01 September 2011

ARC Review: Lauren Dane - Never Enough

Format: Trade Paperback
Published: September 6th 2011 by Berkley Heat
Language: English
Title: Never Enough
Series: Brown Siblings #4
Characters: Erin Brown, Todd Keenan, Ben Copeland, Elise Sorenson, Brody Brown, Ella Tipton, Andrew Copeland, Adrian Brody, Gillian Forrester
Received eARC from author for review.

Gillian Forrester spent most of her life running from who and what she came from. Until Miles came along. From the moment she held the tiny newborn her older sister didn’t want, Gillian stopped running and began to build a life for herself and her adopted son. Now, thirteen years later, as Gillian’s sister lay dying, she reveals the father’s identity and makes Gillian promise to find him.

Adrian Brown is the epitome of the successful rock star. He’s seen and done it all, with few regrets. It takes a lot to shock him—but the bombshell that he has a thirteen-year-old son rocks his world. And Adrian is even more surprised when the buttoned-up, elegant woman who’s raising Miles snags his erotic and romantic attention.

The last thing Gillian expected was to find herself getting hot and heavy with a person like Adrian. But as much as she wants to open up and give herself fully to this amazing man, she’s afraid the secrets of her past and Adrian’s problems with trusting people may keep them apart for good. If love isn’t enough can they find the trust they need?

My Review

There are times when I start reading a book where on the first page I get a teaser. It can be a sentence, a thought, a vibe that puts me on alert what is to come. In Never Enough it was Adrian on stage, going in to the moment.
That essential, vibrant magic that was music rode him. The pleasure of it, the joy at creation and manipulation. The way he sounded against the drums, over and around the bass. Music was alchemy. Music was sex.

And in that moment, as I saw Adrian on stage in my mind, I simply and unceremoniously fell in love with him. Usually I’m a reader who is more easily attracted to a male then a female character but in Never Enough I met a man and a woman who were equally attention grabbing. Adrian Brown and Gillian Forrester are a match in spirit, passion and sensuality, and together they rocked my world.

From the moment Gillian and Adrian met their synergy was a live wire of feelings. Take the emotional rife situation of getting announced you were a father opposite the fear of losing your adopted son and the first encounters were volatile to say the least. Adrian and Gillian each came with their own issues and emotional baggage which created a formidable clash of strong personalities. What I think is so exceptionally well done in Never Enough is the characterization and the emotional depth. Adrian and Gillian exploded of the pages with razor-sharp dialogues, dynamite chemistry and blazing hot passion. The tension between them rocketed from their first encounter and kept building until the very end and I gobbled it all up! The reasoning behind their actions was something I came to understand over the course of the story and they both were so real and understandable.

Gillian is a guarded woman, she doesn’t have her heart on her sleeve and opens up very slowly to other people. She is self-sufficient, strong-minded with a no-nonsense attitude. A woman with a fantastic talent and a loving mother who provides a surrounding for her son to prosper in. She makes mistakes, she is deeply loyal and loving to her friends. Even though she is guarded she is far from uncaring or a coldhearted bitch. Gillian is a woman who touched me, made me cry, made me laugh. She is likeable, recognizable and she wow-ed me.

This incredible woman challenged Adrian Brown in every way possible. Due to his rock star status he has created a safe zone of people and of places to go. He has heart for his family, for his music and has hidden dreams buried in that big heart of his. He exudes pure charisma but threaten him or those he loves and he will show a whole other side of himself. He will judge you and verbally lash out so fast you never knew what hit you. In his own way he is just as guarded as Gillian due to all the stuff he has to deal with as a famous rocker. Adrian is a man who made me fall for the intensity and depth of his emotions. His dirty talking fired me up in more than one way and his growing pains in becoming a father endeared me to the core. I even loved him when he was a jerk and misjudged situations.

Gillian and Adrian come alive for me in this story like I never expected. The moments where Adrian reaches out to his son Miles, the first time they jammed together, the first time Adrian had to forbid Miles something. It enveloped me in this warm glow of the love a parent has for a child. Opposite you see Gillian gradually grow comfortable with sharing Miles. Of course next to the endearing, Lauren Dane also gave me blistering hot passion that seared my imagination. She masterfully painted quite the vivid scenes in my mind’s eye. Both Adrian and Gillian like a rough-and-tough tumbling between the sheets. They both like the dirty sexing and I really had to cool down a few times while reading Never Enough.

The plot is one of human conflict and it entailed the careful build-up of trust, of opening yourself up to the most vulnerable core. I understood Gillian and Adrian both because Lauren Dane provides plenty of backstory to make that happen. Towards the ending of the story the conflict culminated in a situation steeped in anguish and despair. Not only Gillian and Adrian were involved, and each and every ones emotions were magnified by Lauren Dane’s storytelling abilities. The discussion that followed between Gillian and Adrian was empowered by a range of feelings and I was completely involved in how it all would end. The ending was good but would’ve been exquisite if it would’ve involved an epilogue. Going through the motion with this cast of characters, on this emotional level, makes me long for a well-rounded happily ever after.

From the beginning I found a riveting story, steeped with sultry sexual tension and an unforgettable romance. Never Enough thrives in home, hearth and love in all its facets experienced by memorable characters who stole my heart from the moment I met them in Laid Bare. Next to a fantastic romance there was a supportive cast of family and friends who each has a magnetic personality. If you’ve read the previous stories you know Erin, Todd, Ben, Brody, Elise, Cope and Ella. There are children like Rennie, Alexander and Marti who complete the family vibe. But then Gillian brings some new friends to the story whom I instantly adored. Jules, Mary, Ryan are equally well-defined characters who add a new flavor to the cast.

Never Enough is an apt title for I couldn’t get enough of Gillian and Adrian in their blazing erotic romance story! A dynamic pairing surrounded by a fantastic cameo of family and friends deliver an emotionally riveting read.

4.5 stars

Quotes for you to sample:
She opened up and her loveliness hit him square in the gut. Soft and feminine with all that hair and those big brown eyes peeking out from the fringe of French toast roast-tones bangs. She smelled good too. Sweet and spicy. He sent her a charming smile. ”Hi. I –“
She slammed the door in his face before he could finish the sentence. He stood there, struck stupid in love with Gillian Forrester. Though he wouldn’t know it for a while yet.

Brody to Adrian: ”That holy-hot-wow thing you and she have with the little battles of will you play? You two have chemistry, man. You cannot pretend it. It’s not something you can fake.”

Lauren Dane on the www:
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  1. "And in that moment, as I saw Adrian on stage in my mind, I simply and unceremoniously fell in love with him." YES! Great review, this was such a wonderful book!

  2. I really must read another book by Dane :)

  3. omg so jealous you got to read this early. I freakin' love this series and Adrian sounds sexy as sin! Cant wait to get my greedy hands on this one ;)

  4. We never got around to discussing the end IRL but we will soon :)
    Great review! And Lauren Dane promised extended epilogue like Aidan and Gillian presence in the new series that centers on Gillian's friends :)
    Interesting to see that every review I've read of NE mentions the lack of an epilogue...

  5. Wow, Leontine, great review. It's so wonderful to get a different perspective on a book I've read. I had a difficult time with the character of Gillian. It took me a long time and a second read of the end of the book to really understand where she was coming from.

    I loved the book, though, in spite of my struggles!


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