Monday, April 15, 2013

Off Limits Review

Book Review April 14th

Off Limits (Off Series #2)

by: Sawyer Bennett

5 Stars ★★★★★

BLURB: Two years ago, Emily Burnham, had an epiphany about the shallowness of her life. And she made it her mission to become a different person…a better woman. Out from under the controlling thumb of her mother, Emily is tasting the real world for the first time. And she likes it. 

Nixon Caldwell has served his time in the Marine Corps, surviving two brutal tours in Afghanistan. He is back home, surrounded by what he likes best…isolation. It's certainly the best way to avoid confrontation of the consuming guilt that is weighing him down.

When an accident brings Emily and Nix together, he soon learns he is not the master of his own fate. Struggling with his own pain, Nix tries to guard himself against Emily’s charms. He wants her in his bed, but he doesn’t want her in his heart.
Having grabbed life by the horns, Emily wants it all. But is she willing to accept just the small part of himself that Nix is offering? Can she reach the part of his soul that he has deemed to be Off Limits?

*Copy Received from Author for Review*
Let’s just say when I read Off Sides a few months ago it was an Amazon Freebie that I was thoroughly impressed by. I loved it. Off Limits was just as wonderful if not better. And to ward off any confusion, this book takes place a few years after the end of Off Sides and features Ryan’s sister Emily. (Don’t worry Danny and Ryan still make a few appearances.) Though, the covers may be similar this book has barely anything to do with hockey  and is vastly different in its own right, but Nix is more than enough to handle so the missing sports element is replaced with an angsty, war veteran in need of a strong woman. 

“I may love all things related to sports but I have no desire to ever date an athlete.” – Emily

Emily has come a far way from being the stuck up socialite we met in Off Sides. She is no longer under the thumb of her controlling mother and is instead enrolled at Colombia working on a degree in her secretive major. Secretive because her mother demands she either choose law or medicine as her focus because of her father’s potential run for president. When the time comes to stand up to her mother and even her father, Emily does not hesitate. Granted, she fears losing access to her trust fund but as a woman not used to living frugally or even worrying about expenses, no one can blame her. 

“I’m just… weirdly attracted to him, that’s all. He’s like the forbidden fruit.” – Emily

As most of us know, when we’re stuck in a pickle life tends to get a bit more interesting… Living an under the radar life like Emily, she manages to find herself in a calamity with Nix. After interviewing his hockey star brother, Emily accidentally runs into and over Nix and his motorcycle. Nix has some anger issues and blows a gasket. The two come to an agreement that Emily will work for his as a secretary of sorts filing and sorting his business documents until the debt is paid off. 

Obviously the sexual tension is off the charts with these two. There may be an instant attraction but there is no way an insta-love connection. Both of them are as confused about their feelings as each other and when they decide to take it a bit further no one wants or expects love to become a factor. Nix is still dealing with a tremendous amount of guilt and pain from his time in Afghanistan two years ago. Emily is like a buffer for him and works as a calming balm for his soul just like his service dog, who is a sweetie by the way… Emily, though her situation is different, is dealing with her own life dramas as well including a crazy spoiled ex who won’t take no for an answer. 

The road to love between these two was refreshing to witness. The story line was not too predictable and Nix gets his act together when the time is right. And I loved the description of his work and studio. He made such amazing pieces from motorcycles to sculptures all hand crafted that clearly help keep his mind focused and money in his pocket.  Both Nix and Emily are so real. After serving, Nix does not feel he fits in anywhere else because his job skills are a bit on the unconventional side. He does not realize how amazing the work he does now is, especially because it’s something he wants to do and not everyone can have their dream job. 

“He’s wallowed in so much guilt and misery for so long, I think the idea that he could actually be a true hero is too much of a foreign concept to him.” – Emily

My only disappointment was the drama with her ex Todd. It felt like there was some buildup to something good. And then, wham! It turns into nothing. Not even Nix gets his moment of pummeling someone. It just felt out of place and made me wonder why this added element of suspense was added if for no other reason than space and drama. 

I’m a sucker for an epilogue and just the fact that this book had one made me happy (even if it made me sad to be at the end).  Nix worked through his issues, and though he’ll never be fully over his wartime experience, Emily helped him face reality and now he also has his best friend back and a ginormous weight lifted off his shoulders. Perhaps this is why the real Nix, the one with a romantic side comes through in the end without having to second guess his every thought and word. 

OK, so HOLY ever Loving HE#L, Nix’s tattoos are sick!!! It was pure genius to include the entire thing at the end but I honestly could not believe how much writing was involved. His tattoo is massive and until I saw all the writing it never occurred to me how much space it must cover. 

Things I loved
Emily singing the True Blood theme song, LOL moment!!
Emily making friends at the biker bar!!

Everyone who read Off Sides should definitely read Off Limits. And even if you haven’t read it, I would recommend this book. Off Limits has everything from a motorcycle driving bad boy to a smart mouth journalism student with controlling parents. The two don’t seem to mesh on the outside but the road to happiness for the two was very enjoyable to witness and I hope there is more in store for these characters. I have a feeling Nix’s brother Linc, may be up next..!!!


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