Lara Valley is determined to create a better life for herself, working her way through nursing school as a bartender and avoiding relationships, especially with lady killer Johnny Devlin, the tempting, sexy mechanic who’s suddenly her knight in shining armor.
Johnny enjoys his life. Working at Webster’s Garage with his best friends is satisfying, and socializing together at their favorite dive bar is the perfect way to wind down. And yeah, Lara the gorgeous bartender is a nice distraction, but Johnny is a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy, and she’s turned him down enough times to make it clear she’s not going out with him, despite the fact that their attraction is obvious to everyone. Lara is friendly but standoffish, and everyone at Ray’s bar knows she’s not interested in relationships, that she’s driven and ambitious and keeping her eyes on the prize of getting her nursing degree. But things change the night Lara gets attacked by an amorous customer who won’t take no for an answer and Johnny comes to her aid. Suddenly the thought of a real relationship seems like a good fit for them. Lara sees a deeper side to the charming lady’s man, and Johnny may have discovered a woman he’s willing to commit to. But as their relationship turns serious, the stress of Lara’s schedule and some family turmoil take their tolls, and Johnny’s fears of not being good enough for his smart, striving girlfriend threaten their ability to find balance and happiness. Harte’s take on the redeemed bad boy is fresh and sexy, though the class and self-esteem conflicts become slightly strained in the final act. Scorching sex scenes and gritty language are appropriate to the plot and characters but are further along the heat/cursing spectrum than many mainstream romances, so timorous readers should beware.
A romance as brash and dynamic as its setting and characters.