Let me get this out of the way first.....yeah, this cover is smokin'. I have to say that even if you have never heard of this author or even read romance novels, this cover would make anyone pause and pick up the book. This has, as they say in real estate, curb appeal.
Having said that, though, I don't think he story lives up to the cover. The book is all kinds of hot, but it doesn't 100% deliver for me.
What did work for me:
The main characters were appealing. I thought the author did a great job of showing Tara as being a concerned mother who was hyper conscious of her role as a single mother and not wanting to make the mistakes with her son that her parents made with her. I also appreciated a lot of Tara's self doubts wrt her relationship with Mick. He was rich, famous, and sought after and she is not. She also knows he can absolutely hurt her. She was protective of that as well. So that made sense as was realistic.
Mick's internal dialogue saved him from being a bit of a cypher. So much of the story was from Tara's POV, that Mick seemed too much like this trophy, almost. But once the story gets going and his own internal thoughts get some air, we see why he finds Tara so appealing and why she seems to work for him.
The love story. It was a strong and affecting contemporary romance. It is really quite a simple formula of two people who are slowly falling in love and not quite sure how to handle it, even to point of denying it and being freaked out about it. Both Mick and Tara find in each other the person he/she really wants and are somewhat distrustful -- the too good to be true syndrome. I think the author handled this aspect really well. And for those readers who enjoy the fantasy element of romance, there is the whole hot rich guy sweeps regular gal off her feet with movie premiers, private planes and private islands etc. Eh, I don't vibe off that, but it was done nicely and not too over the top.
What didn't quite work for me:
The sex scenes integrating with the main story. I don't know what is was about this book but the sex scenes kept taking me out of the story. It got to the point that I started to skim them. I like a good sex scene and I don't mind explicit, hot erotica books. I actually enjoy them. But there was an odd dissonance between what was a largely enjoyable, sweet, love story and the graphic sex scenes.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely respect that people can be all sweetly, tender and schmoopy in love in public and then go all Vivid Video and Mandingo in the sack in private -- that isn't the issue really. I have read some great books that had a really tender or angsty or sweet romance wrapped around some seriously hot, adventurous sex (e.g. Liberating Lacey, Willing Victim, Relentless) that I thought were great at incorporating both the sex and the romance seamlessly. But for some reason, this one didn't integrate the two as well. Maybe the shifts were too abrupt? I dunno, I just got impatient with the sex. And I never get impatient with good sex!
A little card-boardy and some of the major ones were not characters in their own right but i felt they were simply there as a means to propel plot.
Overall a nice, quick read. I think people who like contemporary romances and don't mind explicit, graphic sex scenes will like it.