Reading a book by Kat and Stone Bastion is like eating one of the best meals of your life. It has the perfect flow from its appetizing beginning, its emotionally hearty entrées, to its deliciously sweet end.
“All I’m saying is, don’t fight it. Don’t be afraid of us. If we are meant to happen…just let it.”
Once burned by love, the only flame artist Kiki Michaelson allows close is the one she uses to forge her sculptures with. She keeps guys at a safe distance by only allowing one night stands until Darren Cole refuses her proposal and instead offers to be just friends. But while trying to outmaneuver him she lets down her guard and him inside, completely changing the game. Can she be brave enough to risk her heart or will she try to keep him in the friend zone?
“He wanted to be bossy? He wanted to pound the point of being “just friends” home? I would be the best friend he’d ever had. Of course, while I demonstrated my stellar friendliness, no harm in highlighting my best qualities: flirtatiousness, adorableness—sexiness.”
Often mistaken for the quintessential Heartbreaker, Darren Cole loves music and wants nothing more than to make it big as a drummer, it would make his life so much easier. His life is too complicated though, and bringing a woman into it is simply not an option until the lure of sassy, sweet Kiki Michaelson becomes impossible to ignore. Unwilling to reveal his secrets and lose the tenuous control he has over his life but also reluctant to let her go, he gives into a cautious friendship and the pretense of training her. But the more time he spends with her on and off running trails, the more he realizes she’s exactly what he needs. Can he convince her to take a chance on them?
“Kiki didn’t know it yet, but if she wanted to run from me? I would chase.”
After reading the author’s note and knowing they have a musical background, I wonder what a song by this couple would sound like. Just like describing their books, words like delicious, enthralling, captivating, powerful and emotional come to mind. Even the titles for each chapter are both great and telling and could easily be song titles. But until them, I’ll plug the awesome Drag Rhythm Songs they’ve provided as a soundtrack and focus on their current book release.
As with their previous books, Heartbreaker has an alluring pace with its lyrical narrative, vivid depictions and sensuality that highlights the touching plotline about two reluctant kindred spirits that didn’t realize they were missing from each other’s lives and even fought against it.
“With the supercharged air—that wasn’t really the air—a spark ignited. White hot and glowing. Even if neither of us could see it, in spite of the fact that we didn’t want to admit it, we both felt it.
Every single character in the story was endearing. I loved having Cade and Hannah (from the No Wedding series) back and continuing their happy life together. Also, the rest of Kiki’s siblings and extended family who are incredibly loving and supportive add a great layer to the story, and even more so Logan who’s plight is sad, touching and real and made my heart ache.
“The best gift we can give those we love is ourselves—whole and happy. We have to let them breathe, let them live and make mistakes. And we need to live too. We owe it to ourselves and to them.”
Of course, the main plot centers on Kiki and Darren. I really liked Kiki with her strong independent, yet sweet vulnerable core. I loved how understanding and giving she was, how she wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to Darren. And Darren doesn’t just have sex-on-a-stick good looks, he’s equally wonderful on the inside, putting with passion his family’s wellbeing first.
“Darren? Definitely delicious—delectable…decadent. Darren got all the best D words.”
The slow burn buildup between Darren and Kiki was enjoyably tempting and sultry while gradually revealing bits of each other. It was so fun to see Darren and Kiki try but fail miserably at being friends. Even if they could have ignored the snap, crackle and pop attraction, the bond between them only kept getting stronger with each text, run and interaction that peeled away a layer at a time until there was nothing else to do but take a leap of faith together and revel in the delicious rightness of their relationship.
“Something seemed to be happening between us, this thick unnamable thing growing more intimate with every heartbeat.”
Kat and Stone Bastion are wonderful story tellers, giving us a gripping romance with skillfully knit in drama and emotional depth. Heartbreaker is a standalone full length contemporary romance told from alternating points of view with a happy ending.
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the authors. The excerpts are from that copy. *