Title: Where There’s Smoke
Author: Elizabeth Lee
Series: Jameson Sisters #1
Release Date: May 17, 2014
There is something to be said for letting go. Ryland Roberts knows that better than anyone. He’d let go of his ambitions, of his family and—most of all—of her. He’d perfected the art of putting his past behind him and accepted the fact that the town he wanted to leave in his rearview was the place where he was going to live out his days. But sometimes the past doesn’t just go away. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you.
Piper Jameson convinced herself that she left for all the right reasons. She’d saved people by leaving—made sure that they weren’t tainted by her rebellious ways. When her little sister asks her to come home and say goodbye to their ailing mother, she’s forced to see that things aren’t always as they seem. The people who she’d left behind might not have been saved at all.
In the amount of time it takes a bullet to travel from point A to point B, Piper and Ryland will have to put their feelings for each other aside and make a choice. Forced on the run with Piper’s sister, they begin to understand that the future they thought was gone was never really lost.
One of my all-time favorite storylines is second-chance love. There is something so beautiful about getting another chance with the one who got away. There is a level of excitement that comes from starting somewhere in the middle of a relationship, skipping the superficial beginning and facing down forever a lot more quickly. As far as books go, this can be a tricky place to start if you don’t introduce strong characters and quickly define and endear them to the reader. In breezing by their introduction to each other, it’s easy to skip the necessary introductions to the reader. I’m happy to say that EL delivered Piper and Ryland flawlessly. As their story moved forward I already felt like I’d known them for years, like I knew who they were and what they’d been through. I never questioned their authenticity as characters or the organic feel of the emotions evoked throughout the book.
“It was the duality of her that had stolen my heart all those years ago. The same duality that had broken it when she’d run away.”
Piper never played by the rules. Feeling caged and never good enough, she lived life her own way until the day everything came crashing down, bringing her relationship with Ryland with it. I loved Piper’s strength and the way she unapologetically lived life. She is a breath of fresh air in a book world filled with sweet little girls. Ryland is the ultimate book boyfriend (seriously, can I keep him?). The people he loves always seem to walk away. He’s learned not to count on anyone yet he is still the guy you can consistently depend upon. He is the guy who would do absolutely anything for the girl he loves and won’t go down without a fight. He’s a sweetheart with just enough of that bad boy edge to make your palms sweat and your heart beat faster.
“I wasn’t good for him, wasn’t worthy of his love. I wasn’t doing anything but holding him back. It just took everything going up in flames for me to see it.”
Piper and Ryland are forced to live like Bonnie and Clyde. The mess they stumble into forces them to run or risk losing everything. Thrown together on a roadtrip, they find themselves living so closely that the spark between them threatens to catch fire at every turn. I adored the chemistry between Piper and Ryland. It was intense and exciting and I swear at times I could feel it burning through me. Their banter, stolen glances and inner musings had me right there with them while they battled temptation. EL did an amazing job crafting the relationship between these two characters. She mapped out every physical, mental and emotional response they had to one another until you might as well be standing next to them witnessing first-hand the electricity between them.
“I could have denied it. I could have turned and walked away, but she had to know that, no matter where she ran off to, she would always be… Mine.”
Where There’s Smoke is sweet, steamy, unpredictable and unexpected. I had to read this book in one sitting because there was no way I could stop until I knew what happened next. EL kept me on my toes with Ryland and Piper’s thrilling journey. She had me greedily consuming every word on this intricate and emotional ride. This story held me captive long after the book had ended. EL’s masterful character construction and powerful storytelling capabilities are undoubtedly responsible for the monster book hangover I’ve been suffering from since finishing Where There’s Smoke. This book is a must read!
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