Friday, August 28, 2015

Ever After by Rachel Lacey

Olivia Bennett is not having a happy birthday. Instead of blowing out her twenty-nine candles, she's stuck in jail, caught red-handed in a graffiti incident that (perhaps) involved one too many strawberry margaritas. Worst idea ever. The only bright side is that she ended up in the strong arms of the most gorgeous lawman she's ever seen.
Pete Sampson (aka Deputy Hot Stuff) faces intense pressure from the sheriff to find out who's behind a string of vandalisms. And after her spray-painting spree, Olivia is suspect number one. Still, Pete can't stop thinking about her. Wanting her. Now he's torn between his duty and his overpowering desire for the vivacious waitress. But he may have to bend the rules because true love is more important than the letter of the law . . .
Title: Ever After | Series: Love To The Rescue #3 | Author: Rachel Lacey | Publisher: Forever | Release Date: 8/25/2015 | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4

After one too margaritas, Olivia Bennett decides to celebrate her twenty-ninth birthday by spray-painting the side of a chicken processing plant in hopes of bringing awareness to the animal cruelty going on in the plant. However, things go slightly awry when she tumbles from her ladder straight into the arms of the deputy sheriff who is there to arrest her for vandalism.
Although Pete Sampson caught Olivia red-handed, his gut is telling him that the attractive waitress isn’t the one leading a string a vandalisms the sheriff is trying to tie her to. While there is no denying the spark he feels toward Olivia, he’s determined to stay as far away from her as possible because he’s not interesting in a relationship. Yet when Olivia becomes the target of a new string of vandalisms, his protective instincts kick in and he soon finds himself sharing his home with the woman he should be avoiding.
Ever After had it all; humor, heart, heat, charming characters, and a bevy of lovable yet quirky animals that occasionally stole the show.
Olivia was an easy character to like. She’s passionate, headstrong, not afraid to pursue what she wants but she’s also searching for a career that makes her happy. She’s just turned twenty-nine and she still hasn’t discovered what she wants to do with her life and the timeframe to accept her parents offer to pay for her to finish law school is starting to run out. Because she’s deviated from the career plan her parents had for her, she feels like she can’t get anything right, so she’s carrying around a bit of self doubt. There’s also an incident in her past that makes her question whether or not the mind blowing passion she feels for Pete is the right fit for her or just something that she’s diving head first into without thinking.
I was a bit hesitant about this one because Olivia is an animal rights activist. When a character is an activist, occasionally they come off a little bit too pushy for my liking although, with Olivia, thankfully this wasn’t the case. She was passionate about her cause, and I could feel the passion she carried for it, yet it was tastefully done.    
There was so much about Pete that I adored. He takes in a dog that’s flunked his K-9 training, he bakes muffins for the women’s shelter, and rescues kittens for the woman he’s just arrested. I mean, what’s not to love about him? He’s pretty much a good guy from top to bottom and has definitely made my list of lovable heroes.
Pete’s also a bit damaged. He’s carrying around a ton of guilt about an event he believes is his fault. It’s wrecked his marriage and has left him sort of emotionally capped off. He’s had a few one-night stands and he’s completely fine with not going down the happily ever after road again. Then Olivia literally falls into his arms and there’s no denying that he’s feeling something for her but he’s going to his best to fight it off because she’s a criminal and he’s trying to make detective.
The chemistry between Olivia and Pete was outstanding. There was so much sexual tension between the two of them you could cut it with a knife. I also enjoyed the conflict between them. Not only could you see external conflict come into play, but the internal conflict was there as well.
There’s a tiny bit of suspense thrown in the mix in the form of someone vandalizing Olivia’s car and home. I really enjoyed watching this play out and how it brought Pete and Olivia closer together.
This was my first time reading this series and even though it’s the third book in Rachel Lacey’s Love To The Rescue series, the book worked brilliantly as a standalone. All the pertinent information was provided without feeling like an info dump or bogging down the flow.
While I enjoyed Ever After, I did have a few problems with it. Pete’s divorce was a topic that came up a lot in the narrative and the failure of his marriage was one of the reasons he felt he couldn’t be with Olivia yet the topic wasn’t actually brought up with Olivia.  Also, the absolution of Pete’s guilt felt a bit abrupt, as though they needed to hurry up and deal with it because the book was coming to an end and they needed everything to be tied up in a nice little bow.
Overall, I enjoyed Ever After. There were a few problems but the book hooked me and I could not put it down. I will be looking forward to reading the first two books in this series.

Love Comes To The Rescue Series
2-For Keeps
3-Ever After

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