Monday, February 20, 2017

ARC Review: Rough & Tumble by Rhenna Morgan

Series:     Haven Brotherhood #1
Pub. Date:Feb. 20, 2017
Publisher:Carina Press
Length:432 pages

I have been wanting to try this author since I got to hang out with her a little last year at the RT Convention (FYI - she is cool people)... but I just haven't been able to get a lot of personal reading on the calendar in the past year. Being more of a urban fantasy and paranormal fan, I expected to start with the Eden series, I even went on a one-clicking spree buying up the series with grand intentions to start ASAP. As my plans fell through in that regard, I was excited to see this new series, even though I don't read as much contemporary these days. Now I am just kicking myself for not reading her work sooner.

There's the family you''re given by birth, and there's the family you choose for yourself.

So let's start with the Haven Brotherhood. Five brothers (and two mothers) that are family, not by blood but by loyalty and obligation. They are not just rough and tumble bikers, but each brother seems to have hidden depths that the reader will love to discover as they fall in love (and lust) with these swoonworthy men. 
It's not where a man comes from, or what he wears, that matters. It's what he does with his life that counts.
Jace Kennedy is the first brother offered up for our reading pleasure, and he is an alpha male, intelligent businessman and co-founder of the Haven Brotherhood. He is also charitable and active in his community with at-risk youth, his philanthropic side being inspired by his childhood. But for all his alpha maleness, Jace has a vulnerable side that draws the reader in and, for me, created a strong emotional connection to his character. I was drawn to his character from the get-go and felt myself getting offended on his behalf when business deals tanked or were sabotaged by petty and ignorant people more worried about appearances than the good he provided for the community and his business partners.

The sooner you figure out who the hell you are on the inside, the happier you'll be.

Vivienne Moore is outwardly a straight-laced buttoned-up event planner, dressing in prim and proper business suits and living in a sterile environment. Viv didn't have the easiest childhood with an uppity mother, a drunk father, and a sister following in his footsteps. So she thinks that by suppressing her nature (and wild curly hair), she will go through life safe and bored out of her mind. Needless to say, Viv was in dire need of someone to come and mess up her perfectly boring existence. I found her to be a tolerable heroine... I usually have such a hard time with heroines in contemporary romance, they tend to get on my nerves by being overly dramatic or running away from adult situations/responsibilities, etc. However, I commend Viv on her mostly reasonable ability to stick it out with Jace even when she wasn't absolutely sure what she was doing. I think any negative feelings I had toward her were out of jealousy because I would have scooped up that man in a heartbeat so I didn't identify with her hesitance. 

The relationship was definitely the main focus of this story, so it got going pretty fast from the start. Jace is a man that knows what he wants and goes after it... but it was nice to see that he respected Viv and reined in his alpha nature so he wouldn't spook her and send her running the opposite direction. But O-M-G, the sexual tension between these two! It was off the charts. Rhenna did a great job with the build up and wrote some exceedingly steamy sexytime that is sure to satisfy any smut lover. (You know who you are!) These two interacted and communicated like mature adults, which made me happy. I hate seeing unnecessary drama these days - my drama llama tolerance is quite low.

Never underestimate a high-caliber wingman, let alone a trio.

But back to this brotherhood... man these are some yummy dudes. I think Jace may be my favorite, but he is going to have some strong competition with Axel and his playful nature and Scots brogue. Next up is Zeke's story in Wild & Sweet.

Haven Brotherhood