Series: Redemption #2
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: April 14, 2015
Format: eARC, 240 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.
Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.
After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?
I’ve been a fan of Lauren Layne’s since I first picked up the novella, Isn’t She Lovely, years ago. Sadly I seem to have gotten distracted somewhere along the way and neglected to read the first full-length book in this series, Broken, until recently. I could kick myself, but the good thing about waiting is that I had got to read it and Crushed nearly back-to-back. Can’t complain about that!
My favorite part about this book, hands down, is Chloe. What a kickass heroine. She was a real girl, someone I could certainly relate to on a number of fronts. I loved how spunky she was. We would totally be friends in real life. I liked that she wasn’t the picture perfect heroine. I also liked that she didn’t feel sorry for herself, which would’ve been easy to do with people like her sister Kristin in her life. You can probably guess I wasn’t a Kristin fan. She was shallow and fake and everything she did was totally contrived.
I truly went back and forth with my feelings for Michael. On the surface, he wasn’t a very nice guy. He was a player and a user and it was difficult to connect with him. I particularly disliked the way he was using Chloe – and the way he spoke to her at times. He really just rubbed me the wrong way a lot of the time. But, over the course of the book, I started to appreciate his character more. I saw another side of him and began to realize why he was how he was. I liked how he grew up during this book.
The dynamic between Chloe and Michael was an interesting one. There was some fun banter and tons of chemistry. I liked that Chloe gave as good as she got. She didn’t back down to Michael. The changes she began going through started at his urging, but quickly became something she did for herself. I liked watching how they came together to try to get the people they both thought they wanted (Devon and Kristin, respectively) but then wound up finding what they really needed in each other.
The “crush on an unattainable guy” book has been written many times before, but I don’t care. I still enjoy it every time. This book might scream love triangle or, worse, love rectangle, but it didn’t really give that vibe. Crushed had loads of humor and heart, and characters I won’t forget any time soon. I love Lauren’s writing style and I’ll definitely keep coming back for more!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.