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As with many of my romance reads recently, I got this one free on Amazon.  I was unaware that it’s part of a series, but I think it does just fine as a standalone.

In this story, Isabelle has just liberated herself from her cheating, controlling, stifling boyfriend.  Over the years, he’s not only controlled everything she does, but he’s also taken control of her bank accounts and assets.  As she drives away from the house they’d shared, she’s surprised (but not really) that she’s pulled over and arrested for driving a stolen vehicle.  Luckily, her longtime attraction-from-afar Gabriel is there to save the day, being the brother of the police officer who arrested her.  Gabe helps explain the misunderstanding, and once the charges are dropped, offers Isabelle a safe place to stay while she sorts out her life.

Soooo sweet, right?

Not really.

You see, Isabelle has just gotten out of the most awful, suffocating relationship you could possibly imagine.  Lance was everything you don’t look for in a man, and I had trouble understanding why Isabelle was with him to begin with.  But, setting that aside for a moment, it’s clear that she needs some time to herself to think.  In fact, she herself says this on multiple occasions.

But then she does the complete opposite, hopping into his guest bedroom, jumping into a relationship with him, letting him do the same thing Lance had done.

Yes, Lance was a villain.  But I am not so clear on the idea that Gabe isn’t.  Gabe is a man who obsessed over Isabelle from afar.  Even when he had other women on his arm, he thought about her.  She’s the only woman who can complete him.  Look at the description – “Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle.”  And Isabelle, despite everything she just went through, goes for this.  From one stifling relationship to another.

And who even is Isabelle?  She has no real personality traits aside from submission.  Her single hobby is her former job: interior design.  But is she even good at that?  She’s given one opportunity to show her stuff, and abandons it at the prospect of having sex with Gabe.  There’s nothing to her as a character, and so I found it very hard to sympathize with her.

The relationship between the two is not believable when it starts, and it’s still not believable when the book ends.  I’m not a huge fan of instalove in any case, but it was completely overdone here.  They’re both with other people as the book begins, but like 15% in and they’re going to die if they’re not together.

In short: I didn’t feel the connection.  I didn’t like the characters.  There wasn’t really a plot aside from Gabe and Isabelle trying to have as much sex as possible.

This book isn’t bad, but it’s far from great.

Final rating: