Brody Brown has always been responsible for others. After his parents’ death, he gave up a promising artistic career to care for his younger brother and sister. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, has a nice house, makes a nice living, and for the first time in years he’s on his own.
Elise Sorenson has come to Seattle with her young daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina—(and just as many years in a marriage-gone-bad)—she’s looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.
More than friends, Brody and Elise discover in each other what they need—wild, physical passion without commitment. But it’ll take a shadow from Elise’s past to make them look beyond what they need—to what they truly desire.
I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book from the most generous Lauren Dane. This is the sequel to Laid Bare and the story of Brody, Erin’s older brother.
This book may break your stereotyped vision of a tattooed, motorcycle-riding, tough-looking guy, if you have a picture of such a guy in your head. I admit, my mind automatically goes to a completely different type of personality than Brody when I see a guy like that. My first thought is to turn around and
Elise is another damaged Dane heroine who comes out the other end strong, refusing to let life’s experiences keep her down. An abused wife, she has taken control of hers and her daughter’s lives. Although she is wary of Brody at first, she quickly learns that looks are deceiving and that he’s a big, soft marshmallow. Especially when it comes to those that he cares about. Although Elise has a lot of issues to work through, she doesn’t allow them to interfere with her new relationship with Brody, and establishing new friendships with his family and extended family.
Once again, where Dane’s work shines is in the interactions between Brody and Elise, and among Brody’s family. I think I say this in every review I write of a Dane book, but truly, nobody writes family like she does. Every nuance, all the teasing, loving, annoyance, acceptance, happiness, joy, kindness, laughter, and support that a family gives – she manages to capture it. And I liked that the Brown family immediately accepted Elise into the fold. Dane also excels at the relationship between her hero and heroine, and this book is no exception. Right from their first meeting, you feel the connection between Brody and Elise. I liked how there was a good basis for a friendship there, even underneath all the sexual attraction. These two people got to know and like each other, an element so often missing in erotic romance.
I also liked that Elise’s daughter, Rennie, was never an afterthought. She’s a complete character, although quite precocious. There was always the issue of who was going to watch Rennie, she didn’t exist to be cute – she was an integral part of the story. Dane doesn’t shy away from the strain an uncomfortable relationship and rancorous divorce can have on the child involved. She shows Rennie as having difficulty every time that she has to have her monthly visitation with her grandparents. Thank you! So often parents become so wrapped up in their own angst that they forget that everything they do or say has an effect on their children. /editorial Dane shows this to the extreme, with her ex-in-laws being the exaggerated villains, but gets the point across.
When Brody and Elise do finally get together, their relationship grows over the course of several months. Thank you! This book doesn’t get its HEA after a week. No, this couple works to the bone for their HEA. They get to know each other and their families, and fall deeply in love in a comfortable, but H.O.T. relationship. Brody’s issues stem from having to take care of his siblings at a very young age – he doesn’t think he wants to tie himself down, never really seeing what everyone else does – he is already tied body and soul to Elise.
Elise, likewise, having come out of an abusive marriage, doesn’t want to be tied to one man. But she also has fallen like a ton of bricks for Brody. He treats her like a queen, loves her daughter, and is great in bed. His fatal flaw is that he doesn’t want her to worry about anything, so he tends to try to make decisions for her. Having been in an abusive relationship and now on her own, Elise chafes at this treatment.
It’s a pleasure to read a book about two emotionally mature people falling into love naturally, with their eyes wide open. Who, for the most part, talk through their problems. Brody is a natural caregiver, and Elise, while she had issues, was open and honest. This book is incredibly heart-warming, and at the same time it revs your engines like nothing else. There certainly is no lack of hot hot sex. Yet at the same time, none of it is gratuitous. Every sex scene between Elise and Brody has an emotional connection and forwards their relationship. There’s also a bonus scene with Erin and her two husbands from Laid Bare. Wowza.
I closed this book feeling really, really good. Confident in the HEA for this couple. Confident that they were grounded and mature, ready and able to handle what life throws at them. Isn’t that what we all want from a romance? To truly believe in the HEA? You won’t be disappointed in this book if that’s your goal, too.
I highly recommend it. This is from Berkley Heat, release date of Jan 5, 2010. Buy Coming Undone here, here, or here. As of the writing of this post, both Amazon and BN have it for 33% off, and Book Depository has it for 25% off, with free shipping.