Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: Beneath the Surface (Reluctance #1) by M A Stacie

Book coverBeneath the Surface (Reluctance #1) by M A Stacie
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame

Kyran Reese is a man in control. Driven when it comes to work, focused when it comes to play. From his office to the chalk circle of Metro’s bare-knuckle boxing ring, his only thought is to win. That thirst heightens when Dale Porter enters his life. His brother’s assistant should be off-limits, but her witty comments and sarcastic comebacks have him desperate to get her between the sheets. After receiving an unexpected left hook, Kyran gets exactly what he wants, though he makes the rules very clear.

When Dale agrees to Kyran’s relationship stipulation of no labels, she’s sucked into a whirlwind of lust, money, and underground boxing. The agreement to keep their lust away from the office is discarded when rules are molded to suit their ever-increasing attraction. Dale fights her growing affection, trying to hide it even when the world around them spirals out of control. All too soon she realizes she can’t hide her true feelings any longer.

Kyran begins to wonder if he’s finally met his match, and with his family falling apart before his eyes, he turns to the two things he knows will keep him sane: boxing and Dale. Those crutches can’t last forever, and when Kyran finds it harder to function he is left with a decision he never thought he’d have to make.

Could playing to win mean playing for keeps?

I'm not sure what to say about this book. I didn't hate it, nor did I love it, and I'm not even sure if I liked it. I thought it was ok, which puts is somewhere between 2 and 3 stars and depending on how I feel after I write this review, it could go either way.

The story started out somewhat gritty and raw and I thought it was going to be dark given the introduction to Kyran but it didn't turn out that way. It was just gritty, for which I'm glad.

Usually, with the heroes, I tend to really connect with them and I tend to be the one on their side and cheering for them but for some reason Kyran just didn't resonate with me. Kyran was a very dominant alpha male and he had a very overpowering and controlling personality. He knew what he wanted and he knew what he liked and then came Dale, who totally confused him. Kyran really struggled with his feelings for Dale and right to the very end, he had a hard time articulating them even though his actions spoke very loudly for what he felt. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be enough for Dale.

Speaking of Dale, I did not like her at all. She's supposed to be this sassy, feisty woman who very early on decided that she would stand up to Kyran and not let him walk all over her, something which in other circumstances, I would applaud and really respect, except that she came across as argumentative and confrontational most of the time. More often than not, it seemed like she was picking fights with him just to make a point. And what's with her sticking her tongue out at him all the time? Is she six? It just seemed extremely childish to me and at one point, she even thought about sticking her tongue out at him and decided not to so that she wouldn't seem childish. Seriously? Good thing Kyran thought it was sexy and wanted to do wicked things with her tongue, but for the reader, not so much.

There was also a lot of fighting in the book. Lots of arguing and shouting. Between Kyran and Dale. Between Kyran and his father. Between Kyran and Taylor. Between Kyran and Clara. I think the only relationship that didn't have any fighting was between Dale and Trace. All that fighting really put me off the story.

There was one point in the book which I really enjoyed. Kyran and Dale were getting into a rather heated and intense discussion about the state of their relationship and where it had all the trademarks of escalating into a knock out, drag down fight, it didn't. I think this was in a very large part due to Kyran just wanting to talk about they way he felt or didn't feel and wanting to help Dale to understand where he was emotionally. They never resolved anything and the discussion got shut down but while the discussion was ongoing, it was adult and they were communicating, or at least, Kyran was attempting to communicate and you have to give him points for that.

At the end of the book, Kyran's pain was palpable and what he went through because of the hurt he was feeling and how that was described probably turned the book around for me. That was probably the point in the book when it went from meh to ok for me.

Normally, in such a situation, I would not bother with the next book in the series but I'm continuing for two reasons. One, the next book is Taylor's story and I'm anxious to see how he overcomes his problems. I'm also hoping that Taylor's heroine won't have the same personality issues that grated on me the way Dale's did. Two, I'm committed to review the series, so I'm going to persevere.

* This book was sent to me for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. I received no compensation for reading and reviewing this story.

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About the author
auM. A. Stacie is never without a book or her eReader. A voracious reader, with a love of sexy, yet angst ridden novels, she adores getting lost in new worlds. Her need to write did not grip her until after her second son was born, when her previous rambles became fully fledged stories.

She describes herself as one huge contradiction, and though not the most conventional of hobbies, she counts getting new tattoos as one of hers. Running keeps her sane, along with knitting and listening to loud music.

M. A. Stacie lives in the UK with her husband and three sons.

Author links: Facebook - Twitter

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