A charmingly sweet and sexy story about survival and love.
“These are the sounds of my heart, the sounds of my future and the sounds of my home.”
Hunter Sloan didn’t have to wait to join the police force to know what physical and mental abuse looks like. He was subjected to it as a boy and has been witness to it countless times since becoming a cop. But when he saw the telltale signs on Evangeline, not only did his protective instincts awaken, so did his desire for her. He knows how much she’s suffered and that he’ll need to be careful and patient, however there’s nothing he won’t do to have her.
“There’s a fire in her eyes that I would love to get burned by.”
After too many years of torment at the hands of her almost ex-husband, Evangeline Ambrose is finally free and trying to find herself again. She’s moved to a small town, found a great job in an animal shelter, made a cool girlfriend and is avoiding her ridiculously attractive neighbor who also happens to be the officer that helped get to the women’s shelter at her most dire moment. She doesn’t trust herself when it comes to men any more. Except Hunter’s care and thoughtfulness makes her feel undeniably safe. Can she overcome her fears and learn to trust again in order to give them a shot?
“You are a woman who need protecting. A woman who needs a man to stand up for her instead of stepping on her… I’m the man for the job. I’m the man for the long haul.”
Marquita Valentine writes wonderful characters all around. Hunter, Sloan and all the secondary characters including Jake the dog are likeable and the hero and heroine suit each other perfectly. Marquita also tackles a sensitive but real subject matter making the reader feel and understand the characters without having the drama overshadow the hopeful romance which is pleasantly angst free.
Hunter is absolutely swoon worthy with his combination of nurturing protectiveness and delicious alpha maleness. It was moving to see that he got past the horrors of his own past to become a good man who would take his time for the woman he wants in his life.
Even having suffered terrible physical and mental mistreatment for years, Evangeline is strong in her resolve to take her life back into her hands. Even while struggling with self-doubt, I liked that she hadn’t lost her core goodness, hope or the desire to grow. I wanted her to succeed, however I found it unrealistic that she would overcome the hell she’s gone through without counseling and then I felt that there were things about her past, from before her marriage that got glossed over.
Despite Hunter’s insta-love feelings towards Evangeline their bond progressed slowly but surely building trust based on mutual respect and the knowledge that they’ve both suffered from domestic violence. They’re perfect for one another, the romance was cute, sweet and sexy but somehow I couldn’t fully connect with them, something just didn’t ring true particularly the too quick, a bit too much hearts and flowers ending.
I did feel an instant connection with Sawyer, Hunter and Evangeline’s neighbor. She’s quirky with a love for Star Wars and I can’t wait to read her story together with the intriguing Hayden.
After We Fall is the third book in the Take the Fall series by Marquita Valentine. It is a standalone, full-length, well written contemporary romance with sweet, tender moments, deliciously sexy times and a dash of drama. Told from both points of view, with a happy ending.
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *