of childhood issues to work through in between bouts of hot sex on the road to a HEA—and this is where the deficiencies of the novella format are most evident. Given the extent of Carly’s hang-ups and how putting on a stifling respectable fa├žade is such an integral part of her character, her transition from running from the relationship to being willing to publicly put it all out there for the man she loves feels a bit rushed, and Lucas seems to forget about his abandonment issues the second Carly is willing to take a chance. The characters are skillfully written and realistic and the dialogue is both hilarious and emotive, but the story’s emotional arc would fare better in a longer format where readers have more time to savour the delightful couple the two of them make (and the hotness that is Lucas).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed UNBUTTONED; it’s a great start to what looks to be a promising new small-town contemporary series and has introduced me to a new-to-me author who writes enjoyable characters with great emotional depth, witty dialogue, and steamy love scenes. The excerpt at the end of the novella for UNEXPECTED, the next book in the series, sounds like a great take on the secret baby trope, and I’m excited to see what Ms. Yates does with the story and the longer length.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |


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