Title: At Last (The Brooklyn Brotherhood #1)
Welcome to Park Heights, Brooklyn where three brothers discover the meaning of family, and taking a chance on love.
After a year of turmoil, Emma Vandenburg Bradley returned home to Park Heights to run her family’s business – a Brooklyn institution – Unity brewery. Still trying to get her feet back under her, she definitely doesn’t want to be on the spectacularly bad date that ends with getting caught in a bar fight and her high school crush coming to her rescue.
Nick Kelley’s career in the NFL was cut short, but now he has a successful bar in Brooklyn and his dream of buying the Unity brewery is about to come true. Until he realizes that the mystery woman he saved—and shared a steamy kiss with—is none other than his high school chemistry partner, Emma...who happens to be a part owner of Unity. And she’s not interested in selling her family’s legacy.
When Emma and Nick find themselves on opposing sides, both are willing to do anything to win. But as their connection grows deeper, they become torn: Can they choose between their love for Unity and their plans for the future—and for each other?
Author: Addison Fox
Series: The Brooklyn Brotherhood
Published by Swerve Source: Publisher
Published: November 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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At Last was definitely an interesting read for me, as the writing was some of the best I’ve come across. Smooth transitions, wonderful descriptors, and some really great settings make for an enjoyable read. However, I couldn’t connect with Emma, the heroine, and I really didn’t understand why she and Nick were so randomly nasty to each other.
Emma is coming off a divorce, and she’s definitely on edge and seems to be quite the pushover. Within the first few pages, I was easily seeing the setup for some great redemption in her character arc, but that didn’t really come to fruition for me. There wasn’t any point in the story where I felt like she believed herself to be strong, even though there was (of course) the scene where she stands up for herself. But it lacked any real power, and it was quite a letdown.
Nick is an ex-NFL quarterback who runs a bar in Brooklyn. Honestly, at first, he came off to me as a horny jerk who wanted in Emma’s pants, and used the fact that she’d been hurt (a punch to the face by a drunk at his bar) to get that. It wasn’t necessarily written that way, but that’s how it came off to me. I wasn’t impressed with him but had high hopes he would transform.
Throughout the story, Emma and Nick were alternatively nasty to each other and ridiculously sweet. I didn’t really see much in between, and the jumps between moods left me feeling confused, but also like both of them needed to grow up before they could try adulting again.
The shifting point of views also threw me out of the plot line. Louisa (“Mama Lou”) seems to have a great back story, which we’re given right away, but when she does confess it to the characters, it’s to – you guessed it – the woman her son’s been seeing for all of a week. (Wait, you didn’t guess that? Weird. Neither would I.) It felt forced and out-of-place.
The other thing that I disliked was the timeframe. Emma and Nick go from virtual strangers with a past-that-isn’t-a-past (they were chem partners one semester in high school but otherwise, nada) to full-on in love within three weeks? Fox had a perfect set up: The terms Emma set forth in the initial business meeting for Nick to buy her family’s brewery stated three months.
I ha gotten behind a relationship that took three months. I could suspend belief that a woman coming off a divorce and a man who was usually only wanted for his former superstardom could fall in love in three months, for the sake of a romance novel, but most of this book takes place inside of week one, with a rushed week two and three.
Overall, even though it seems like I didn’t enjoy the story, I actually loved Fox’s writing style – which is why I am giving this three stars. While I didn’t connect with these characters or the plot, I can see the potential for improvement in the cohesion and timing of the story. I’m unsure if I’ll pick up the next one in the series, but the teaser at the end of this one had my interest piqued.
ADDISON FOX can’t remember a time when words weren’t a part of her life. In addition to being an avid reader, she loves writing novels about strong-willed and exciting heroes and heroines – individuals who are meant for each other and who deserve their happy ever after. After she makes them work for it, of course!
First published in 2010, Addison has written across romance genres including paranormal, contemporary and romantic suspense. A romantic at heart, she’ll take her heroes any way she can get them – from ancient warriors to computer geeks to sexy cowboys. She’s not picky – but she is deeply grateful her readers are willing to come along for the ride.
Addison lives in New York.
SMP Romance: http://smpromance.com/contemporary.html#tell-me-how
Something shifted as he stared at her. The attraction he’d tamped down earlier beneath a thin veneer of control. All of it flared to life—a match to that spark he saw in her eyes. Heat. Passion. Need.
Emma Bradley—fuck it, no, she was Emma Vandenburg—had something buried beneath that surface and he was suddenly too charged up to keep that thin veneer in place.
Right now, he wanted to see if he could make her moan.
His gaze roamed over the slim lines of her body—the rose-colored sleeveless dress hugging her curves like a caress. He skin was a pale alabaster, smooth and untouched, a match for her pale blonde hair.
For the moment, Nick hesitated. Did he dare touch her? Did he even have a right? Their kiss on Friday night had existed in the blessed oblivion of ignorance. But if he kissed her now…
If he kissed her now he did so in full understanding of the situation they found themselves in. Opposite sides of a chasm that had a clear loser.
His name on her lips captivated him and all thoughts of what might come vanished in the sight of her. In this moment, they still stood on opposite sides of that chasm, a strange sort of limbo that trapped them both.
Yet in that prison both were still free to choose.
And he chose her.
Nick moved into her, the moment of hesitation vanishing as if it had never been. His hands wrapped around her wrists, capturing them as surely as he planned to capture her lips. He saw her eyes widen for the briefest moment before something else rose up, expanding her pupils in the muted light of his office.
And then there was no waiting. No more wondering. No more heated thoughts left unfulfilled.
His lips came over hers, her slim form pressed to his office door as he pressed his body into hers. Their height difference had him bending his head, but it was the contrast in their physical size that struck him once more. She was so fragile.
In the long, slender lines of her body he sensed the same power that fired her personality. Like titanium, she had a deceptive strength, one that could hold great weights without breaking.
He wanted to explore her, but something held him back. Some line he innately sensed he couldn’t cross for fear of never returning. So he held tight to her hands, pleased when she linked her fingers with his and hung on.