WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU – Rachel Gibson
A Perfect 10
Truly, Idaho – Present Day
Natalie once thought she had the good life when she married her high school sweetheart and they worked hard to get ahead and plan a family. But on the day she told her husband she was pregnant, he dumped her… and left her to pick up the pieces after he was arrested for stealing money from his clients. Now she's a single parent raising her daughter, Charlotte, back in her hometown of Truly. Slowly her life is rebuilding, but when security specialist Blake Junger moves in next door, her life is about to change in a big way. Blake is a tough SEAL, but he's met his match in a woman and her little girl who are about to bring him down to his knees.
Natalie prefers to stay under the radar after spending a horrendous time under the spotlight during her ex's notorious trial and conviction. He's due to be released in a couple of months, and she has to prepare Charlotte to meet her father…for the first time. The new guy next door is gruff and has a potty mouth, someone she doesn't want around her child, yet they seem to run into each other a lot, which ramps up the heat between them. She can't afford a scandal if she has an affair with Blake, yet the sizzle can't be denied.
Blake is dealing with his demons, mainly due to the aftereffects of warfare, with the main demon now being the Johnnie Walker he keeps on hand to torment himself with. He prefers to keep to himself, and when the little girl next door takes a liking to him, he can't but help but notice her mother, Natalie. He wouldn't mind if she provided him with a little sexual relief, but she reeks of promises for a future with a guy, and he's not into commitments. Yet there's no denying the sparks that fly between them.
Rachel Gibson returns readers to Truly, Idaho with a sparkling tale that's about finding love after life has spun them around in circles. Natalie once had it good—marriage, a pregnancy after she overcomes fertility issues, and a comfortable life financially. But it all came tumbling down after her ex's deceits were exposed, right after he dumped her for a twenty year-old bimbo. Her new photography business is doing okay, even if an occasional “indecent” photo comes through while developing film for customers. Natalie sees Blake as a guy she shouldn't get involved with, yet the attraction is hard to ignore. When her daughter and Blake become a “shared” owner of a dog, it forces them to be around each other. The chemistry sizzles whenever they're in the same room.
Blake grew up as a twin (his brother Beau's story is in RUN TO YOU), but it was Blake who followed their father into the SEALs. It also appears Blake is going to join his father using alcohol, which he does as a relief from the horrific scenes he witnessed while serving overseas. He came to Truly expecting to be able to live a solitary life, with going on an occasional job for his employer in getting people out of bad situations. But little Charlotte was hard to ignore, and it forces Blake to face the people around him and makes him notice Natalie.
In WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU, readers will be pulled into the intense chemistry between Natalie and Blake and realize how they are trying to just survive after life's nastiness gets them down. Rachel Gibson adds lightness to what are difficult subjects—alcoholism, PSTD, and having an ex in prison—but she pulls it off to make a dark tale more lighthearted. There are cute moments between Charlotte and Blake, and sexy hotness between him and Natalie. Add in the people who live in Truly, and WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU makes it a read I truly (no pun intended) and highly recommend. In fact, I'm giving it one of Romance Reviews Today's Perfect 10s, as it is a book you won't want to put down once you start. It's an intriguing mixture of darkness, lightness, and sexiness that is well worth the time for readers of contemporary romance.