Title: His Rebel Heart
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin (Superromance)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Being a single mother and successful florist is tough, especially when your new next-door neighbor is the man who shattered your heart. Eight years ago, bad boy James Bracken walked away from Adrian Carlton…and their unborn child. Now he’s back. And Adrian’s desire to protect her son from the truth of his biological father isn’t enough to hide the wild blue eyes of father and son, or to keep Adrian from surrendering to the raw passion between her and James. But is he truly the changed man he claims to be? Maybe this time his rebel heart really is home to stay.
“I need you to go.”
“We’ll be fine,” Adrian told him firmly. “I just need some peace and quiet so I can—”
“I can’t leave you alone,” James told her. “Either of you. Not now that I know what you’ve been through.”
“We’ll be fine,” she said again. “I’ll keep Kyle’s BB gun close.” She paused, wrestling over the next words. “And…and you can come by tomorrow morning. For breakfast, if you want.”
James looked at her, his eyes skimming between hers, then over her cheeks, the line of her jaw. “I don’t want you to be alone,” he murmured.
She sighed. “James, I have been alone, for a really long time.” You made sure of that, she added silently. When you left me. The resentment and anger that were usually brought to life by the words didn’t stir. Tired. God, she was so tired.
“Adrian, I’m so sorry,” he said again. When he drew her into his arms, she was helpless to stop him. She had nothing left to fight him with so she closed her eyes as the chest she had fantasized about burrowing herself against moments before rose up to meet her. She felt his lips come to rest on the top of her head. His arms wrapped around her back, closing her in, tightening.
He held her, simply held her, for what seemed like ages. Long enough for the tension to drain from her body. Long enough for her to lean into the hard, strong line of him without scruples, to breathe in the work shirt permeated with the sweet scent of grass and the slight tinge of motor oil. At some point, her arms rose to his waist, folding around to the small of his back to complete the embrace.
A small eternity passed in the space of moments. A hundred unspoken words. Memories stirred, whispering to life, ghosts of what had been.
He moved first, just enough to move one hand up to the nape of her neck. He made a noise in the back of his throat, drawing her attention upward. When his lips touched hers, it felt so natural for her mouth to receive the firm, yielding line of his.
Minutes before, she’d felt drained. Fatigued. The simple press of his lips brought her back to life. Her heart fluttered, lifting and soaring in a way she hadn’t felt since…well, since being with James.
She should have pushed him away. After everything, she should shove him back, make him leave. Instead, she let the moment stretch, slide, deepen until she felt him brush up against the soul she’d buried from everything and everyone.
His Rebel Heart is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Williams. It’s not listed as part of a series, but it does share a lot of the same characters with Married One Night …and, as it turns out, some similar characteristics as well.
Namely a highly sympathetic hero and a heroine who has a tendency to go overboard on the “I’m not going to trust him or give him a chance” sentiment. As in, way overboard–to the point of frustration. Yes, James left Adrian eight years ago…at ageseventeen. Yes, he made some bad choices along the way–very bad choices–but the years have passed, and he’s trying to make amends. And it’s an uphill battle, because Adrian’s fighting him on it every step of the way.
She becomes more sympathetic as the story progresses–as we see her mother more, for example, and when we hear the eventual explanation for why she’s so harsh towards Adrian–but still, her rigid attitude and high-handedness is tough to take at times. When she’s so adamant in the beginning that James have nothing to do with the son he never knew he had it’s especially maddening.
She eventually loosens up, and we have a believable–and much deserved, for James especially–HEA. Plus Kyle’s a really sweet kid who both parents obviously do everything they can to give a happy life. Overall I did enjoy reading this one, even if I wanted to give the heroine a swift shake more than once along the way.
(I’m kind of glad I haven’t read Cole’s book, though. He acts like a real jerk for 95% of the book, and I think it would have tainted my memory of it more than a little.)
His Rebel Heart is a standalone novel–though other novels’ characters play a part, nothing in this one depends on knowledge of events from any of the other books.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
For More Information:
- His Rebel Heart is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she lives for beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband and two children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones and two large dogs she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by D4EO Literary Agency.
Her latest book is the contemporary romance, His Rebel Heart.
For More Information