I received an advanced/review copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content and honesty of my review.
Series: The North Shore Crew #1
-A second chance romantic suspense-
Lil & Gage.Sunshine & Batman.Vivacious, wild and full of life.Dark, broody and misunderstood.Opposites in every way. Together, they are the imperfect love story.
Tragedy in Gage’s past tore his world apart. Three years of living in a constant state of desolation has left Gage a shell of the man he used to be. He’s content to be numb, never wanting to feel - to hurt - ever again. After moving to a new city in a last ditch effort to turn his battered life around, Gage finds himself out of his depth when he meets his cousin’s group of friends. One in particular stirs forgotten feelings that Gage is desperate to keep suppressed. Lil.Their connection is unexpected, unstoppable, and surpasses everything Lil’s ever felt before. However, she’s learned the hard way that men aren’t always what they seem, and Gage is no exception to the rule. He burns hot one minute then runs ice cold the next.Lightning doesn’t strike twice, or so Gage believed. Not when it came to loving hard then losing his entire world in a missed heartbeat. Once torn and resentful for what Lil makes him feel, Gage is now determined to stop pain-laced history repeating. But will he be too late?
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Format: ARC, eBook, Review Copy
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VR Baucke is a new author for me, but I can wholeheartedly say I’m now a fan. I adore this author’s writing style and the way she weaves a story that’s both compelling and heartwarming. Ms. Baucke also uses quite a bit of Kiwi slang–some of which I had to look up, lol–and it was so fun to read something somewhat out of the norm from the colloquialisms I’m used to as a Midwestern American.
The North Shore Crew are a boistrous, crazy, lovable bunch of people who made me feel like I was hanging out with a bunch of friends. I’ve only read book 1 so far (I have book 2 waiting for me on my Kindle, squee!!) and I’m already extremely attached to these characters. It’s been a while since a new author has introduced me to characters I could see myself being friends with and I loved it.
There’s plenty of angst, heat, and humor within this story … not to mention a few surprises from the main characters’ pasts that added a nice level of suspense. I got plenty more than I bargained for with this book, and I mean that in the best way possible <3
Gage is the epitome of damaged, morose alpha. Of course, because of who I am–and if you’re at all familiar with my reviews, you’re already expecting this–I love me a strong asshole with a heart of gold. Therefore … Gage is just … ugh. I swooned over this moody bastard all the way through the book <3
It’s easy to get frustrated with Gage’s hot and cold attitude toward Lil, but I can’t say I totally fault him for it. I’m not sure I would be able to open my heart up again if I’d gone through the kind of loss and heartbreak he has, so it can’t be even remotely easy. Not to mention how bubbly and full of life Lil is … it’d be overwhelming even if you didn’t have the kind of baggage he does.
In any event, while his surly disposition is aggravating and there are times you want to shake him and ask him what the hell it is that he wants, it’s an understandable situation. Let me tell you, though; once Gage falls, he falls hard. Once he realizes he’s wanting something with Lil, he is all in–no turning back. And if that isn’t one of the sexiest qualities in a man, I don’t know what is.
Lil has been through a lot of crap. Because of this, she has some pretty major trust issues and baggage that comes from dealing with it all. So not only does she have to decide if she’s ready to put herself out there again, but she has to decide if Gage is worth taking a chance on. With how she’s seen both his asshole side and his super sweet side, she’s left wondering what he expects from her–and for good reason. While I completely sympathize with Gage, I can’t help but feel like he should’ve been a bit more transparent from the start and explained why he’s so jaded. But that’s one of those things that’s easy to look at with a critical eye when you aren’t in the situation.
Lil is spunky and doesn’t take any shit, which was so fun to read. She’s quite unpredictable and it’s fun getting inside her head and learning just what makes her tick. I do think her friends tend to underestimate her–her brother, in particular–and I don’t think they gave her enough credit for some things, but I also think that’s more realistic. Your friends may always have your back, but they aren’t always going to tell you that you’re making the right choices, nor will they always be aware of when they need to take a step back and let you live your life or have confidence in the decisions you make.
I also just want to point out that the twin connection Lil shares with her brother was extremely fascinating. I’m not a twin, so I can’t touch on how accurate that telepathic communication actually is, but it made for a pretty awesome addition to an already wonderful story. My favorite parts were when they would argue with each other while they’re with their friends, but because they’re arguing telepathically, no one knows what it is they’re arguing about, lol. That was such a great touch!
If you’re a contemporary romance fan … you definitely need to check out this book. Especially if you enjoy elements of angst and suspense with realistic characters who don’t take themselves too seriously. I absolutely loved this story and I can’t wait to continue with book 2 <3
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