Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shhh... Let Me In

Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: *sequel to No Holds Barred
ISBN: 978-14268-9377-3
Release Date: May 21st, 2012

On leave for Thanksgiving, the last thing marine lieutenant Talia Barnett expects to find is Liam Brodie waiting for her at the airport. He’s had a starring role in her fantasies for the past two years, and although she’d love to make them a reality, she has a dark secret that prevents her from taking things further.

A former Marine, Liam’s specialty is planning tactical operations, and that’s just what he plans to do to win Talia. The woman has kept him at arm’s length for too long, and this time he’s finally going to claim her—body and heart.

What begins as comfort quickly turns hot. When Liam shows Talia a hint of the dominant nature inside him, the submissive part of her flares to life. Though she desires him, she’s going back on deployment and doesn’t want to dump all her drama on him. Will he find a way to break through the protective walls around her heart and convince her they have a future that goes far beyond the bedroom?

Let Me In by Callie Croix squeezed my heart with so much emotion; it is a beautiful read. This line is stuck in my head, playing repeatedly… "What are you going to do?" What I've wanted to do to you for almost two years. "Shhh. Let me in." Never have I felt the truth of a book’s title more than in that moment, in that scene. Dealing with the subject of accepting yourself enough to allow others to love you, to trust in them and love back without fear is no easy feat but Croix handles it with finesse in this beautiful story of love.

Talia has kept her feelings for Liam under wraps – just as much as he has – because of fear to expose her mother’s illness and to risk his friendship and her relationship with his family which she treasures above all else.  But Liam knows she’s hiding something and he’s done being pushed away. He is determined now is the time for the two of them to find their HEA.

Croix has a way with writing alpha heroes. Liam is deliciously sexy, devoted, and well-grounded in his family. He is a dominant male – though BDSM is hinted at, we do not see it played out – who knows how to treat a woman. Croix has also created the perfect counterpart in an equally strong heroine who has dealt with her mother’s illness while not allowing it to define her. Talia’s only weakness is in not letting people in, a predicament only a dominant man like Liam can remedy. He is truly the perfect hero.

Croix yet again serves up a delicious romance – proving she can shine in a variety of romance genres. Let Me In brought about so much emotion, I simply couldn’t put it down. And in the end, I was satisfied.

RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries 
Many thanks to netgalley, Carina Press and the author for providing a review copy of this book.

Damn, she was a hard one to figure out.
Liam watched Talia surreptitiously from the kitchen as she finished dessert with his parents at the dining room table. Exhausted as she had to be, like always she was beautiful to him. Her light golden skin glowed against the black fabric of her lacy shirt, the slight tilt of her hazel eyes highlighting her partial Japanese heritage. She’d twisted all that long, rich brown hair up with some sort of clip, showing off the elegant line of her slender throat. It pulled his gaze down to the neckline of her shirt, where he caught a tantalizing glimpse of cleavage.
She was damned sexy, despite that protective shell she wore to keep everyone out, him included. Many times he’d fantasized about breaching that wall to touch the vulnerable woman inside it. Dragging his gaze back up to her face, he studied her expression.
She seemed relaxed enough on the surface, but beneath that calm veneer he sensed something else entirely. He’d always made her nervous. That wasn’t new. Something was different tonight, however.
The few times he’d caught her looking at him throughout dinner he’d glimpsed the quiet yearning in her eyes that always tied him up in knots, though it was stronger this time. She’d never let him see that kind of deep-seated need before. So why now?
It drove him crazy that she always kept herself at arm’s length from him, but he loved knowing she was aware of him as a man. God knew he was more than willing to satisfy whatever needs she kept buried beneath that cool exterior, sexual and otherwise. For whatever reason, she wouldn’t acknowledge her interest.
“She doesn’t want to go home,” Angie said quietly beside him, placing some rinsed dishes in the sink for him to wash.
“Yeah, she does. Look at her. She can’t wait to get out of here.” He knew Tal loved his family, but it was obvious she wanted to leave. She always pulled away when they wanted to keep her close. Like she couldn’t handle the thought of letting anyone in that far. It only made him want to break through that wall even more, find out why she was so scared of them learning about her personal life, and what she was trying so hard to hide about her family.
“No, I mean she doesn’t want to go home. To see her mom.”
“I know.”
Angie shook her head. “It’s sad. What the hell’s wrong with that woman? No one could ask for a better daughter than Tal. I don’t want her to be alone while she’s here.”
It wasn’t their place to judge her relationship with her family. It is what it is. “You ever met her?” They’d known Tal long enough for her to trust them, ever since Ang had met her through a veterans’ fundraiser and brought her to a family dinner one night a couple years ago.
“Are you kidding? The closest I’ve come to that is waiting at the curb in front of her house last time Tal came back. Last Christmas.”
Liam digested that in silence. Whatever the problem was with Talia’s mother, it was her private business. Obviously she preferred it that way. He smiled when she laughed at something his dad said. It was the most beautiful sound. He wished she’d do it more often.
He glanced at his sister. “What?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Don’t you dare scare her away.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. I want her to be comfortable here with us, like she can relax and feel at home.”
“So do I.”
“Then tone down the alpha-male-on-the-hunt routine. God, could you at least be a little bit more subtle? She’s one of my best friends, and you’re staring at her like a starving wolf.”
Only because he was starving. For her. Had been for a long time, though he’d tried to ignore it. “I like her.” He’d liked her from day one, but seeing her now, his feelings went far beyond protective and the usual physical need she incited in him.
“Yeah, I hadn’t noticed,” Angie retorted. “Now move aside and let me finish loading the dishwasher.”
He moved out of the way, still watching Talia. She was unlike any other woman he’d been interested in. Assertive and independent, she never asked anyone for anything. She was always friendly, but not flirtatious, unlike most of Angie’s other friends. For a long time after she’d turned him down he’d thought maybe he wanted her because she posed a challenge. That wasn’t it, though. Truth was, he admired the hell out of her.
This time around there was more to it, though.
Something about her tonight tugged at him and wouldn’t let go. That puzzling mixture of strength and independence combined with a deeply buried fragility just made him want to gather her up in his arms and take care of her. Not let anyone or anything ever hurt her again.
As though she sensed his stare, Talia turned her head and met his gaze. The flare of unmistakable sexual awareness in her eyes instantly caused him to go hard in his jeans. She quickly broke eye contact and concentrated on whatever it was his mom was saying, but Liam wasn’t deterred. That show of desire only proved that cracks were forming in her protective shield. The primitive part of him wasn’t about to let the opportunity to weaken her defenses pass by. There was a hungry, sensual woman in that self-imposed prison.
Maybe it was time to think about breaking her out of it once and for all.  


About the Author

Callie Croix was born from a dare from my other pen name’s editor. It’s true. And now that I’ve fallen to the dark side (aka writing erotic romance), there’s no going back! I write about military/ex-military heroes because I can’t help myself, and because I admire our men and women in uniform so much. Thanks to all of you that serve, and a big thanks to the families left at home, making daily sacrifices on our behalf.

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