Author: Shiloh Walker
It’s no secret I love Shiloh Walker’s books. I have this ongoing ‘thing’ with her writing. I have to be ready, prepared to read about the situations her characters survive. But it’s not just about the tortured alpha males, nor the strong and tenacious women that turn them into puddles of quivering man-candy. It’s about the interaction between characters. I’m totally invested in the Barnes Brothers series, but I’m pretty sure I’ve found my new book boyfriend. I may be ruined for other hot and angsty dudes because of Trey Barnes.
I think I was drawn in from the very beginning. I’ll admit I savored Busted. I re-read passages. I felt like I knew Trey and Ressa—like they’re my besties or something. I tried to read every spare moment. I found myself rolling over plot points in my head when I wasn’t reading, trying to figure out how everything would happen before I finished the book. Mmmhm. Once again, Ms. Walker managed to surprise me. I shouldn’t be shocked by this. Ever. I should know better, Walker does this to me ALL the time.
Trey Barnes lost his wife, and nearly lost his son. We pick up five years later, and learn the heartbreaking backstory of Trey and Clayton. No one should believe me if I say ‘nah, I didn’t cry’. Losing my spouse is one of my biggest fears, and Ms. Walker pushes that button well. I feel whole because of Mr. VampBard, and I don’t think I could ever recover. Watching Trey find Ressa was beautiful, and the route they traveled to be together was inspiring. From the sly glances to the hoping-for-chance-meetings, Trey himself reminded me a lot of my own alpha male, which was touching and anchored me to him as a character in a way I never thought possible. His character traits and his personal guilt over the events surrounding and following the death of his wife completely wiped me out emotionally. What WAS refreshing, however, was his change in thinking. How Trey decided it was time to move forward, and he wouldn’t let anything stop him in attaining his goal: Ressa Bliss. I’d say Trey decided early on that Ressa was going to be his ‘rebound’, but that wasn’t the case, ultimately.
Ressa, guardian for her cousin’s daughter, was definitely a lioness. Fiercely protective of her younger cousin, Ressa also had a stack of guilt to overcome in order to be with Trey. With a tragic past riddled with angst, she reminds me of some of my students—brought up in a household that takes, yet doesn’t give. Love never goes easy, does it? There’s always a ton of reasons why it’s just easier to say, “Um. No.” While her past was an obstacle that Ressa didn’t want to deal with, it didn’t really stop her. Once she decided that she did want Trey, her instincts took over. Even if it was ‘just for now’. Ressa’s own guilt for the past threatened to make her hold back, and I’m really glad she was able to surpass that part of herself.
I think my favorite quote from the story is really telling, and I think it goes for both Ressa and Trey:
“No man ever had consumed her as totally as he had. It scared her, too, because she knew what it meant. He owned so much of her, without even asking, and that meant he could break her—without even trying.”
I know. You’re thinking, “All-consuming love isn’t real. It doesn’t pull at us the way lusty undertones do. It’s different.” That might be the case, but that tie-you-up-in-knots, go-for-broke kind of love *does* exist. It’s never pretty, and it’s never easy. But ultimately, it’s worth every moment of utter bliss (pun intended) later on. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly why I’m putting Busted on my list of Best Books of 2015.
Ultimately, I think characters that shown so well a reader feels as though they’re living—even temporarily—in their skin, makes for a fabulous book. Characters that allow us to connect to the story in a personal way invest readers in a story. Not gonna lie. I really connected with Ressa and Trey. For different reasons, of course. Any time I can get lost in a book, forgetting all the other things waiting for me ‘in real life’, it’s a winner.
Like his brothers Zach and Zane, Trey Barnes thought he had found the love of his life. But fate had other plans. A widower who’s had to raise his five-year-old son on his own, Trey has not allowed himself to be with another woman. Until he meets Ressa Bliss at—of all places—a children’s library program. The beautiful librarian is wonderful with his son, Clay, but every time Trey even considers asking her out, he is tortured by guilt.
Fate is indeed fickle. When the two meet again at a conference, this time the attraction is too powerful to resist. But is their connection and passion strong enough to survive Trey’s deep inner torment?
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Series: Barnes Brothers #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (352 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
Busted (Barnes Brothers #3)
It took almost twenty minutes to get to her room, thanks to the crush at the elevators. During that twenty minutes, Trey waited for the voice of reason to ruin things.
Waited for that awkwardness that had accompanied the last two dates.
Waited for his gut to start to churn at the thought of sitting down over a drink—it did, every time. He dealt with it, smiled through it and handled the headache after.
Waited for a rush of guilt, for the elevator to get stuck, an earthquake, a meteor strike…anything that would signify this was just a bad, awful idea.
But with each minute that passed, he just wanted to be in her room—at this point, any room would do, so long as he had some privacy—because he was dying to touch her.
He didn’t know exactly what she was offering.
Part of him thought he did, and he was almost certain he was right, but Trey was a realist. He was also more likely to believe in the negative with some things, because it was easier that way. Disappointment sucked.
He was also fully aware that more than likely, even if she was interested in…anything, this was the most likely scenario—if she touched him, his brain was going to screw everything up and then he’d look like a basket case in front of a woman he wanted more than he wanted his next breath of air.
His hands were shaking.
To hide it, he shoved them into his back pockets as they waited for their turn to shuffle onto the elevator. Finally, they managed to wedge themselves in and then more people wedged themselves in after that. Trey found himself so close, he could have turned his head and he’d be able to bury his face in her hair. Soft, wild twists of curls…what would she do—
“Oh! Sorry!” There was a giggle, a squeal…and then like a bunch of dominos, people half fell, half crashed into others as the woman in the front continued to giggle. “Oopsie! Too marny—ah, too many marnis—too many martinis!”
A couple of snorts, a couple of snickers and more than a few curses. Trey barely heard any of them. Ressa had ended up crushed against his chest and he was pinned to the wall. Her hip was pressed snug to his crotch and even as he tried to ease her away, her gaze shifted, lifted…
His cock started to pulse, throb.
Her gaze dropped to his mouth.
Her hand fisted in the material of his shirt as she licked the full, ripe curve of her lower lip. If he didn’t at least taste that mouth—
The elevator dinged and bodies spilled out. As the person next to them escaped the press, Ressa eased back. Dusky color rode along her cheekbones as she slid her eyes up to meet his.
Tearing his gaze away, he looked at the lights flickering above the elevator door.
It hit her floor and as she turned away, she slid her hand down, caught his.
Sweat beaded at the nape of his neck and he had one brief moment of lucidity.
Trey Barnes was a man who liked order. He liked to be in control.
But he had absolutely no idea what in the hell he was doing.
And he was absolutely fine with that.
The Reading Addict – Snippet #3
Reviews by Crystal – Snipppet #4
Books-n-Kisses – Snippet #5
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