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How steamy is it? Hot Damn

Publisher's Summary

Isabelle West has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn't by your side. For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle... her ex-husband. Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn't sure he wanted to now. He's carried his anger for so long he isn't sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated. How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?

Contains mature themes.

©2013 E.S. Harper (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Alpha heroes you'll want to kidnap and keep, heroines to root for, and sizzling love scenes with emotional punch." (Carly Phillips, New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    688
  • 4 Stars
    334
  • 3 Stars
    142
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    26

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    613
  • 4 Stars
    282
  • 3 Stars
    154
  • 2 Stars
    63
  • 1 Stars
    29

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    662
  • 4 Stars
    279
  • 3 Stars
    136
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    27
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Liked the plot but........

Wow, this, is a really hard review for me to do. Liked the plot, even though it was predictable. The narration was really hard for me, Abby C had way to much angst in her voice ALL the time so when it was needed for the story line it didn't really make an impression. Sean wasn't bad either but did not fit the character, every sentence felt like a graph, high to low high to low he would be better suited for a story about a PI in the thirties or something. These guys need a Phil G with the deep sexy voice. I felt the females were just a bit too high school for being thirty. Izzy was the worst, the love of your life, made plain multiple times, walks back into your life and you want to shun him and not get any answers, wow I don't think so. I really would like to go to the next book but not sure I can get thru another several hours with these narrators. I will most likely try, just to see if all the soft, breathy I'm so hurt voice is carried over to the next story. If so it will be my last I will buy the kindle edition.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I don't know... Sort of maddening.

First of all, the positives:
Abby Craden gives a magnificent performance! Sean Crisden is good, but sometimes sounds flat out bored.

The heroine is extremely likeable and I found myself rooting for her (in the beginning).

Now the not so positives:
The focus of the story is about a woman rebuilding her life after a traumatic, abusive relationship that no woman should ever have to endure! I found myself really pulling for her as she tried to rebuild her life with the support of close friends.

Now, I am a male listener who is a sucker for a good romance novel. Always have been. One recurring theme in Romance, that I have never really understood, is the strongly possessive, insanely jealous and controlling male lead. What is that about? I understand the desire to have a strong male character in a story and I am totally all right with that. But sometimes... It's way too much and far too irritating. Like the guy is a one trick pony with no depth, but he's drop-dead gorgeous and has a big wiener so that makes it all okay?

Maybe it's just eye candy for the story. That, I understand for a tertiary character. Not for the male protagonist.

Now, in steps the male lead in this story. Axel. A former lover and boyfriend of the female lead. This guy is an immediate, macho ass hat and the story turns south the second he shows his face.

He begins doing the exact things that the female lead has been trying to get away from for years! He is possessive, controlling, and abusive! She's a TRAUMA survivor! She just got out of an abusive relationship and now she's going to jump right back into another one, just because the guy is an Adonis? And her friends, who have been working so hard to help her are just going to stand idly by and not say a word to either character? I don't think that a woman in therapy, who has endured and escaped the type of treatment she went through would respond positively to that kind of treatment. Regardless of whether or not it is a former lover or not. She's going to run at the least, or at the worst, fold up on herself.

Another thing that made the story hard for me. I am not a fan of conflict driven by lack of communication. The majority of the story is just the two main characters not talking to one another and the friends surrounding them, who know the entire story, not stepping in and telling this abusive ass hat to "back off! She's been through shit!" This made me crazy! Everyone just sits idly by and says, "It's not my story to tell." You don't have to tell the story. If you care for this woman the way you profess to, step up and tell the guy to lighten up and let her come to you when she's ready!

And if I heard the words "baby girl" or "baby" one more time, I might have run into traffic to play. I understand terms of endearment, but come on! Don't use them to replace a character's name.

Lastly, the producer or the sound engineer on this audio book should be sent back to school or find a new vocation. Abby Craden is more than capable of expertly portraying a soft voice presentation. You do NOT have to lower the audio level on her! There were large portions of the performance, where Abby is portraying a softer, more relaxed tone of voice, and they lower the levels to almost unintelligible! Maddening, because you turn the volume up to try to hear her, and Sean comes on at normal levels and blows your ear drums out!

All in all, too many things wrong with this one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A puddle of greese under the Axel

Heroine: weak, pathetic. one great solve for her problems is to A. get rip roaring drunk. B. Hide under the covers. C. climb into the nearest male lap and go into suspended animation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

It's OK

I read this book a few years back and enjoyed the alpha male story, so was excited to see it as an audio book. What a disappointment...I started to return it because the narration (both the man and the woman) were, well, not nearly as hot as the story. AND, I think I've gotten accustomed to Kristen Ashley's alpha males, so the Cage boys don't have the attraction they once used to. This is a good story idea made mediocre by writing that is lackluster. All I could think of in terms of Izzie was how all she did was cry and fall apart; the narrator seldom finished a sentence without an audible (no pun intended) gasp that was most distracting. The whole narration portrayed the character of Izzie as borderline hysteric all the time...no evidence of strength whatsoever. Grew VERY tired of that. Also, I like erotic writing but it needs to be sensual and steamy...not gross and constant. In any event, I was not impressed by my second go around with Axel and even less so with the narration.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

HOT! PROTECTIVE ALPHA'S!

After being notified that her true luv (a Marine) is dead, Izzy eventually marries someone else. This story starts w/ the final straw to that disastrous, abusive marriage... then steps straight to a few yrs later when her hunky BFF invites a few of his business partners/hot ex-marine buddies to a bar to help celebrate her bday... & one of them happens to be her giant broad- shouldered brooding ex-LUV... (who's just a wee bit annoyed w/ her for not waiting on him.)
I could have done without half of the crying & drama overkill n the first half... (some serious "eye poke" moments to someone who was raised in a low drama/"rub some dirt on it" household.) But other then that... It was HOT! The sex scenes were very well written & you could always tell they liked it... A LOT. LOL ;) The group of Marine/Alpha's were gruffly protective & loving. Great story!
Now... I've got to go buy the next one... (Sshh... Don't tell my husband...;)

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A TRAGIC, BITTER-SWEET & EMOTIONAL LOVE STORY

Izzy and Axel were teenage sweethearts and after graduating Axel joins the Marines - they both promise to keep in touch but things go terribly wrong when fate messes up their plans with heartbreaking consequences for them both. Izzy's just out of an abusive marriage however she's emotionally damaged, scared and lost but, with the help of her two very good m/f friends, Izzy's coping and waiting for her husband to sign the divorce papers. But he's not letting her go that easy and starts threatening her so Greg, her male best friend (who's an ex Marine), uses Corps Security which is made up of his fellow ex Marines and.... yeah you guessed it - Axel's one of them.

When the two meet again after years of anger and pain it's dramatic, heartbreaking and raw but their chemistry's still there.... now if only they could calmly talk to each other it might work out but unfortunately neither one wants to listen.

It's an emotional and frustrating listen with two heartbroken lovers with a lot of hurt filled 'baggage' from their past threatening to tear them further apart and there's deadly drama from the ex. Great secondary characters, a handsome, sexy and very Alpha Hero and a Heroine who's been through Hell and it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Very passionate pleas, tear filled breakdowns, hot sex, heart-felt sorrow and pain and a traumatic climactic bloody twist all eventually lead to a sweet and loving HEA.

Dual POV's, dual narrators who both did a great job in bringing the story and characters to life with all the emotions needed in this roller-coaster love story.

Worth a credit? A well narrated non-stop and addictive listen and a great intro into a new series about hot Alpha ex Marines finding love makes this, IMHO, a creditworthy addition to any romance lover's library.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

eVeRy Other WORD.... SeRiOuSlY ?

Over the top with the foul language!
Trash... returned for my credit back ! Why do some authors think they have to swear like trash to write a story? This book had so much f... bombs in the first 5 chapters, that I couldn't get into the story! And Issy was so whiny and weak.. I won't bother with trying another of her books.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Axel and Izzy

I liked the plot of Axel's story. It has good bones that I could really sink my teeth into. However, I was not a fan of the way some of the events took place. The story dragged on way too long because of miscommunication, or should I say "a lack thereof by refusal to communicate?" I became frustrated with how long it took the heroine to "work up the nerve" to finally have a long awaited discussion with the hero.

****SPOILER-ISH****

I found it a little far-fetched (seriously unbelievable) that the ex was able to walk up to her door, ring the doorbell, snatch her outside, and do quite a bit of physical harm while a house full of ex-military/security personnel were inside watching a game!! Since they knew about the crazy ex-husband, why on Earth did she (why did they let her?) answer the door alone?!

****END OF SPOILER-ISH****

I love alpha males and I adored Axel, but at times, he was a just bit too alpha for me. The way he spoke to people was often crass and rude. He almost needed anger management! LOL! At the same time, I will admit I appreciate that his character was no pushover. He just needed to tone it down a little.

There were also a lot--and I do mean a lot of "growly" overprotective males in this story. Sometimes their behavior was so over-the-top.

Isabelle aka Izzy, aka "Princess", "Baby girl," and "girl" was my least favorite character. I wanted to like her, but I found it very difficult to connect with her. She'd been through a lot. Domestic abuse is horrible, and sometimes it takes years for survivors to get to the point where they can feel normal again and "free." Nevertheless, Izzy's character often came across as selfish, super-stubborn, careless, mean, and whiny. She mistreated those who were there for her during her darkest hours. Greg and Dee put up with a lot of her verbal abuse. With the way she acted out, I'm a little surprised she had so many men ready to jump to her rescue/defense. And speaking of protectors--it grated on my nerves that everyone else knew what was going on with Izzy and refused to clue Axel in, citing "it's her story to tell" as an excuse and practically barring them from speaking to each other. Too much of the book was taken up with this crazy, juvenile-like drama. This couple needed a serious intervention!! With these characters being in their late-20s, early-30s, I was expecting more mature behavior.

Later, Izzy abruptly does a 180°, and finally-FINALLY-decided to sit down with Axel for that "talk." For me, this is the point where everything shifts. More of their tragic pasts are revealed, and I can finally feel something for the heroine. Izzy is still not my favorite, but what she has endured truly touches my heart. Axel's response to everything she tells him further shreds my heart to little pieces.

All in all, the story was okay, and I'm glad Axel and Izzy got their HEA.

Note: I'm not a fan of audio books, but I decided to take a chance and give it a try. I think I'll just stick to visual reading. The narrators were awful, and I did not enjoy the audio version at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

hard to hear

I have never given a review but I feel this is necessary to warn people do not get this book if you are hard of hearing the audio is so faint I had to turn my volume up to 10 and I still couldn't hear it.. The Narrators are monotone and lifeless..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Shelia B
  • Missouri ; United States
  • 05-29-18

It's okay

The story was descent except for the female character. She's so whiny and stupid. Why do the females in these books have to be so stupid? Abby Craden's audio was not recorded very well. It would go from loud to too soft. I kept having to change the volume. I'm glad this book was free because I would have hated to pay for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel Shead
  • 05-26-17

Heroine is pathetic

The narrator read the heroine as having no backbone. I know the character has been through some trials, but she is made out to be insipid and wet. What the main hero actually sees in her is beyond belief - nothing to recommend her. When I read the books to me the heroine had some spark and humour -the reading had nothing.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Charlotte
  • 03-02-15

It was okay

Really wished that I read the book instead of listening to it narrator at times she was really bad and very child like.