This is actually a review I wrote last January, but never ended up posting on the blog. In posting it now, I’m wrapping up number 64 on my 101 in 1001 list: Write 5 book reviews and post them on the blog. Rereading this review reminded me that this book needs to be on my “TBA Again” list – it was a good one.
Seasoned social worker Kayla Brooks has dealt with her fair share of difficult situations, but nothing could have prepared her for the likes of Dean Wyatt, head of Wyatt House Group Home for Boys. When a case unexpectedly brings Kayla to his door in the middle of the night, sparks fly.
Until he turns out to be an asshole.
Dean Wyatt has always kept those around him at arm’s length. Secrets lurk beneath his tattoos—a traumatic past known to very few.
Forced to work together in order to help two vulnerable boys, Kayla slowly penetrates Dean’s tough exterior. Along the way the two discover something they’ve each been missing—but only time will tell if they can overcome the painful past that’s kept anyone from bringing true happiness into Dean’s world.
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was a bit different than most of the stuff I’ve been reading lately, and it was really refreshing. I’ve decided I need way more romance stories like this one in my life.
Kayla is a social worker who deals with foster kids. Dean runs a group home for boys. When Kayla needs to find a new place for brothers Matty and Logan to stay (after Logan gets in a fight), she calls Wyatt House, a group home she’s never dealt with before. When she arrives to drop the brothers off, she meets Dean – the physical attraction is instant, but he’s less than charming.
But with Matty and Logan now living at Wyatt House, Kayla and Dean cross paths again and again. Dean’s got a pretty heavy past though, and it makes it tough for him to build new relationships. The attraction grows, despite the many, many obstacles they face – from their own personal demons as well as outside forces.
The author hit it out of the park with the characters in this book. Both Kayla and Dean are well developed characters that you can’t help but love. They aren’t perfect, but their flaws made them real and relatable. The supporting characters are equally as well done – and there were a lot of them. Besides Matty and Logan, who play a large role throughout the book, we meet Dean’s family and several people from his past, Kayla’s co-workers, family and sister, and several boys from Wyatt House. Despite the large cast of characters, I felt like they all had their own identities and place in the story. There were some excellent story lines revolving around the supporting characters, that instead of distracting from Dean and Kayla’s story, really added to the overall book. Not only that, but we got nice closure for all of these characters in the epilogues.
This story touched on some heavy issues. The foster system played a big part in the book, and we saw a lot of the heartbreaking issues that some of those kids deal with every day, from both the kid’s perspectives and the social worker’s perspectives. Dean’s past is pretty horrific, and the issues that he’s dealing with – including anxiety and some well-founded fears – play a big part in his growing relationship with Kayla. Kayla’s past isn’t perfect either, and she is also thrown a few big curve balls throughout the story.
But they deal, and they grow, and the entire story comes together well without the sense that the author is just throwing too much crap at her characters. There’s also some awkward moments, but that also helped to make the story more real for me.
My only (tiny) complaint is that I could have done without much of the 3rd quarter of the book. It got a bit long, and meandered for a bit before getting back on track. It wasn’t bad, it just…wandered a bit.
Overall though, this book was fantastic. It was a romance with a very strong storyline and strong characters, and I’m sure it’s one I will reread in the future. I recommend it for sure!