Title: The Good Chase
Author: Hanna Martine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Highland Games (Book #2)
Publication Date: December 2, 2014
Format: Paperback, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 0425267520 (Penguin/Berkley)
ISBN-13: 978-0425267523 (Penguin/Berkley)
Reviewed by: Steph
Gleann, New Hampshire’s annual highland games always deliver the best of Scottish culture—rowdiness, rugby, whiskey, and unexpected romance…
Even though Shea Montgomery’s swanky bar and distinguished palate have made her a highly regarded whiskey connoisseur, she’s happiest bringing her favorite spirit to various highland games around New England. Her demanding ex made her wary of men obsessed with money and status, and she’s now more comfortable in the country than in the city. Still, when a gorgeous rugby player straight from Wall Street barrels into her whiskey tent, she’s tempted to change her mind…
J.P. Byrne went from poor beginnings to international high roller by using his charisma and wit, and holding fast to his dreams. A strong, independent woman like Shea is exactly what he’s looking for, only he has no idea how to prove he’s more than his three-piece suits—especially when he’s spent years doing just the opposite.
But as Shea and Byrne battle old demons, they discover together that the best remedy for past pain is a good, stiff shot of present pleasure…
Quick & Dirty: A riveting and often funny love story that caught me completely by surprise. Romance lovers will definitely not be disappointed!
Opening Sentence: I need a hot guy in a kilt.
Shea Montgomery has a dream of owning her own whisky distillery someday. She’s even picked out the perfect location. For now though, she’ll settle for running a very popular whisky bar in New York, one that gets hired for a lot of Highland Games events. At one such event, she runs into Byrne, a rugby player who does his very best to charm her. It works, but Shea has very strict rules about mixing business and pleasure, not to mention the fact that she is very wary of wealthy men, and Byrne is incredibly wealthy. As he keeps popping into her life though, her resistance starts to wear down. She finds herself more and more drawn to him and can’t help but wonder if maybe she should throw her rules out the window for once. Will Shea find the courage to take a risk on Byrne?
I’d been putting off reading this book because plain old contemporary romance (without any suspense and/or paranormal elements) really doesn’t do anything for me. Boy, was I surprised when I was hooked on this book by the time the first chapter was done! The characters are wonderful and easy to connect to, and the story moves at a very good pace, but not one that makes it feel like things are moving too fast on the romance front. Granted, Shea and Byrne are talking about sleeping together by the time the book reaches the 20 percent mark, but for some reason, it really didn’t feel rushed in this case. The chemistry between the two is so strong that you’re just itching for the two of them to get together already.
One issue I had with Shea had to do with her attitude towards rich people. I understand that her marriage was bad and her ex is a rich douchebag, but I could not understand why that one experience made her think every rich person was like that. Some of the initial thoughts she has about “Bespoke Byrne” as she calls him are very unkind and made her seem a little unlikeable at first. Once she started seeing Byrne for who he really was though, she really opened up as a character and that unlikeable part of her personality dropped away.
My absolute favorite thing about this book is how real it all felt. It’s often hard to find a lot of realism in romance novels, but here, practically everything that happened felt true to life. The problems Byrne and Shea have – both individually and in their journey as a couple – felt like problems that could actually happen to someone. Nothing felt contrived, like it was just there to serve as a conflict in the romance. I greatly appreciated that, and it made me love the book all the more for it.
All in all, this was a very entertaining read and a wonderful romance story. I will definitely be looking into more books by this author in the future and hope that they are just as good as this one was!
When Shea opened her mouth, out came this throaty voice that had Byrne tightening the grip on his beer glass so hard he thought it might shatter.
She sang with the microphone set on the stand, her torso loose and flowing, accenting the words in perfect time. She didn’t make eye contact with the audience, but sang to some unseen ex-lover far past the heads of everyone who watched and listened. The song built and built, her tone controlled and sad in the beginning, but then as the emotion grew, the lyrics echoing frustration and loss and heartbreak, she just…let it loose.
That voice. That voice.
He thought about all that she’d revealed to him up in Gleann about her dreams of the distillery. At the time he thought he’d learned so much about her, but she’d still held back. He’d just cracked the surface with her, and it was like he was a treasure hunter who’d broken down a wall to find a vast cavern filled with jewels beyond.
To see her up onstage – that presence, that clear passion – dear God, he didn’t know if he’d seen anything like it. She loosened up as the song went on, the release coursing through her body and voice, just like she’d said it would. By the time the song finished and she was gripping the microphone stand in both hands, her legs braced apart, the power of the finality of her voice ringing through the club, Byrne knew it. Was absolutely sure of it.
This was not mere attraction. It was complete and total infatuation.
Highland Games Series:
1. Long Shot
1.5 Play for Me
FTC Advisory: Penguin/Berkley provided me with a copy of The Good Chase. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.