Title: Steal My Breath
Author: Nina Levine
Series: Hardy Family #1
Release Date: May 31, 2016
This bossy bartender is about to cross a line he knows he shouldn’t. But Callie St James isn’t a woman he can say no to any longer.
Luke Hardy is the bossiest man I know. Moody too. But I’ve had a thing for him since we met. I spend half my time arguing with him, and the other half drooling over him. I’m screwed now, though, because I just slept with him and I’ve decided I want a whole lot more than sex. Only problem is, Luke has a secret I never knew. The kind of secret that messes everything up.
Callie St James likes to argue with me over everything. It irritates the hell out of me. She also turns me on like no other woman ever has. There’s only one problem with that. I can’t date her. And now I’ve gone and screwed it all up by sleeping with her.
Nina Levine delivers another delicious alpha and feisty heroine with Steal My Breath. This is Luke and Callie’s story and a great new direction for this author. Luke and Callie exist in the real world, the one where everyone struggles to fall in love, find their place, pay their bills, and leave their mistakes in the past. Luke and Callie were easy to relate to, they felt real and tangible, like someone I already knew, and that made investing myself in them absolutely effortless. From the moment we met Luke and Callie, it’s obvious that something more bubbles beneath the surface of their friendship. Their constant arguing and the way they knew just how to push each other’s buttons had me grinning, finding their inability to admit to their undeniable attraction especially amusing. The slow build of tension between these two made for some humorous banter and a sizzling chemistry that manifested itself in torturous and eventually, seriously sexy ways.
“Stop talking, because seriously, you’re just digging yourself deeper into my swoon cave, and I might pass out from all that swooning.”
Callie was sweet, lovable, and very much the kind of girl I could easily be friends with. Smart, witty, and kind, Callie had big dreams and an even bigger heart. I was in awe of her patience with Luke as he began to reveal his secrets and I loved that she respected herself (and Luke) enough to lay down some ground rules for their blossoming relationship that held true to her moral compass. I definitely would have liked to dive a little deeper with this character. The small pieces we get of Callie’s history and family life didn’t quite dig deep enough to satiate my need to understand her on an emotional level as so much of their story focused on Luke’s past. I did find myself falling hard for Luke, despite his seemingly never-ending secrets and drama. His emotions sat at the surface, something rare for an alpha male, and I couldn’t help but be moved by his genuine remorse for the situation he was putting Callie in and the obviously overwhelming feelings he had for her. Throw in his funny, slightly off-kilter, and incredibly sweet family and I was very much on Team Luke.
“I’ve spent a good part of the last year trying to keep her out, but I’m slowly grasping that she’s not a woman who can be kept out. Not when it’s my heart in question. She just bulldozes her way through.”
Nina Levine always comes up with storylines that are equal parts intriguing and entertaining and Steal My Breath was no exception. This book is scorching hot in a very big way. There is no shortage of blush-inducing dirty talk or steamy encounters in this novel, so be sure you have a fan around (or at least a glass of very cold water). In addition to all the heat, Steal My Breath packs plenty of humor, thanks in part to the crazy, colorful secondary characters who tell it like it is and seem to have no shame. I absolutely adored Avery and Tyler, they were total scene-stealers for me and I hope we’ll be getting our hands on their story next! While I definitely enjoyed exploring Luke and Callie’s relationship and investigating Luke’s past, there were a few questions that went unanswered and I felt as if certain relationships were repaired too quickly and without the expected emotional turmoil. However, the overall outcome of the story was indeed satisfying and Steal My Breath was well paced and full of emotion, making this a relatively quick and easy read. I would definitely recommend checking out Steal My Breath, a great beginning to a brand new series. Nina Levine’s writing absolutely shines as she tells this heartfelt story of forgiveness, self-discovery, and new beginnings.
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