Carly Denton likes her life on the straight and narrow. After growing up in the family most whispered about in their small town, she managed to go to college and become the youngest elected councilwoman. She wants to be the opposite of her parents – controlled, predictable and drama free. This is why she has avoided her brother’s best friend, Lucas, all these years. The object of her childhood crush serves these days as the biggest thorn in her side. Lucas loves to push Carly’s buttons simply to watch her squirm. When forced to work together on a charity project, Carly’s tight strings start to unravel around Lucas and Lucas begins to realize how much he likes Carly squirming.
This is a new to me author. I ended up with this novella after a giveaway on Twitter and didn’t know anything more about it than it was contemporary romance. I began reading and was immediately sucked in. Carly is so neurotic that it’s palpable and you really do feel for her. Carly’s childhood was marred by parents who cared more about publicly airing out their laundry than taking care of her and her brother, Mac. Lucas had a similar miserable childhood growing up with an absentee mother and alcoholic father and the three often took comfort with each other sharing dinner together.
Where Lucas grew up and learned to shuck off the past, Carly is frozen by it. She is consumed by worries about others’ opinions of her to an almost debilitating effect. She managed to strictly control any outspoken feelings or passions for so long, that when she is forced to interact with Lucas she realizes that she either has to take the bull by the horns or spiral out of control. When she buckles under and kisses Lucas, her world shifts. Objects under pressure tend to explode when released and all the tension builds up to some fabulous releases.
I really enjoyed this book and am somewhat miffed that it was only a novella. A longer length book would have provided a little more depth that would've really amped up the story. I will definitely be reading the next in the series and happy to have a new author to follow.