August 13, 2015

Title:  Darker Water

Series:  Once and Forever

Author:  Lauren Stewart

Published:  October 2014

After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She’s too busy for it right now anyway–she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she’ll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won’t feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn’t meant to do…

Like break

Carson Bennett is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney’s heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does… a lot. But having feelings for someone isn’t allowed. It’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze…

Like secrets

Two people want the same thing—a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can’t free themselves from the past, they’ll both be pulled under by it.

Ana will put Darker Water on her Third Shelf!

There are some reviews that are easy to write and some that leave you struggling for words.  This is an example of the latter.  I like this book…I really did.  The characters were broken but I still felt I could relate to some of their issues, the storyline was unique and the writing was great.  So, why am I so confused about how to rate this book and how to review it?  I guess it’s because as I finished the last page, I had mixed emotions about the journey that got me there.  Bear with me as I try to explain.

As a lover of love, a believer in romance and proponent of the saying “love makes the world go ’round”, I always feel bad for anyone who’s been hurt enough that they turn away from (in my opinion) necessary emotions.  This book tells the story of two such characters…one hurt by family and the other hurt by failed attempts at love…who decide that they can’t or won’t love again.  The storyline let us follow them as they attempt to have a relationship strictly based on satisfying themselves without strings, without emotions.  And, before you run off thinking this is an erotic book, I have to tell you otherwise.  Even though they are looking for a physical relationship only, the road to get to that state is long and the encounters are pretty tame.  What happens along the way, of course, is that they discover they like each other and, eventually, as they open up, they become even more entangled in each others’ worlds and emotions.

I loved their banter, especially at the beginning of the story.  I loved their honesty with each other and I adored the care with which they handled each other.  What I found, however, was that the story moved a bit too slow for my liking.  It took too long for me to really start to understand why Carson was so broken and, therefore, too long for me to fall in love with him.  I was given bits and pieces which were easy enough to put together but it took too much time for him to admit it, to let it out in order for healing to begin.  Much of the meat of the story really happens in the last 30%…with the middle being filled with (sometimes) unnecessary drama.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that this is a good book overall.  But, for me, it missed the mark just a little bit.  The thing that kept me reading was the wonderful writing and the premise of the storyline which was very unique.  Now it’s up to you to decide whether you want to give it a try.

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