On Tuesday I posted the release blitz for this book and as promised, today it’s time for my review. This was my first Stacey Lynn book and once again I have to say it won’t be my last. Lately I’ve been discovering a lot of good authors. Now back to the review for This Time Around. What did I think of this book?
Cooper Hawke was everything I didn’t need. Rich and famous, and a high-profile actor, he lived a life of luxury while my life had always been much more simple.
Yet when he showed up at my cattle ranch in Kansas, he gave me everything I didn’t think I wanted again.
His marriage was over and he was lost.
I was still barely surviving in my grief after my husband’s sudden death.
As hard as I tried to keep him out, he slipped past my defenses, and slowly, a connection grew between us I could no longer deny.
But this time around, we were on borrowed time. Because Cooper still had his real life waiting for him back in Hollywood.
“What are you doing here?” I wrapped the robe around my waist, tightened the knot.
Goddamn it! He wasn’t supposed to see this.
That was what he asked. The urge to scream at him, to unleash holy terror for putting the idea into my head and making me feel, clawed at my throat. “No. Why are you in my room?”
“Because I couldn’t sleep on the couch thinking of you and then I started hearing all this racket like the ceiling was going to cave in on my head and thought I should come check on you.”
My brain must have malfunctioned. I must have skipped some words, rearranged them in the wrong order. He didn’t say what it sounded like.
He pinned me with a look. It stole the breath from my lungs. “You heard me.”
I slammed my mouth closed. If words were slipping out, when I didn’t mean them to, it was best to be quiet.
“Come out of the closet, Rebecca.”
He held out his hand. I ignored it.
I couldn’t breathe or move or focus.
He was standing outside my closet, and he was naked.
Not naked, naked. Mostly naked. He’d taken off the pants and shirt I’d given him and all he had on was a pair of black boxer briefs.
Skin-tight boxer briefs.
That showed every outline of him. And there was a lot of him to see.
My eyes darted to the side of the closet I’d swiped clean. Tomorrow, I’d bleach my eyes to erase that visual.
“I’m fine here.”
He laughed low and slow, beautiful and over too quickly. I was not moving.
“You don’t come out, I’m coming in there to get you.”
No way in hell was he touching me. Not dressed like that.
I stepped over the bucket of shoes at my feet and stepped into the room. He moved back, giving me space and crossed his arms over his chest.
It hid nothing. I couldn’t find a place to focus on.
I was losing my mind. It had to be sleep deprivation. I looked to my bed and ruffled covers which made me think of…
Nope. Not going there. I stared at the wall. It was cream and void of any decorations or photos. It was safe.
Finally, I breathed. He stood there, watching me, I felt it like I felt my skin crawling from his inspection.
“Want to talk about this?” he asked.
Nope. I didn’t. I didn’t want to say a single word to Cooper Hawke. The man in underwear in my bedroom.
I crossed my arms over my stomach. Uncrossed them. “No.” My hands went to my hair and I untangled my hair tie, shoving my hands back into my hair and re-fixing the messy knot. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“I might be able to help, you know. It’s not like I haven’t stood in a closet, wanting to do the exact same thing you’ve just done.”
“You can’t help me.”
He stepped closer. I shuffled back. He moved again. I retreated. He was getting closer when he needed to move back.
“Cooper,” I said, “Please. I need to be alone.”
“I thought we were friends.”
“What?” My gaze jumped to him, fell. Tight, tanned skin and black boxer briefs. A trail of hair from his bellybutton that disappeared beneath those briefs burned into my retinas. I squeezed my eyes closed. A futile attempt to erase that pretty, pretty sight.
“I thought we were friends,” he repeated.
I forced my eyes open and choked out, “We are.”
His full lips quirked into a grin. I knew that look. He had it downstairs. I did not like that look. Not one little bit. “Friends help each other, don’t they?”
“Friends respect what the other person wants and needs.”
I scooted away from him again and bumped into the wall next to my closet.
He took one more step toward me. Slowly. Like he’d done downstairs, allowing me time to move away, allowing me time to see his intention. My head screamed to move out of the way while my body shouted stay right where you are.
My body sucked.
He was in front of me, not touching me. Far enough away where he was in no danger of touching me.
I still wanted him to touch me.
His hand raised and he settled it on the wall above my shoulder. And I could smell him.
“Cooper. Why are you here?”
He didn’t even blink. “Because I want to help you.”
“I can try.”
Cover I love how bright this cover is. The colors used make it seem like a cover that’s perfect for the Spring and Summer. While we see a bit of the characters on the cover, we don’t see enough that makes it hard to make your own image of the characters while reading.
Plot Rebecca and Cooper are both dealing different tragedies that may be more similar than they think. Rebecca’s uncle Max, is Cooper’s agent, arranges for him to hide out on the family ranch. Cooper is going through some things with his soon to be ex-wife and being a popular movie star, doesn’t make it easy to go and hide away somewhere. A ranch in Kansas sounds like the perfect spot. Rebecca isn’t so sure seeing how she’s still getting over her husband’s death 8 months ago. Cooper knows nothing about farm life, but is willing to learn. He soon realizes that he picks it up pretty fast and it’s actually good for him. The author did a good job giving us a look inside the characters’ heads and gave us a duel POV. For a movie star, Cooper is really humble and I loved how caring he was. I loved how beside them facing tragedy and getting to know the other, we got a look in to the farm life Rebecca had going. It sounds like a beautiful place to live. Being in a small town makes things complicated at times and we got a taste of that. A lot of romances only focus on the couple so, it was nice to read about the friends Rebecca had and her protective brother. They seemed like an amazing group of people to have as a support system. Also, I loved that the author kept the drama to a minimum when it came to Camilla. It could’ve been dragged along or been a major deal. I liked that while we knew things were happening, it didn’t become the whole book. There was a nice balance of past, healing and learning to trust new people. I think the only reason this book didn’t get 5 stars was that I just recently read another book where the main character just lost her husband and was dealing with that. Reading multiple books like this so soon right after each other makes it seeem less original. This Time Around was definitely a beautiful story filled with healing and learning to love again. Life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes you need to take risks to find out what you need in life.
Characters Rebecca is a strong independent woman, who has a hard time asking for help. Losing her husband turned her life upside down, the fact that she lost her parents only a little while before that didn’t make things easier. She says she’s mad at her husband and they weren’t at the best terms when he died. We find out later in the book why she is having a hard time. Even though in ways she’s hiding in her house, the ranch is taken care of along with the animals. This is her life. Rebecca knows that her brother and friends want to help, but she needs to do this on her own. It’s nice to see her journey in realizing it’s okay to accept help and that life goes in ways we don’t always expect. She learns to let love in again.
Cooper is a movie star and women all over the place know who he is and wouldn’t mind a piece of him. Finding out your marriage didn’t mean as much as you thought, crushed him. He’s down to earth and realizing he may have missed signals before he found out more. Working on the farm changes him and before he realizes it, he’s really starting to care for Rebecca. Cooper knows he needs to be careful so he doesn’t scare her away and I love how sweet he is with her. Cooper can be tough when he needs to be, but he also knows when sweet and leave her be. His journey is realizing the spotlight isn’t the perfect place for him.
About the Author
Stacey Lynn currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children. When she’s not conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or on the boat with her family enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful, yet too short, summer.
She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.
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Have any of you ever read anything by Stacey Lynn? Or do you think you will after reading this excerpt and review?