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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review: The Valentine's Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich

Title: The Valentine's Arrangement
Series: Hard Feelings #1
Author: Kelsie Leverich
Published: First Signet Eclipse Printing - January 2014
Format: Print copy provided for review - Thank you Penguin!

Tattoo artist Ronnie Clark is counting the days until Valentine’s Day is over. Ronnie doesn’t do romance. She doesn’t do flowers or dates, and she sure as hell doesn’t do love—not anymore. Love leads to heartbreak, and she’s vowed never to let herself get hurt again.

Sergeant First Class Kale Emerson is home on his mid-tour leave from Iraq, but he only has one thing on his mind—returning to his soldiers to finish leading their mission. He’s dedicated to his men and to his country, and he’s not interested in getting wrapped up in a distracting relationship…but casual sex, that’s a different story. From the moment he sees Ronnie, he wants her. And he agrees to her terms—no romance, no fluff—just passion.

But as their sexual chemistry ignites, the lines of their arrangement get blurry, and Ronnie starts to push Kale away. And when Kale realizes he’s found his match in this razor-tongued, gorgeous woman who is hell bent against love, winning her heart could be the toughest battle he has ever fought.

“… It was never worth it until you…”

Sometimes love smacks you out of nowhere. The Valentine’s Arrangement was a terrific book, and it made me an instant fan of Kelsie Leverich.

Ronnie is a tattoo artist. She has a tough as nails exterior, and that’s on a good day. She’s been burned by love in a big way. Her ex is a soldier and that something to do with the said-burning, so she really wants nothing to do with soldiers in general. I really enjoyed Ronnie’s character. She was strong and independent, and you just knew something was going to come along and knock her right out of her comfort zone. The woman has style, and she’s badass. Tattoos and killer heels, she’s a knockout.

And the person to knock her out of that comfort zone is Kale, and he’s a sergeant. Kale is home on R&R and he is getting a memorial tattoo of the men lost while at war. I really love Kale. He is a man with honor, like his honor consumes him practically. Sure, he likes to goof around and have fun – but his men come first. He wouldn’t even take his own R&R until they’ve all had a shot to be home for the holidays with their families. Actions like this speak volumes about his character. And when Ronnie starts to give him his tattoo, it’s like there is an imaginary person in the corner yelling “Game on!”

Ronnie pulled the heavy door open, her sweater covering her hand as she gripped the cold handle. The warm air of the shop stung her cheeks when she stepped inside. The moment the door shut behind her she was slammed against it, her back straightening against the pressure. Instantly a pair of hands gripped her waist, and at the same time, a pair of lips closed in on hers. Ronnie didn’t have a second to process the chain of events that was taking place before her mind went into a dull fuzz as the blood left her brain and flowed quickly throughout her body, sending every nerve ending into a crazed sensation of complete pleasure.

Her eyes automatically closed, and her owns hand reciprocated the touch and skimmed up the heavy bare chest that was pressing against her. She felt a shudder unfold beneath her fingertips, and it made her heart thud against her ribs. Kale was kissing her. No, he wasn’t just kissing her, he was consuming her.

These two are a perfect match. I mean, sure, she wants nothing to do with him and won’t give him the time of day at first, but that is the fun of it. He’s persistent, and she’s not falling for his lines. And when things heat up with these two, it’s no holds barred. And before you know it, they are falling for each other. But when you have two such strong personalities fighting for the title of Alpha, you know that it’s going to be fun to watch. The added fun comes in the form of Valentine's Day and all the additional drama that holiday can bring to life!

I found Kelsie Leverich’s writing to be fast paced and easy to follow. I read this book fairly quickly; I couldn’t wait for each opportunity to pick it up again. There’s great intensity to Kale and Ronnie, both alone and together. And the military aspect was terrific. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a sexy romance. There are moments that really tug at your heart strings, and make you hold your breath in a moment of “oh no!” Definitely an enjoyable read!