Title & Series: HERO BY NIGHT (Independence Falls #3)
Author: Sara Jane Stone
Release date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Avon Impulse
He was nobody’s hero until he landed in the wrong bed…
Armed with a golden retriever and a concealed weapons permit, Lena Clark is fighting for normal. She served her country, but the experience left her emotionally numb and estranged from her career-military family. Staying in Independence Falls seems like the first step to reclaiming her life until the town playboy stumbles into her bed…
Chad Summers is living his dream—helicopter logging by day and slipping between the sheets with Mrs. Right Now by night. Until his wild nights threaten his day job, leaving Chad with a choice: prove he can settle down or kiss his dream goodbye. But when he ends up in the wrong bed, the one woman in Independence Falls he can’t touch offers a tempting proposition. Chad is ready and willing to give in to the primal desire to make Lena his at night—on one condition. By day, they pretend their relationship is real.
But their connection extends beyond the bedroom, threatening to turn their sham into reality if Chad can prove he’s the hero Lena needs night and day… forever.
Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
With a sexy cover and a mouth-watering description HERO BY NIGHT held the promise of swoon-worthy romance and a story that sizzled. What it delivered instead were the bare bones of a story deficient in richness and development, a rushed and unsatisfying romance, characters whose connection felt weak, ideas that were incomplete, and situations that lacked believability. Though it did bring the heat in a few steamy, if unrealistic for the characters, sex scenes.
It had all the makings for a captivating romance – a sexy player who needed to be reformed, a damaged but potentially strong woman who needed to be saved, a predicament that would allow both reluctant parties to come together and strike a bargain that would be mutually beneficial. Lena suffered from post traumatic stress disorder from her time in the military, leaving her vulnerable and afraid of being touched. Chad suffered from his mother’s abandonment, leaving him afraid of commitment. They perfectly complemented each other. But the short timeframe between when they first met and when they were “it” for one another left no real room for romance or for readers to connect with the characters or their love story.
The author asks a lot from readers to suspend disbelief time and time again in this installment of the series when it comes to her characters’ actions, their words, and the situations they found themselves in. From the start readers are expected to believe that someone as traumatized as Lena would feel comfortable enough to sleep in a friend’s home in the nude, would lock up her service dog – her protector – for fear of his shedding and chewing of furniture, then take half a sleeping pill and become so knocked out by it that she would not realize a man has entered the room and began touching her, and then not be completely freaked out by it when she realizes it is not, in fact, a dream.
Lena’s actions from the beginning, at least in the bedroom, were at odds with how damaged she was. She was bold, adventurous and curious and not in the least bit vulnerable. She took charge, she played games, and her fears seemed to disappear for those moments with Chad. There was no resemblance to the woman who shunned her husband, who feared physical contact and emotional connection.
Readers are also asked to believe that someone could lose their job for not being in a committed relationship, and then, essentially, have sufficiently proved that they are in a serious relationship by going on one pizza date where they have to step up and come to their date’s defense.
Further, there was no real showing of Lena’s progression and how Chad helped her realize her strength. Physical contact, such as brief touches and holding of hands happened, but these things were simply stated and not discussed as pretty momentous steps forward for her. And while Chad said all the right words, they felt hollow as there wasn’t anything to back up why he felt the way he did, what Lena did that brought on the change in him, or how she helped him overcome his years-long fear of abandonment in just a matter of days.
From its too quick timeline, to its poor development of the characters’ relationship, to certain juvenile elements such as note passing, to several far-fetched situations and scenarios, to its inconsistencies, unanswered questions and unfinished ideas, to a romance that fell flat, HERO BY NIGHT unfortunately missed the mark.