Pause, an all new emotional friends-to-lovers romance from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott is available now!
An unpauseable new romance from New York Times bestselling, Audie Award winning author Kylie Scott!
When Anna wakes up from a coma after a car crash, she discovers life has gone on without her. Her husband has been unfaithful—with her best friend—and she’s been long since replaced at work. While her old life is a distant memory, her new life feels like an empty shell. Then she meets the stranger who saved her life during the crash, and he changes everything.
Leif Larsen—tattooist, joker, and player—has his own scars thanks to the crash that put Anna in a coma. Helping her move on from her failed marriage, and create a new life, sounds like a perfect distraction. So when he needs a new roommate, he invites Anna to begin her new life with him.
Although their lives may have been put on pause, together they just might find a way to heal.
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Leif Larsen lives in a big old brown brick building with a sprawling dogwood out front in a cool urban neighborhood. No one answers when I press the buzzer. But according to the details on the scrap of paper the nurse gave me, I’ve got the right place.
What to do?
The rational response would be to give up and go home. Because hiding out in my childhood bedroom has worked out great so far (and this would be sarcasm). It’s been months since I left the house for anything other than a medical appointment. Weeks since I’ve heard from any friends. Right on cue, my cell buzzes inside my tan Coach purse. I don’t bother to look. Mom requests proof of life every hour on the hour. Not even dinner at the country club can distract her, apparently. Her parental concern for me is well past claustrophobic.
My hand clenches the iron railing against a gust of unseasonably warm evening wind. It’s been a while since I stopped using a mobility aid, but things can still feel tricky. The whole damn world does, if I’m being honest. So many things I took for granted have now been turned upside down.
This is the problem with living the supposed dream. With having an airtight plan for your life. Meet Prince Charming and marry him. Find the perfect job. Only problem is, if something goes wrong, when reality smacks you upside the head and sends you reeling, then there’s no system for putting the pieces back together. There’s no Plan B because it never occurred to you that you’d need one. A lack of imagination on my part, perhaps.
A motorcycle pulls up to the curb and it’s like everything happens in slow motion. Something about this long, lean man just makes time want to stand still. A denim-clad leg is swung over the back of the iron beast. A helmet is removed and shoulder-length hair tumbles free. High cheekbones and perfect lips are framed by stubble and all I can do is stare.
I don’t know if I’m intimidated or turned on or what.
“Can I help y . . .” he begins. There’s the faintest spark of recognition in his eyes.
I continue to stand there frozen.
“Fuck me,” he mutters, stalking closer. His gaze slides over me from top to toe, lingering on the small scars on my left cheek from the glass. There’s no attempt made to hide his curiosity. “It’s really you.”
Nichelle the nurse described him as being a nice young man. Nothing more. Certainly nothing that would prepare me for this. And I dispute “nice.” Ripped denim, battered leather, and a Harley-Davidson motorbike are not nice.
“Never seen you conscious before,” he says, getting even closer.
I just blink.
From beneath the collar and cuffs of his leather jacket emerge colorful tattoos. Lots of them. Blue waves and black letters. Red flames and white flowers. The man is a walking, talking piece of art. My parents would be horrified. Ryan too, for that matter. Not that any of their opinions matter. I need to forge my own path. Go my own way.
“How did you find me?” he asks with a faint frown.
“Oh. Ah.” I smooth down the front of my pale blue midi-length linen summer dress. My dark hair is slicked back in a low ponytail and my makeup is simple but perfect. It’s nice having some things I can control. “One of the nurses from the ICU told me about you and I wanted to come say thank you. But maybe an apology would be more in order?”
For a moment he pauses, then he asks, “Do you want to come in?”
Good question. The fact is, I don’t know. Nor do I know how to do this. Something made obvious when my mouth opens, but nothing comes out. So much nothing for such a length of time that it’s beyond embarrassing. Dammit. Whatever it is I came here looking for, it wasn’t this. Him. Whatever.
“We’ve never properly met, have we?” He holds out his big hand. “Hi, I’m Leif.”
While I’m tentative, he shows no such reserve. Strong, warm fingers enfold my own stiff and cold ones. There’s no attempt at a dominating handshake or groping. He gives my hand a squeeze, just the one gentle squeeze, before setting me free.
“I’d say it’s nice to meet you, but that would be weird.” He grins conspiratorially and oh my God. Everything low in my stomach wakes up and takes notice. Shame on my lady parts, but the chemical pull of the man is ridiculous. It takes me a minute to remember that I’m a married woman. Mostly. Well, somewhat anyway. I certainly have no business smiling at him like I am. My life is messed up enough without adding a crush. Perhaps it’s in reaction to me, I don’t know, but the mirth disappears and his gaze becomes serious. A little bleak even. “I still have nightmares about that day, you know?”
“Not your fault.”
“I shouldn’t have come.”
“Don’t, Anna. Don’t look like that. I didn’t tell you to hurt you or make you uncomfortable. I was just . . . sharing.” His expression changes again, a more subdued smile taking the place of the brief hint of trauma. Then he suddenly winks at me all flirty like. I don’t know how to react. I can barely keep up. The man is a whirlwind. “Want to come in and have a beer with me?”
“Are you sure?”
“I just . . . I don’t want to remind you of things you’d rather—”
“I want you to come inside. I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.”
A drink with a pretty wild man that I have a strange sort of history with or a swift return to safety and boredom? I don’t overthink it. I don’t even hesitate. “Then yes, Leif. I’d love to.”
I haven’t been disappointed by a Kylie Scott book yet, and Pause was no exception! Her characters and writing style kept me reading even though I had other things I was *supposed* to be doing instead–and she had me loving every minute! Even though Anna was going through some pretty intense events when the story began, somehow Ms Scott still had me all but snort-laughing through much of the first third of the book, and smiling quite a bit after that. The banter between Anna and Leif was fantastic, as was much of Anna’s inner dialog (especially her inner dialog about Leif, lol).
Both Anna and Leif were going through some tough times–their shared accident and the changes it brought to their lives, not to mention the lasting impact of the events book one on Leif–and the humor Ms Scott brought to their story lightened the mood without taking away from the seriousness of what they needed to work through. I appreciated that Leif gave Anna the space she needed to recover and heal, though jeez, I was just as frustrated as she was that he let the “just friends” (as if!) aspect of their relationship go on for so long.
Anna’s former best friend, ex-husband, and another mystery character added just the right amount of tension to the story, and ensured that I came about as close to reading this in a single sitting as I could on a work day 😉 The ending did come a bit abruptly, though the epilogue was so cute it was hard to mind too much.
Pause is the second book in Kylie Scott‘s Larsen Bros series, but it worked just fine on its own. It is a bit spoiler-y for the first book in the series ( Repeat ), though, so you *might* want to read that one first if you’re picky about that kind of thing. I’m perfectly OK with being spoiled, though, and have no problem reading book one second–and soon 😉
I started reading the e-ARC of this, but I discovered (while looking up book one’s availability) that the audio was included in my Audible membership *and* since I had vacation prep to do, I ended up finishing it as an audiobook. Andi Arndt did I great job narrating it, and I can’t wait to hear her do the same for Repeat!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.
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