by Angela Quarles
Series: Stolen Moments #3
Also in this series: Risking It, Earning It
Publisher: Angela Quarles
Publication Date: February 8, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
One hurricane. One hotel room. Two people who'd rather not share.
Missing the flirt gene, Claire has long ago given up on catching the eye of Irish hottie Conor and she refuses to change. If he doesn't like her as is, then tough. No one need know, least of all Conor.
But when a hurricane strands them in Atlanta and they're forced to shack up in the same hotel room for several days, things tend to get...exposed.
DESERVING IT is a steamy, standalone romantic comedy from RITA Winning and USA Today bestselling author Angela Quarles with a happy-ever-after and no cheating or cliffhangers.
I’ve very much enjoyed Ms. Quarles’ Stolen Moments series, so I was very excited to get a chance to read this one! While I’ve read the previous two books, I think it could work as a standalone.
Conor is the exceedingly Irish ginger captain of the men’s hurling team, and Claire is the captain of the women’s camogie team (pretty much the same sport as hurling). Claire’s had a crush on Conor since she first saw him, but figured he had no interest in her. Unbeknownst to her, Conor’s also had a crush on her since that first meeting. After their respective playoffs in Atlanta, Claire and Connor’s flight back to Florida is cancelled due to a hurricane. With the entire airport closed, they’re forced to share a hotel room. The forced intimacy makes both of them realize they’re interested in each other, and, helped along by a game of strip poker, sparks fly.
“Of course, visions of us later in the game pop into my increasingly fevered imagination. Her sprawling on the couch in just her bra and knickers. And one sock. Why the fuck I’m after imagining one sock on, I have no idea.”
I personally adore seeing recovering characters, and I especially loved Claire. Part of her journey in the story is understanding that she’s moved from recovering to recovered, and as someone who had an eating disorder as a teen, I thought it was exceedingly well done. While Claire is strong, she’s also very empathetic and sensitive, so, in the past she’s had a tendency to place others’ (especially her mother’s) wants above her own needs. Part of her healing process has been cutting her mother out of her life, and also being assertive about being in control as often as possible. Control can be a funny thing, especially for a teen girl, and one of the insidious appeals of eating disorders is that it gives you the illusion of control over some portion of your life. While Conor is willing to cede control in the bedroom, Conor’s normal take-charge attitude feels like a test of Claire’s strength.
“Before, when he was my secret crush, it was easy for me to be smug about my strength. It wasn’t being tested.
But now that I’ve been with him? And it was the hottest sex I’ve ever had? How can I keep my walls intact if we actually date? I’ll get attached. I’ll want to morph to please him. I’ll want everything.”
Conor, on the other hand, is motivated by guilt. He feels that he needs to ace his work presentation to nab a bonus that he can send back home to help his sister out on the family farm. His long term Irish girlfriend – who’d known him since they were babies – told him he was “lacking” when she broke up with him. His need to provide value, to help, the “superhero-save-the-day,” to be “enough” – in work or in his relationships – is sincere, but misguided. Of course, it takes an erroneous assumption to make him go a step too far to realize that his value doesn’t lie in what help he can provide.
As for cons, Conor’s accent was just too much at times. The occasional “Jaysus” was fine, but at times reading things like “dead feek” and “gowl, muppeting plonker” (one of those is positive, by the way, go ahead and try to figure out which) was like decoding a foreign language. Ms. Quarles’ writing is usually snappy and witty, so I found the overuse of some of the grammatical constructs and Irish-isms disappointing, as it kept breaking up the pace of the writing for me. Also, I would’ve liked to see more of Claire and Conor together after the resolution of the conflict. It felt like I needed that emotional payoff of seeing them as a happy couple in a healthy relationship after all the struggles they went through!
Overall, though, I still loved this book, and am eagerly waiting for the next in the series! Recommended for anyone who wants a hot, witty, sporty romance with a large dose of Irish!