PASSION NEVER SLEEPS.
Small-town barista Mandy Monroe will never forget the first time she saw the man of her dreams. Every morning, this impossibly gorgeous hunk would ride his bike past her coffee shop, fueling her wildest romantic fantasies. But when she learns that her crush is none other than vineyard owner Marc Reed, one of America’s hottest young entrepreneurs, Mandy knows her fantasy will never become a reality. That is, until Marc’s home burns down and he moves in with her…
As a roommate, Marc is as warm, friendly, and down-to-earth as he is rich, famous, and heartstoppingly handsome. But beneath his laidback exterior beats the heart of a red-blooded man with an uncontrollable urge to take Mandy in his arms and make mad, passionate love to her. Mandy is everything he’s ever wanted; she’s sweet, smart, funny, and irresistibly sexy. But how he can tell her the truth about his past? How can he explain the nightmares that haunt him every night? And how can he tell Mandy he loves her…without putting her heart, and her life, in danger?
About the Author
A lifelong California native, Kate Douglas has always loved the power of stories, especially romances.
Married for over forty years to her very own hero, Kate is mother to two amazing adults and "Dabba" to six perfect grandchildren. Kate gives credit for much of her success to the fantastic cadre of generous and talented authors who have helped her over the years, and she's a firm believer in the philosophy of "paying it forward."
Read an Excerpt
By Kate Douglas
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Kate Douglas
All rights reserved.
He'd been here so many times before, this room that was almost familiar, the wall of mirrors reflecting an image he'd tried to forget. He didn't know the woman who struggled. Couldn't see the face of the man whose hands encircled her throat. Marc didn't know who they were or when this happened. Not until they turned. He watched her slim body sag and disappear from view. Raised his head and gazed in horror at the man in the mirror.
Marc stared into the eyes of a killer. His very own dark brown eyes.
"Marc? I've got honey oat muffins just out of the oven. Are you awake?"
Mandy. He rolled to his back, sucked in a deep breath and concentrated on slowing his racing heart. "Be out in a minute. I overslept."
"Don't worry. I'll keep them warm for you. Not gonna let you starve."
He heard her laughing as she went back down the hall. The last remnants of the dream faded away, but Mandy was in the kitchen and the muffins were warm.
All was once again right with the world.
* * *
"Hey Marc! Your cell phone's calling you."
Marc reached into his pocket and laughed. "Crap, Ben. Where is it? I thought I had it."
"Sounds like your bedroom."
With a half-assed salute, Ben Lowell threw his military duffle over his shoulder and headed for the front door. Marc raced down the hall to his bedroom and grabbed the phone off the bedside table. It stopped ringing the moment he reached for it, so he glanced at the caller ID before returning the call.
No. On second thought, he wasn't about to return this bastard's call. A notification popped up, telling him he had voicemail. He deleted the message without listening, shoved his phone in his pocket, and went back to the front room.
It looked like the cab was here for Ben and his fiancée, Lola Monroe. "This your bag, Lola?" When she nodded, he said, "I'll take it down." He picked it up and pretended to fall over. "Pack the set of horseshoes for the trip? Gonna play a game on the mall in DC?"
"Of course." Lola's expression never wavered. "Thank you. Tell Ben I'll be there in just a sec." Then she went back to her conversation with her sister Mandy, an extension of what the guys had been calling the long goodbye over the past few days. The girls were close. He wondered how Mandy was going to handle the two of them being apart for at least a week.
Though his biggest concern was how he was going to handle being alone with Mandy. Worrying about it had kept him awake nights for most of the week, but there was nothing he could do about it now. Hauling Lola's suitcase, he headed down the front stairs to the waiting cab.
* * *
The moment the door closed behind Marc, Mandy remembered. "Don't go yet, Lola!" She raced back into the kitchen and grabbed the bag of chocolate chip cookies off the kitchen counter. She caught her sister as she was reaching for her new carry-on bag.
Lola paused at the door. "Okay. What'd I forget now?" "You didn't. I did. I forgot to give you the cookies I baked for you and Ben to munch along the way."
"Yum! Thank you." Laughing, she took the cookies from Mandy. "You realize, I actually hope we'll both be sleeping. I can't believe my first trip in an airplane's going to be in the dark. I won't get to see anything." She stuck the cookies in her bag. "Thanks. I'm going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss you, too. Now hurry. The cab's here."
Lola gave her a tight hug and whispered in her ear, "You just want me out of here so you can finally get Marc all to yourself."
"Yeah. Like that's going to do any good." Mandy exhaled. Loudly. Frustration was too simple a word, especially when Marcus Reed and his lack of interest wasn't the only thing that had her upset tonight. "Text or call me when you two get to your hotel, okay?"
"I will. Love you, sis." Lola winked and added, "Good luck."
Smiling, because that was the best she could do, Mandy merely shrugged. "One can hope. You, too. Have a safe trip. Let me know when you get there."
One last hug, and then Lola was practically skipping down the stairs. Ben grabbed her bags and stuck them in the trunk while Marc helped Lola into the back seat, leaned in to kiss her cheek, and then shook Ben's hand before Ben got in beside Lola. Mandy waited beneath the porch light and waved as the cab pulled away from the curb, heading to San Francisco International Airport.
Silly, how she actually felt sort of weepy, standing here on the top step, watching Lola leave with Ben. She and her sister had never really been apart, but they'd been alone so much as kids, they had practically raised themselves. Now Lola was headed to DC with Ben while he testified at a pretrial hearing in a case against a powerful senator. They'd be gone at least a week.
Yeah, she was going to miss Lola, and Ben, too, but not for the obvious reason. Their absence meant she'd be here alone with a man she'd lusted after for years.
One she'd fallen head over heels in love with when they'd finally met.
A man who'd been one of their roommates for a little over two months now — sixty-three days, to be exact. The only problem? Marc didn't notice Mandy at all. Why should he? The guy was gorgeous, brilliant, rich — the list was endless — while Mandy was nothing but the ex-barista for a now defunct coffee shop. She'd still had a job this morning, but she hadn't quite gotten around to telling any of her roommates she'd suddenly joined the ranks of the unemployed.
Standing alone, watching Marc as he said goodbye to Ben and Lola, she wished she were something better, someone more. A woman Marc might look up to and respect. A woman he could love.
He turned then, glanced at the house, and actually made eye contact with her for one brief moment. Then he bowed his head and, with both hands shoved deep in his pants pockets, walked slowly toward the front steps.
He couldn't have made his feelings any more obvious. It was clear he was dreading the idea of the two of them alone together for however long the hearings in Washington, DC lasted. Sighing, Mandy turned away and went inside. Marc walked slowly up the steps and followed her into the living room.
She'd wondered for weeks what it would be like, finally to be here alone with Marc.
Now she knew. It was going to be absolutely heartbreaking.
* * *
"Seems really strange with them gone, doesn't it?" Staring at Mandy's slim back as she walked through the front room and into the kitchen, Marc wondered how he was going to handle the next week. Damn, he hoped the hearings didn't last any longer.
Mandy opened the cabinet over the sink and grabbed a bottle of gin. "You have no idea," she said. Turning, she held up the bottle. "I think it calls for gin and tonic. You want one?"
She looked stiff and uncomfortable. Mandy was usually so laid back, relaxed, and cheerful. She always managed to make him laugh, and he enjoyed being around her. He'd worked really hard at keeping his feelings buried, and she'd made it easy. She hadn't come on to him the way so many women did — especially the ones who knew what he was worth.
He'd never realized what a problem having money could be, but Mandy wasn't the least bit impressed. She teased him the way she teased her friends Kaz and Jake, and Ben and her sister. She treated Marc exactly the same as the ones she thought of as her family, and yet she had no idea how much that meant to him.
Tonight though, she really wasn't acting like herself. He had no idea at all what was going on, but a drink sounded like a good place to start. "Yeah," he said. "I'll get the lime and tonic water."
"Thanks." She set the bottle on the counter, paused there for a moment, and then bowed her head. "I'm sorry. I'm not going to be very good company. I already miss Lola." She raised her head and sent him a sad little smile. "We've never been apart more than a couple of days. Not ever."
"She said this is her first flight."
Mandy nodded. "It is. I'm still waiting for my turn." She sighed and handed the bottle to him when he reached for it.
"Sit," he said. "I'll make 'em."
"Thanks." She took one of the stools at the counter, propped an elbow on the granite, and rested her chin in her palm. She looked absolutely lost.
This went way beyond her sister going on a trip.
He kept glancing her way as he grabbed two glasses out of another cabinet, found the tonic water in the refrigerator, and snagged a lime out of the basket on the counter. She hadn't budged, hadn't said a word. "Cheer up, Mandy. She'll be back before you know it."
Mandy nodded and stared out the back window.
He added ice and mixed the drinks, but it was weird with Mandy so quiet. She usually had something funny to say about everything. Not tonight, but he wondered if it might be something else — her gloomy behavior seemed a little excessive just because Lola had taken off on a trip.
Maybe she just needed to relax. He knew he did. Ever since he'd learned that Ben and Lola were going to make this trip, that he and Mandy would be here alone, he'd been a wreck.
He finished making the drinks and topped them off with an extra shot of gin. Then, squeezing a slice of lime into each of the glasses, he handed one to Mandy.
"Thanks." She took a sip and sighed. "Tastes good. How come we never put you in charge of the drinks?"
"All you have to do is ask." He took the stool beside hers and sipped his drink. Maybe he was taking a risk, sitting so close, but something was wrong and it wasn't in him to ignore a friend. Especially Mandy. "Okay, Mandy. Are you going to tell me what's really bothering you?"
She shook her head, but at least she smiled. "How'd you know?"
"Big block letters scrawled across your pouty little face."
This time she laughed. "You are such a charmer."
"Perceptive, too, I think." He wished he could tell her how many nights he'd fallen asleep, imagining her above him, beneath him, her honey-blond hair framing her beautiful face.
No way was that going to happen. Not with Mandy.
She was much too special, and he cared for her too much to take the risk. He never touched Mandy, never allowed himself the luxury, but for whatever reason, he reached out and used his fingers to push her long bangs out of her eyes.
Her head snapped up at his touch, her lips parted. Her brown eyes, so unusually dark with all that streaky blond hair waving this way and that around her face, had filled with questions.
He ignored them. "Talk to me, Mandy. Tell me."
"I lost my job today." Her lips trembled, she rubbed her hand over her eyes, and Marc wanted to hold her so much he ached.
Mandy let out a slow breath, but she wouldn't look at him. "My boss shut the coffee shop down without any notice or warning. I've worked there for seven years, and there was nothing, no 'thank you for all your help,' nothing. I went in this morning to work and she handed me my final paycheck and said she'd decided to close this one because the new shop was doing so well. When I think of all the hours I've worked without overtime, all the days off I've given up ..." She raised her head and her expression was bleak. "I feel used, Marc. Like I never mattered to her at all. I thought we were friends. I watched her kids for her when she was in a bind, took her soup when she was sick, but she opened a new shop downtown, hired all new people, and closed this one without even warning me."
"That sucks, Mandy. Damn. I am so sorry." He wasn't sure how, but in a heartbeat she slipped past his defenses. He had his arms around her, holding her the way he'd dreamed since the first time he met her a little over two months ago. She felt even better than he'd imagined. Her cotton knit dress hugged her curves, and once he held her, he knew she wasn't wearing a bra. Everything about Mandy felt soft and warm and so wonderfully feminine.
Her hands slipped over his waist, slowly crept around him, almost tentatively, as if she wasn't sure of his response, so he hugged her tighter. She needed it right now, needed him.
And damn it all, he needed her. Needed Mandy Monroe more than he'd ever needed or wanted anyone or anything in his entire life.
* * *
She'd wondered what it would feel like if Marc ever hugged her. She'd imagined all the bells and whistles, the thrill of their bodies coming together, the shivers and fireworks of sexual awareness she'd read about but had never experienced. Now? As she nestled close to his broad chest, heard the steady beat of his heart beneath her ear, felt the warmth of his breath on her cheek, she felt none of those things. What she felt was something so much stronger, so powerful, it left her stunned.
For the first time since she was a little girl growing up with the world's most dysfunctional mother, Mandy felt as if she'd truly come home. Sighing, she allowed herself this one moment in time and held on to Marcus Reed as if she'd never let him go.
But the most amazing part of his simple hug given for comfort? It didn't feel like Marc wanted to let go of her, either.
Long minutes later, he sighed. "You okay?"
Well, she knew it had to end at some point. "Yeah." Drawing in a deep breath, she straightened. "Thanks."
He smiled as he released her; she sat straighter on her stool in front of the counter. Took a sip of her drink. Stared at the lime slice floating on top of the ice. It was easier than looking at Marc, easier than seeing that "I'm your good buddy" look on his face.
His drop-dead gorgeous face. And the best thing about all that absolute deliciousness? He didn't have a clue how attractive she found him. He was naturally classy, his body trim and toned, not muscle-bound, but all lean strength and almost patrician good looks. His short, thick hair was so dark brown it was almost black, and he wore it neatly trimmed most of the time. Only on a few occasions had it come even close to touching his collar the way it was now. Marc looked like an aristocrat — it was easy to imagine him in a sleek, black tux, sipping a martini in a classy nightclub somewhere.
Not here in her kitchen wearing a ragged T-shirt that fit like a second skin, and faded black jeans resting low on his hips, hugging his perfect butt.
Even his bare feet were sexy.
"I've got an idea." He stood and held out a hand, bringing her back to reality.
Raising her head, she grinned at him. "What? Besides getting blitzed on gin and tonic, that is." She took his hand. They never held hands unless he was tugging her somewhere, but she'd never been so aware of being alone with him before. She glanced at their clasped hands. He must really be feeling sorry for her.
His fingers tightened around hers and he laughed. "Well, we can do that, too. I unpacked a couple of boxes I hadn't emptied since the move and found the six-episode set of Star Wars movies I thought I'd lost. How's that sound?"
He leered at her. Mandy giggled. Marc didn't strike her as the leering type, but then she wasn't much of a giggler, either.
"I promise to continue refreshing your drink."
Actually, that didn't sound like too bad an idea. "Be still my heart," she said, reaching for her gin and tonic. Laughing as he tugged her along behind him, she followed Marc into the front room. "A Star Wars marathon while being plied with cheap gin sounds like a marvelous way to spend a Saturday evening."
Sliding Rico, her basset hound, to one side, Mandy got comfortable on the couch while Marc stuck a DVD in the player. When he walked back to sit, she thought he'd take the recliner, but instead he slid Rico a little bit farther along the leather seat and sat between the old dog and Mandy.
He put his bare feet on the coffee table. "You're not going to yell at me, are you?"
"No. What for? You're not wearing shoes." Lola had strict rules about feet on furniture with shoes.
He grinned at her, and damn but he had the sexiest smile. "Not the feet on the table, silly. This." He settled close beside her on the well-worn couch and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "You've gotta have an arm around the girl if you're at the movies."
He had to be kidding if he thought she'd yell at him for this. Kidding or just terribly dense. She welcomed the weight of his arm resting over her shoulders. Snuggled close and inhaled his scent, subtle but so very much his own. "No," she said. "Not gonna yell." Then she sighed. "Too bad we're out of popcorn."
Excerpted from Awakened by Kate Douglas. Copyright © 2016 Kate Douglas. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mark had dreamed many times of a man killing a woman he didn’t know who they were or when this happened but the man had his eyes. Mandy was interested in Mark but he showed no interest in her. Mandy and her sister Lola hadn’t really been apart, they had been alone so much as kids it was like they raised themselves. Now Lola was off to D C with Ben her boyfriend. Mandy had lusted after Mark for years and when they finally met she fell in love with him. Mandy had worked at a coffee shop and with no warning the owner closed it. Mandy had worked at the coffee shop for seven years. Mark felt bad for Mandy and he held her in his arms like he wanted to since the day he met Mandy he just couldn’t let her know for her own protection. Mark needed Mandy more then he had ever needed or wanted anything in his life. Ben was Mark’s best friend. Before actually meeting Mark Mandy had seen Mark pedaling past the coffee shop a lot and Mark became her dream guy. Then Mark’s home burnt down and he moved in with them. Mark ends up telling Mandy everything including the nightmares and his fears. Mandy stands by Mark and convinces Mark to see a Hypnotherapist to help him figure out his dreams. Mark had an old friend Ted who is with the FBI and he helps Mark search for the truth as well as closure. Mark had thought he had hurt someone but in reality it was his father killing his mother. I hadn’t read the previous two books but I will. This was a well written story with a very good plot. I really liked it when Mandy and Mark came together although it went from friends to being in love a little too quick for me. But otherwise I didn’t have any problems with this story. I loved the characters and the suspense and action. I also love the ins and outs of this story and I highly recommend.
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 3 1/2 Awakened was the final installment in the Intimate Relations trilogy. This was a good ending to a good series. It has been fun to watch Marc and Mandy dance around each other over the last two books. It was good to finally see them act on their lust. It was also so great to see how strong Mandy is. Marc couldn’t have asked for a better partner. If you haven’t read this series and you enjoy romance suspense. You will enjoy this series. I really can’t wait to see what Kate has in store for us next. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley & St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
I really liked the story as well as the characters Mandy and Marc were so wonderful together. There is plenty of drama and suspense as they search out the reason for Marc’s nightmares. Will they like what they uncover or will this keep them apart? This is a good read, the story held my interest throughout.
Marcus Reed is tormented by violent dreams. He needs to know if they are really suppressed memories. Did he really strangle a woman with his bare hands? Mandy, his friend and lover, is there to help him. He cares for her and wants to make sure that it's safe for them to be together. Marc is such a wonderful hero. He's kind and caring, but unsure of himself when it comes to love. His father is a cruel and greedy man who doesn't care for his son. Now that Marc is wealthy he wants his money. His mother left her young son without a goodbye. Or did she? Mandy is sweet and loves working with people. Her outgoing personality is different from Marc's, but they fit together so well. They are an amazing couple. When Marc's dreams reveal that his mother was murdered by his father, I couldn't stop reading. I needed to know if they can get justice for his mother after 30 years? Kate Douglas did an amazing job. The story is well written and suspenseful. I loved the hint of the paranormal when Marc and Mandy hear his mother. I loved seeing characters from previous stories in the Intimate Relations series. Everything comes together. I loved how they all had each other's back and formed their own family. I enjoy the writing of Kate Douglas. Her romantic suspense stories are addictive. I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Awakened, Kate Douglas Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance, suspence Third book in Kate’s intimate relations series, I enjoyed the first two and this looked to be a great continuation. We’ve seen Kaz and Jake fall in love, then Jake's brother Ben falls for Kaz friend Lola, and now Jake's friend Marc is falling for Mandy, Lola’s sister. Confused yet?? A close group of friends and it could be quite sickly, incestuous almost they way the group is finding romance within its bounds, but its not, its a strong, well written suspense series, with the friends and siblings all falling in love, but with stories that make it all feel real, fell very genuine. After all its only natural when you love someone to introduce them to your close friends and family, and then they have friends and families too and suddenly a small group of people all know each other, some of whom have much in common, and attractions begin. I loved Marc right from book one, its always been clear he’s got a kind of front, that behind the facade there's a very different man. Mandy had a crush on him years before she even met him, seeing him cycling past the coffee shop where she works. Then he enters the small group by way of Jake, and she’s stunned to find him there, at her home, drinking and eating with her friends. Each is really attracted to the other but hide it for their own reasons. Mandy is just lovely, always out to help others, to do good, she gives so much, loves her job where she meets people. She's one of those who are great at that, everyone becomes a friend very quickly. Then Lola and Ben are away at the same time as Kaz and Jake, and Mandy and Marc are thrown closer – that's it for Marc, if he doesn’t kiss her Now he’ll go out of his mind. He’s stunned when he finds Mandy is really attracted to him too. But this is one of Kate’s suspense stories so no straightforward HEA for them ;-) Marc’s nightmares are getting worse, he’s been hiding them, fearful of what they mean, of what he sees about himself in them. then one night it comes to a head, Mandy finds out and from there the dangers race up on them, bringing together the whole gang, including Ted the FBI guy they met when Ben was in trouble. He’s now left the fibbies and is working for Marc and boy, does he hit the ground running. He’s staying with Theo, Marc’s right hand man, as his usual hotel is full and ...well, sparks fly there too! Its a great read, well paced with a great balance between the hot and carnal romance and the quickly stacking up dangers. There’s a couple of incidences that niggled, one where Marc acts to me really out of character, but it is reasonably plausible, and is needed to move that plot forward. His dad’s timing seems very co-incidental, but then again no book if it hadn’t all come together right now :-) There one element where I was rolling my eyes “please, Kate, no. Not that again...” and waiting for something to happen from it, and then when it does – or doesn’t I found myself muttering apologies to Kate, she didn’t use that well worn plot, didn’t let it go the way far too many others do, I should have had more faith in her!! Its kind of hard to say without giving things away but when you read it I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I mean – its something that happens far, far to often in romance reads. This isn’t just a romance read though, but romantic suspense, it it deserved – and got- better than an overused plot. Stars:
This is a great book; this is the third book in the Intimate Relations series written by Kate Douglas. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. This was such a great read and full of surprises. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
True to this series' style, Douglas delivers steamy sex, a sweet love story and plenty of action to balance it all. Marc and Mandy's story fits right into this group of friends and their M.O., so fans of Douglas will be happily satisfied. * I received an arc for an honest review
3.75 stars-- AWAKENED is the third and final installment in Kate Douglas’s contemporary, adult INTIMATE RELATIONS erotic, romantic suspense series focusing on a tight knit group of friends. This is billionaire/IT developer/vineyard owner Marc Reed, and barista Mandy Monroe’s story line. AWAKENED can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty but I recommend reading the series in order of back story and information about the friendships and hardships the characters have had to endure. Told from dual third person perspectives (Marc and Mandy) AWAKENED follows the building relationship between billionaire Marc Reed, and coffee shop barista Mandy Monroe. Throughout the series Marc and Mandy have been dancing around one another; the sexual attraction is palpable but neither one made any movement to attract the other’s attention. When Mandy’s roommates and their significant others leave town for the week, Marc makes his move and the couple is quick make up for lost time. The mystery and suspense weaves itself from the beginning when Marc’s nightmares reveal the truth about happened in the past as Marc and Mandy begin to unravel the clues that have remained dormant in Marc’s mind. A search for the truth brings danger and threats to our leading couple. The story line follows several paths including a small look at each of the couples from the previous installments including photographer Jake Lowell and his fiancé/model Kaz Kasanov; US Army major and Jake’s brother Ben Lowell, and his fiancé/PA Lola Monroe (Mandy’s sister); and Nate and Cassie Dunagan from the prequel novella-TANGLED- that can be found in the HOT ALPHAS anthology (May 2015). AWAKENED is a story of romance and intrigue; betrayal and revenge; family and friends. The premise is fateful; the characters are passionate and colorful; the romance is intimate and affectionate. AWAKENED wraps up several loose ends between all of the couples, as well as the introduction of a new couple considered a part of the extended family. Kate Douglas’s INTIMATE RELATIONS series is engaging, enjoyable and will captivate your imagination.
his is the last in the series, it's wrapping everything up and we get a lot of the previous couples as well as a whole new mystery to solve. Marc, has harbored a crush on Mandy since first meeting her. Because of his questionable past, he's been keeping things platonic between them, too scared to risk her happiness and safety. Even though what he really feels is light years away from the friendship zone he's put them in. He soon finds out that Mandy has been yearning for him just as fiercely. When left alone, these two finally face the music, and holy crap is it hot! I loved Mandy, she was a strong heroine, never backing down and always ready to fight for the man she loves. She was a confident, fearless and supportive woman. Pairing her with Marc was genius! I also really liked Marc, he is definitely a more beta Hero. I liked his tender giving side, he brought all the feels in the relationship. it was a little heartbreaking to see him doubting himself and bracing himself for the worst outcome every time he got even a small taste of happiness. This was a story of love, friends and family. Marc and Mandy's relationship was a fast one. It was sweet and loving but I wanted a little more built up for them. That being said, I had a hard time caring about the big mystery in this one. All the tidbits we get are easily and quickly revealed, resolved and over with. This started off so good - The relationship was hot, the characters were interesting and the pacing was spot on. Than it sadly started to drastically slow down for me. There was a lot going on and I was glued to my reader because I just had to know what was going to happen one minute and then it just stopped! It ended up feeling very anti-climatic. (view spoiler) In the end it lacked excitement, or maybe a spark of energy? It started with a bang but half way through the pacing and the storytelling veered off track and I never recovered the same level of interest. I did finish it and although I really enjoyed Marc and Mandy as a couple and I loved the cute ending it was not enough to make up for the lack of suspense the plot desperately needed. *** ARC provided for an honest review ***
3 - "Things have changed over the past couple weeks or so..." Stars. Awakened isn’t the first book I have read by this author, but it is the first full book in the Intimate Relations series that I have read. It’s advertised as a standalone, and yes on the whole I would agree with that, I don’t think missing the previous two was detrimental to my reading experience with this one, but I do think it may have been beneficial in the overall scheme of things. "I’m much better with software than I am with women." My main reason for saying that is that the relationship between Marc and Mandy is light-speed-insta, one minute they are friends that are attracted to each other, the next in love, talking about babies and marriage. Marc is most certainly in touch with his softer side, I honestly cannot recall another male fictional character that I have read previously that shed as many tears as he did. "Unrequited lust isn’t all it’s cracked up to be." I wonder if it felt like this because I missed out on seeing their attraction build through the first two books. Again not a massive problem, but for all the ‘insta’ I struggled to actually see much of a connection between them, to such a point that apart from the sexy-times, Mandy came over almost 'motherly' in her behavior and interactions towards Marc. The suspense aspect of the story-line was pretty enjoyable for the first half, a little bit of action and intrigue was thrown into the mix at regular intervals, and the rapid developments and explanations of Marc’s nightmares/visions through hypnosis to discover the truth were dropped into the plot very quickly. But it all seemed to lose steam in the second half, for me. "You’re the most important thing I don’t have." The author did a really good job of tying everything up with the previous couples and the other newly formed couple in this book, at the end, but I have to admit after such an action filled beginning I felt a little underwhelmed with the way everything was tied up. I would definitely look to read more from Kate Douglas, I am just not sure I will jump into a series without reading the preceding books first, next time. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.