This one has to have one of my favorite endings I’ve read in a while.
Houston’s Finest #2
by Erin Rylie
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Carlos Ramirez has always prided himself on two things: being damn good at his job on the Houston police force and being able to land any woman he wants. When a devastating car accident leaves him crippled and in excruciating pain, he begins to rely too heavily on his prescription painkillers. The only person who can help him heal is the only woman who has ever rejected him—and on more than one occasion. Living with Kelsey while he works through physical therapy wasn’t anything he ever expected to happen, but it might just be what he needs.
After a divorce that left her doubting her ability to love, Kelsey Byrne wants nothing to do with relationships. Unfortunately for her, the only man she could see herself loving needs a place to live and help while he recovers. She had a hard time pushing him away after a one-night stand, so how can she possibly keep him at arm’s length when he’s in her house every day, playing with her son, cooking her meals, and leaving her cute notes every morning? Carlos may be working his way into her heart one sweet gesture at a time, but can she give him everything knowing that she’s more than a little broken inside?
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Warning: Some possible spoilers below
I feel bad because this is going to seem like a very negative review, but there were definitely highlights (like Carlos’s relationship with Kelsey’s son, his sweet wooing of her, and the strength it took to finally face up to their issues). It’s just that these things really bugged me. I think part of it was because I didn’t get the book I was expecting. Based on the blurb, I thought the biggest problem would be Carlos’s addiction to pain but that played such a minor part to their personal issues with relationships and commitment. Looking back on it, I can see where I got what they said they’d give me, but I’d decided it was going to be different and that’s hard to let go 🙂
This is the second in the series and it can stand on its own but maybe if I’d read the first book I’d understand Carlos better. While he’s described as a happy guy but to me he’s just a smart ass that only has jokes and doesn’t try to connect with anyone. Not even his partner and best friend. This is addressed a bit at the end (the part I absolutely loved) but I felt like it needed to maybe be worked up to a bit more in the rest of the story.
I’m also NOT a fan of the whole manwhore thing – it’s gotten old. From the very first Carlos talks about his feelings for Kelsey but he’s sleeping with just about anyone who will have him. Sometimes intentionally to get a reaction out of her. That is not an attractive feature for me and definitely doesn’t convince me of the depth of his feelings & commitment to a real relationship. Once he moves in and they spend time together, his behavior does show more of that but sleeping around is just not my idea of a romantic hero.
It also surprises me that Kelsey talks about breaking him. That seems to be a pretty big assumption about her importance and power over him, especially with his bed-hopping. I do understand why she’d be hesitant to get involved again based on her recent divorce (and what I later find out are her own issues with letting people in), but it just struck me as weird all things considered. Maybe after they’d spent some time together and he’d shown himself to be more dedicated but at the beginning it seemed a bit much.
I can see where Carlos’s brand of charm would be pretty hard to resist, though. He’s sarcastic, but full of fun and he definitely displays a great amount of understanding. He pays attention to Kelsey and tries to be what she needs. It’s hard to resist someone that makes you smile and doesn’t give up. And while Kelsey is reserved, she’s also a bit quirky and a good foil for Carlos’s silliness. The two of them together just seemed to work.
Needing to Love You has humor, heat, and an ending that made me happy enough to forget any grumble I might have had. While the epilogue sets readers up for the next story, the last 3 chapters provides the sweetness and closure that made for a satisfying HEA ending, leaving me a happy camper.
I’m a Montana born, Texas raised New Jersey transplant with a degree in hospitality. At 29 years old, I decided it was finally time for me to pursue my real passion in life – writing. I’ve been writing princess stories and LOTR fan-fiction since I was in middle school, so the transition into romance has been fun!
When I’m not writing, I’m reading (fantasy, sci-fi and romance are my genres) or working. I’m currently obsessed with Brooklyn Nine Nine which should tell you all you need to know about my sense of humor.
Finally, I am 100% an old cat lady. My cats Socks and Kaz are little weirdos and I love them more than most people.