Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: Second to None by Ryannon Byrd -- A Novella

For eight long years, Jason Hawkes had bided his time, waiting for the chance to snare Remy Frost for his own. When fate finally delivers a panting, wide-eyed Remy right into his arms, he intends to never let her go. His objective: to convince the wary redhead that he wants her forever. And lucky for Remy, this ex-soldier is ready to play "down and dirty" to get what he wants.

The fact that this story is a novella could be off-putting for some, but I have been reading a number of them recently, many from Ellora's Cave Publications, and this is true to their genre in that it is a sizzle, sizzle, sizzle kind of story.

Remy was only 19 years old when Jason Hawkes first entered her life. Jason was best friends with Remy's brother, Connor, and was several years into his military career. As a Special Ops, undercover kind of soldier, he was out of contact with his family and friends for long periods and therefore felt that in spite of his deep reaction and, actually almost instant love, for Remy, he was not free to begin a relationship with her or to encourage her attraction to him. After one blistering kiss, he literally walked out of her life, with no further contact for a year.

Remy was shattered by this treatment which appeared to be the premier "brush-off" and in the few encounters they had in the next eight years, Jason's apparent disinterest convinced her that her hope for any future between them was unrealistic.

Now, Jason and Connor have completed their military service and are running a security business. For ten months Jason has been trying to re-ignite the almost still-born contact between him and Remy, but she has successfully stymied his efforts and avoided nearly every opportunity for encounter. Until . . . her car breaks down near the bar where she knows her brother hangs out, and she has to run to find him, late at night, in a part of town that is not necessarily where a single woman wants to be found alone. As she races into the bar, she literally crashes into Jason Hawkes who is built like the side of a brick silo, and as he keeps her from falling by wrapping his arms completely around her small frame, he literally refuses to let her go until somehow they talk, yell, bicker, angrily exchange feelings and words so they can get past the huge divide that has grown up between them.

This is a simple plot and not many characters. But the author is very good at what she does and she writes a story that is not only engaging in the telling, but I think she has managed an emotional hook as well. Somehow you begin to feel that Jason is a man who tried to do the right thing and yet it just didn't turn out the way he hoped. He knows it is time now to make his move -- he is now a civilian and ready to settle down, and Remy is finished with her college and has developed a business of her own as a graphic artist. Yet the hurt and the anger stand between them and as you proceed through this story, one cannot help but begin routing for these two -- that somehow they can get through all the fears and frustrations.

I found this to be a fun read and one that was thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of skin and stuff -- of course -- but there is love here and genuine hoping for the kind of bonding that keeps two people not only in love but loving their lives together. Jason is an alpha male to the core, but he is not afraid to be vulnerable if it means that Remy can accept his love and his need for her in his life on a "forever" basis. Remy is a go-getter, but she is a woman who, though she has tried to move on with her life, has never found a way to expunge Jason from her heart. Is this not the quintessential love story? I think so, and I think it the reason that such a simple plot works. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.


Cecile Smutty Hussy said...

This sounds like a delicious kinda read!! Thanks for showcasing this one. You are right... novella's might put some off... but they are great little stories for when you just want something quick!
Hope all is well!!

Dr J said...

Thanks Cecile, and as always I am very appreciative of your comments. This truly is one of my favorites -- I like Jason so much--a man who has seen the worst of the world but is willing to do whatever it takes to claim the woman who has steadied and balanced him through eight years of military service. Just a great read!! Thanks for stopping by . . .