I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe
Series: The Boys of Bishop #2
Published by Bantam on July 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.
Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.
Molly O’Keefe is an auto-read for me. I know her stories will always have something “more” and this book is no exception.
Brody Baxter is a professional bodyguard and was on an assignment when he’s contacted by Harrison Montgomery to rescue his sister, Ashley, who’s been abducted by Somali pirates. Brody has a history with the family (especially Ashley) and doesn’t hesitate. The abduction wasn’t pretty and neither was the rescue so when Ashley needs a respite from her high profile family and the world, Brody takes her to his hometown of Bishop, Arkansas to recuperate.
Ashley’s not the only one with family issues. Brody has a fractured relationship with his father and rarely comes back home. His brother, Sean, works hard at trying to be the peacemaker and maintain a relationship with Brody, who he admires and adores but it isn’t easy. Brody has some deep rooted issues he’s struggling with, one of them being his feelings for Ashley. As for her, she’s been in love with him since he first worked for her family.
What I loved, loved, loved
There are so many layers to the story and the characters! There are family dynamics – Ashley’s with hers, Brody’s with his and Brody’s with the Montgomerys – that complicate Brody’s ability to accept what Ashley wants to offer. His path to personal freedom was tough, maddening at times, but also incredibly interesting and honest. Each character, including Sean and father Ed, becomes three dimensional through Brody’s exploration, giving the story texture and flavor. All of this just makes the relationship that develops between Brody and Ashley much more endearing. She fights hard for him, a reflection of her character and what she brings to the story.
Sean’s romance with Cora, a diner owner who at first was a bit prickly with him, is an added bonus. Theirs is an unlikely relationship that is pretty special. I’ll leave the details to be discovered as I did.
The bottom line
The writing is just superb! The characters are well crafted and the story complex. Don’t let the cover mislead you in thinking this is just another typical romance. It’s a contemporary novel of substance that happens to include romance. You’ll want to take the time to read this one when you can pause and reflect. O’Keefe never makes it easy and I for one think that’s a wonderful thing.
I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!
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