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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: The Look Of Love by Bella Andre

Title: The Look Of Love
Series: The Sullivans, Book 1
Author: Bella Andre
Published: First published 2011, re-released 2013 by Harlequin MIRA
Format: Print copy provided by Media Muscle

Sometimes one look is all it takes

Chloe Peterson has vowed never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Her reasons are as vivid as the bruises on her cheek. So when her car skids off a wet country road straight into a ditch, she's convinced the gorgeous guy who rescues her must be too good to be true.

As a successful international photographer, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women. He's satisfied with his life; until he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley.

With every loving look; and every sinfully sweet caress; the attraction between them sizzles, and Chloe can't help but wonder if she's met the man who may be the exception to her rule

Ok, I’m guilty. I sometimes prejudge books based on their covers. On this book, I saw this cover and I thought it would be a sweethearted contemporary romance. I really enjoy the darker reads that can take you to a place a bit… well, darker. I was a bit concerned before I began reading this that it wouldn’t pique my interests as much as I’d like. I’ve heard of Bella Andre, and I know she gets fabulous reviews, but I was still concerned.

So what was my experience with The Look of Love? I read this dang book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. Yeah, no need to worry about heat, sensuality, plot, excitement or drama. The Look Of Love had it all. Bella Andre absolutely deserves all of the wonderful accolades she receives, and I am an instant and eager fan. Her ability to put me into the story, to make me feel like I was there was excellent, and everything just flowed together flawlessly.

The Look Of Love is the story of Chase and Chloe. Chase is a photographer from a large family, the Sullivans. They have success and good looks locked down, and that includes Chase. He’s currently on his way to his brother’s winery after a family party when he sees this woman on the side of the road, in a rainstorm. Chase, meet Chloe.

Chloe is a bit distraught. Her dramatic past came knocking on her door, and she took off like a bat out of hell. But when it’s dark and stormy, and you are on the winding roads in Napa Valley, you should watch where you are going, lest you find yourself on the side of the road – walking.

I really enjoyed both of these characters on their own. We got to see the story from both of their points of view, so I definitely felt like I was getting everything I needed in order to root for them fully as a couple. But when they get together, sparks fly. Chase has been raised well by his momma, he treats women well. Even when his body is telling him he wants to ravage Chloe and make her moan his name, his head wins out and makes him a gentleman. Well, for the most part haha! There is a funny situation that takes place in a bathroom that definitely will have you doing the Cheshire grin. Chase is patient, patient in a way that makes you yearn for him – and he delivers in such delicious ways. He’s a good man, through and through. Chase is the type of hero that makes me wonder if there even needs to be more books in the series, after the first one. How can this author possibly top him?

As for Chloe, I think she gave the whole thing of “not falling for Chase Sullivan” a valiant effort. But her heart was a goner long before she even realized it was a possibility. I really liked her character; she had a strong need to be independent and to take care of herself that I really admired. But there were times I had a love/un-love relationship with her. When she would let go and stop thinking so much, everything was great. But her inner monologue can tend to be one of doubts and fears, and sometimes I just wanted to take her aside and say, “hey, you’ve got a chance in a million here – stop overthinking!” Chase has to bust down her walls – and fast. Every bit he breaks, she shores back up.

This book had some seriously sexy moments between the two of them. Whenever they were around each other you could practically feel the sexual tension crackle. But even aside from that, there is a great story. Chase has always been a playboy, and Chloe has an abusive past. The winery makes the perfect backdrop for a couple of strangers to fall in love. Every sunny morning they woke up there, I wanted to inhale a big breath of morning fresh grape scented air. Bella Andre’s world building is top notch.

So this book is definitely on my “hey, why don’t you read this book!” if someone were to ask me. Next month I have the next book in the series, From This Moment On. That one is Chase’s brother’s story, Marcus. Marcus is the oldest of the siblings, and I think his world is about to be rocked. Yep, I definitely can’t wait to dig in to that one!

Follow Bella Andre Online

Having sold more than 1.5 million books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre’s novels have appeared on Top 5 lists at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s Sullivan series will be released in paperback in a major global English language launch in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia in continuous back-to-back releases from June 2013 through April 2014.

Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine ”Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into nine languages, and her Sullivan books are already Top 20 bestsellers in Brazil. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her “One of the top digital writers in America” and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently in TIME Magazine. She has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America in 2012 on her self-publishing success.

If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.