Arms Of Serenity by Donina Lynn

Arms Of Serenity by Donina Lynn
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (163 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Plagued by guilt, Nicholas Hollsten ended his military career in the Special Forces and returned home only to be forced into a life he never wanted. Nick found himself running his father’s company and making good on a promise to his team. Angry and frustrated with the direction his life was taking, he calms his thoughts by filling his evenings and bed with soft distractions. Until one woman captures his interest.

Rebecca Klayton thought she was happy in her small town, running her bakery and avoiding love. That emotion only meant heartache and being left exactly where you started—alone. Lesson learned. But, when the sexy stranger from their hot New Year’s Eve party shows up at her counter, will she be able to ignore the temptation or will she find what she’s been missing in the Arms of Serenity?

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This is a well written and very well paced full length novel. It took me a few pages to really get into Becca and Nicholas’ characters, but once the author hooked me on each of their situations I couldn’t read this fast enough. I greatly enjoyed how the author has fleshed out the main characters properly. I feel the author has gone to great lengths to make both Becca and Nicholas deep, complex and interesting characters. With a strong supporting cast (and what I feel is a few hooks into future books, Tank in particular interested me greatly…) I found this to be a really engrossing story, one you can’t just pick up and put down, but need to dedicate time to really enjoy.

There were a few really steamy sex scenes. While I wouldn’t classify it as erotica, it is detailed and nothing is held back. Romance readers who prefer their action sweet or behind closed doors might want to be cautious here. Even though I found the scenes graphic, I thought they were really sexy, tasteful and not at all outrageous. I was a little disappointed though with Becca’s about-face after the initial sex scene. I never really fully understood why Becca was perfectly content to be with Nicholas as a no-strings one night stand, but was so judgmental the next morning. She took one look at him and based on his appearance, his expensive, cashmere sweater (and admittedly his swagger) and decided that he was everything she hated in a man. Their sex the previous evening, the intimacies and discussions they’d shared – even the man Nicholas had shown himself to be sharing the rooftop garden and himself – was all forgotten in the blink of an eye. This really upset me as a reader, and made me strongly dislike Becca for a while.

I realise that there needs to be conflict and tension between the hero and heroine, and aside from this one (albeit large) character flaw shown in Becca, I liked seeing them try to come to terms with each other and their attraction. One of the things I really enjoyed throughout the book was the fact that the plot and the romance each take equal amounts of the story itself. This isn’t a romance with a throw-away plot added in for form’s sake. Nor did I find this a thriller/mystery book with a brief, hasty “romance” to appeal to the women readers. I feel the author has done a great job to balance the two out. The secondary characters also weren’t just thrown in to flesh out Becca and Nicholas. I’m quite intrigued by many of them and hope to read more of them soon.

Strong, complex characters and an interesting plot, plenty of spicy romance and a great side-plot with a hint of ex-Army men, there’s an awful lot to like in this book. Other than a few blips I greatly enjoyed this full length novel and can recommend it for many other readers.

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