Contains graphic and potentially disturbing descriptions of an assault.
As a child, her parents combined her Christmas and birthday gifts, if and when they remembered to buy gifts at all. She’d learned to keep her expectations low to curb her disappointment after too many childhood hopes and dreams were shot down by a pair of disengaged, free-spirit parents, who Bella had subconsciously emulated—at least, the partying part.
This year’s birthday hit her harder than usual.
Twenty-fucking-six years old.
She’d rather curl up in bed with a box of chocolates and an ugly cry movie than be subjected to a birthday party tonight, especially one orchestrated by her judgmental oldest sister. Every one of her sisters had their act together, was settled down with a wonderful man, and was looking to the future.
Bella, instead, found herself focusing on the past and how little she’d achieved. She was closer to thirty than twenty, and therein lay the crux of the problem and the reason for her current crappy mood.
Bella bounced from interest to interest, never settling on one thing. She had no direction, but that hadn’t been a big deal in her early twenties. Now it was.
She faked a smile and cocked her head, pretending to be captivated by whatever bullshit was being spouted by the young Seattle Sockeyes hockey players who gathered around her, vying for her attention. Normally, she’d be flattered and completely enjoying their efforts.
She sought out Cedric in the crowd, still a little peeved at his disappearing act with the blonde last Saturday night. In fact, as soon as he’d slipped into the VIP room, she’d left alone.
He met her gaze, winked, and headed toward her. Her heart skittered with excitement and her lady parts tingled with anticipation. She fought their insane chemistry with every fiber of her being, as futile as it was. Cedric had always been different—the way he touched her, the way he looked at her as if she were special, the way he made her feel as if she were the only woman who mattered. Maybe he made every woman feel like that, maybe it was part of his allure, his charm, and maybe she was delusional for thinking she meant anything more than a fantastic lay. Cedric had the power to ruin her, crush her heart in his skillful hands, and blast away at her carefully constructed, and completely fabricated, air of confidence.
He was oh, so wrong for her.
I really liked watching Cedric go from a major player to a one-woman man–true, most of it happened before the story’s start, but he still struggled with the idea of it for a lot of the book. I loved how supportive he was of Bella and her ordeal–especially the fact that he knew when to say when about keeping it all a secret from her family. That put him up another dozen or so notches, IMHO.
I liked Bella, but it did frustrate me that it took her so long to officially get help. I began to be afraid that she wouldn’t ever go for it–it takes her more than 90% of the story to get to that point, and I wasn’t crazy about the message that delivers. Actually, I had issues with the last 20% or so of the book–would the police really ask a civilian to do what they apparently ask of Bella? It seemed unlikely, as did her eventual second run-in with her attacker. I would have liked to have seen her resolve her issues in a more traditional, realistic way. The first 80% of the story was solid, though, and the ending was enjoyable, despite my concerns about what happened prior.
If you’re new to the series,Bodychecking works fairly well as a standalone–Bella spends much of the book isolating herself from her family, so we don’t see her sisters as frequently as in previous series books, and not knowing their backstory isn’t as much of an issue. We see Zeke (the estranged third Wolfe brother–Tanner and Issac had their stories in books 5 and 6– Blindsided: Seattle Steelheads Football and Melting Ice: Seattle Sockeyes Hockey ) a little bit more here–he’s briefly Cedric’s neighbor and Bella befriends him–so now I reallywant to get to his story!
Rating: 3 stars / C+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.