Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter

The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter
published by Harlequin Kiss in February 2013
"The man who's always left her wanting more!"

Good job? "Tick." Newly purchased apartment? "Tick." Evie's life is on a pretty even keel at the moment. The only thing missing? A man with an edge to keep things interesting.

Enter Logan Black. Tortured, distant and sexy, Logan has edge written all over him. He's also the man who tipped Evie "over" the edge a few years back - she gave him everything, but he didn't know when to stop taking.

Leaving Logan was the hardest thing Evie's ever done. Until now. Because Logan's back, the chemistry is as blistering as ever and this time he's not going anywhere....
Genre: Category romance, contemporary romance
Series: None

The Story: If you've read reviews for The One That Got Away, then you probably already heard about how the cover is misleading. Contrarily to what the cover projects, The One That Got Away is not a happy-go-lucky, fun or fluffy story; instead, it is dark and intense. Hopefully, my summary will give you a better idea of what you're getting into :)

Ten years ago, Evangeline Jones and Logan Black had a week-long affair in London. Back then, Evie was only 19 years old and very malleable which suited Logan's dominant personality just fine. However, after one of their bed games went wrong and resulted in Evie being injured, Logan called it quits and disappeared from Evie's life.

Now a successful engineer, Evie and her business partner, Max Carmichael, are about to bid for their biggest project. However, in order for everything to go smoothly, Max needs to have access to his trust fund which will only happen when a) he turns 30 or b) he gets married. Therefore, Max and Evie are planning on a marriage of convenience... But the last person Evie expected to meet when Max introduces her to his family is Logan who turns out to be Max' half-brother.

Very quickly, Evie and Logan realize that their chemistry is still present and as sizzling as ever. But losing control all those years ago has scared Logan... and he knows that there's no way he can lead a normal life if Evie becomes his sister-in-law; therefore, he wants her gone. However, Evie has grown into a strong and confident woman. This time around, she won't let him call all the shots. What she wants is to explore their chemistry and see where it will lead.

My Opinion: It's funny because when you pick up a book, you can never tell whether or not you'll connect with it. If it's an author that you enjoy, chances are higher that you will... but there's still the possibility this will be the exception, the miss. Quite frankly, I didn't have high expectations when I started The One That Got Away, mainly because the last book of hers that I've read, Cracking the Dating Code, while enjoyable, was far from a wowzer. However, as soon as I started The One That Got Away, it immediately grabbed me and I could not put it down... so it doesn't come as a surprise that I ended up loving the book, right? :)

So what was it about The One That Got Away that got me hooked? The intensity. It was the intensity of what Logan and Evie were feeling for each other, almost like an obsession. In the beginning of the story, it made the sexual tension between them palpable and also just enhanced their chemistry. I'm aware that this intensity is not for everyone, but for me, it really worked :) Also, I thought it fit well with the storyline. It made it believable for me that after 10 years, they haven't forgotten and still craved each other.

Aside from the intensity, what did I enjoy? Well , pretty much everything LOL. I liked Logan and Evie's characters. Part of the intensity comes from Logan's personality in my opinion. He's very focus, determined and can be ruthless. He also has a lot of baggage which has pretty much molded his life, but he's aware of it and I was glad for that awareness.  In retrospective, he reminds me a lot of Jayne Ann Krentz and Linda Howard's businessman heroes, but with a lessen jerk factor LOL. He's really the kind of heroes I enjoy reading about in contemporary romance. In real life, I think he'd be a bit too much, but in fiction, just perfect. As for Evie, I really liked her as well. I loved how she stood her ground with Logan. She has definitively matured into a strong and confident woman since her affair with Logan and she did not hesitate to let him know which is exactly what Logan needed. Something else that I really liked about Evie was her patience with Logan when it came to their relationship. She gave him space and was understanding... and perhaps at times, too understanding and forgiving, but in the end, I think it was the perfect way to deal with Logan. Between, something else I enjoyed about Evie and Logan's relationship aside from the intensity was the communication and honesty. I feel Evie and Logan communicated more than in most contemporary romances I've read. Oh they didn't tell each other everything, but it was still more than most couple and there was no misunderstanding between them which I really appreciated.

As for the storyline, once again, it worked for me. I liked that Ms Hunter didn't drag on the false engagement  too long. I liked how it was resolved, because really, it was obvious that Max and Evie could not get married. I also really liked Max as a secondary character. He was a great friend to Evie and had her back. His romance was very surprising, but refreshing as well :) By the way, this reminds me that I need to credit Ms Hunter for the risk she took in The One That Got Away with the dominant/submissive affair Evie and Logan had 10 years ago. This topic is not very common in category romance, but seriously, I think the risk really paid of for Ms Hunter because it set The One That Got Away apart and that's a good thing in a genre that is full of stereotypes.

Of course, The One That Got Away was not perfect... but I thought the flaws were minor. I think what was most disappointing was the climax of the book. Almost all of the book was a build-up to it, but in the end, the climax was very short and seemed to have little impact. I think Ms Hunter could have expanded a little bit... but at the end, I'm still very happy with the book.

My Grade: A-. I really loved The One That Got Away, it just hit me in the right spots :) It might still be early in the year, but it's safe for me to predict that this book will be my favorite category romance read of the 2013 :)