**REVIEW** ~ Afraid to Hope, #3 in the Secrets and Seducution series by M. J. Nightingale

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 Sexy and Heartrending Read

Erotic Contemporary Romance 18+

22436820

 Book Blurb

Louisa Sears is ready to start over. Escaping her small town where prejudice, long memories, and old fashioned values haunt her, Louisa embarks on her dream of finding love, and a man who can warm up her bed at night. Pregnant at sixteen, divorced from an abusive husband at twenty, and raising a daughter alone, Louisa is now ready to live. She wants what every woman wants. A rock hard man, who knows how to love. Will Florida be the place where her dreams come true?

Jay Russell is battle scarred. A past filled with horrors from childhood, the war in Iraq, and the most devastating event of his life that occurred when he returned home, he is definitely not looking for love. When he first meets Louisa Sears, the bombshell with the fantastic body, he wants one thing, and one thing only, her body underneath him. The hot little ticket that walks by his t-shirt shop, meets all his requirements for a night of passion.

The scars in them run deep though, and they both have secrets. Can two people so deeply wounded by the past learn to trust each other enough to share those secrets? And if they do, will they be able to get past them and learn to hope again?

My Review

Sexy and Heartrending Read

Afraid to Hope is #3 in MJ Nightingale’s Secrets and Seduction series, but can easily be read as a standalone. Let me say from the off that it is a sexy and heartrending read which digs deep into the psyche of both the hero and the heroine. It contains some smoking hot scenes yet both Louisa and Jay need to overcome secrets from their past to find the HEA they both hanker after and deserve.

I loved Louisa. She is a strong and sassy woman who has dedicated her adult life to bringing up her daughter. I admired her for this and for her gumption in taking charge of her destiny and moving to Florida to open a new chapter in her life. When she meets the motorcycle riding hottie called Jay, she is literally swept off her feet. He is just what she needs, introducing her to fun and carefree times and to pleasures she only dreamt about. Despite their growing connection, she senses that Jay is pulling back from her and one episode in particular makes her question their whole relationship and whether she can trust him.

Jay is a drop dead gorgeous tortured alpha hero and I adored his single mindedness in his pursuit and seduction of Louisa. The dialogue between them is a real scream as Jay always says exactly what he thinks, which although often inappropriate is often highly amusing! Jay wants to enjoy Louisa’s body and give her a good time, but they become ever closer and Jay gets drawn into Louisa’s circle of friends and her life. Yet Jay bears many emotional scars from his past, including profound guilt he harbours from an event that her blames himself for and this means he finds it almost impossible to move on with the relationship. When an incident compels him to reveal his scarred emotions to Louisa, he fears he may lose her for good. Will she forgive him and give him a second chance, especially given her own haunted past?

This novel is an erotic romance which gets right to the heart of what good strong relationships are about – mutual trust and sharing and coming to terms with each other’s past and above all our own demons. It is also an in depth examination of the causes and possible effects of PTSD. I strongly recommend it to romance readers.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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