When an avalanche crushes her world, Olympic hopeful Starr Taylor loses her job, her boyfriend, and worst of all, her confidence. She’s working on getting her life back together and moving forward, and it certainly won’t be with Spencer Kensington, the far-too-attractive playboy lawyer she’s forced to play nice with at their friends’ wedding. Unfortunately, Spencer’s trip to Reno gets extended unexpectedly, and Starr suddenly finds herself way too close for comfort with the man she’s quickly realizing is more than he appears.
Spencer is a tough, no-nonsense New York businessman with a no-commitment rule in the bedroom. But a few days of living with Starr, feeding goats and helping her save troubled teens, has him feeling something he can’t identify. In fact, the more Spencer gets to know the surprisingly vulnerable and tempting woman, the duller his superficial life in the city starts to seem. But everything he’s worked for is waiting for him, and as Spencer’s flight back home grows closer, he’s left wondering if the life he has is really the life he wants.
He walked to the edge of the porch and looked up at the sky, dotted with stars of different sizes and brightness. Now this was a view he didn’t have back home, not with all the lights. It was peaceful, relaxing. That welcoming feeling that made you think you might fit in. Could he fit into a place like this? More than likely, he’d be bored within a month, no, a week. Still, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so at peace. Not even in Aruba last Christmas, alone.
Starr cleared her throat. “So how do you think it will go tomorrow for Matt? Mrs. Millard confirmed what I thought, that it’s his first time.”
First time caught. Spencer’s thoughts drifted back to his first time in court—and in juvie. It wasn’t a wallet he’d stolen, it was a baseball glove. An initiation into a group of friends he thought he couldn’t live without. “Matt’s charges will be read in front of the court, and then the judge will set his formal court date.”
“It seems a whole lot scarier than it really is, especially the first time.” He’d survived his first run-in with the law just fine and totally unrepentant. It was the second that screwed him—and saved him.
“Sounds like you’re talking from experience again.”
He turned around, rested against the railing, and focused on Starr’s silhouette nestled into the swing.
“Do you…have experience?” Her tone was laced with curiosity. It beckoned him, made him want to follow.
He opened his mouth to respond and then clamped it shut, thankful the darkness hid the confounded expression he knew he was sporting. What was it about her that made him want to drop his guard and say things he’d never otherwise say?
Get your head back in the game, man.
“I’m experienced in all kinds of things that would interest you.” He softened his voice, infusing it with just enough arrogance to make good on that promise.
She stood up, ready to walk away, no doubt. A good thing, really. She wasn’t his type.
But then she moved toward him. Had she changed her mind, about him? Had he misjudged her? The smell of lilacs wafted through the air as she approached, intensifying the need to reach out and touch her, though he didn’t. Not yet. She wasn’t like any woman he’d known before. He needed to let her drive this…this, whatever was starting between them. Patience, he reminded himself. Lots of it.
She stopped just inches away. Close enough for him to see some hope, or maybe it was curiosity, in her eyes. Close enough for him to feel her breath on his shoulder. Warm, and was it ragged? Or was that his? She licked her lips, and his eyes were mesmerized by the motion. He could barely tap down the need to taste them, feel his lips on hers.
“What do you want?” He needed her to be sure.
“I can have anything?” she whispered.
His breathing hitched. “Name it.” They had two nights—two long nights. More than enough time to experience all kinds of interesting things, if that’s what she wanted.
No Heartbreaker Required is a sweet, feel-good romance. Spencer and Starr start out as not quite enemies but definitely not total fans of each other, and the back and forth between them for the first half of the book really move the book along. I also enjoyed seeing JJ (Starr’s nephew by marriage) again and visiting Noah’s ranch (the setting of the first book in the series).
The second half of the book wasn’t quite as tight as the first–things take some complicated turns, and I wasn’t always a fan of the choices and reactions either Starr or Spencer made and had. Still, the ending was satisfying and left me with a warm glow.
Though the second in the series, No Heartbreaker Requiredshould also work just fine as a standalone–the details that it’s helpful to know from book one (background details, really) are given to you here. Chances are, though, that you’ll get just enough of a glimpse of Noah and Grace (and JJ) to want to make you go back to book one if you haven’t read it already.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
JoAnn Sky has written for years as part of her job (business and marketing plans and the like). One day she tried her hand at writing for fun—and liked it. Now she authors adult contemporary romance and young adult romance with a magical twist as well as children’s books.
She is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist and a member of Romance Writers of America and its YARWA and Golden Network chapters. Originally from the Midwest, JoAnn currently lives in northern Nevada with her husband a.k.a. love of her life, three teenage children, and three crazy rescue dogs. No Cowboy Required is her debut novel.a Rafflecopter giveaway