Author: Elle Aycart
Series: Book #2 in the Bowen Brothers series
Release Date: 29 May 2012
Number of pages: 251 pages
Publisher: Loose Id.
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon
Grade: 4 stars
Goodreads appetizer: Steering clear of relationships has never been difficult for demolitions expert Cole Bowen, but now, with his brother's engagement sending the female population into full-blown hysterics and the town of Alden's month-long festivities helping along, he finds himself in hell. When he discovers Alden's new resident and the object of all his wet dreams, Christine Sheridan, has sworn off relationships and is going to hire a gigolo to get professionally laid, he decides to kill two birds with one stone.
Christy is so not drinking again. Thanks to José Cuervo she has her friends signing her up for stud conventions and Cole frigging Bowen offering sex in exchange of fake dates, which is so out of the question it isn't even funny. She knows the domineering man will push her boundaries, and after battling all her life with self-esteem issues, she isn't ready for that. Too bad he won't take no for an answer.
Cole is determined to strip away all of her defenses but refuses to lower his ever-present walls, so when Christy realizes she wants more, she's left with only two options; walk away or crack his shield and risk her heart in the process.
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.
My Thoughts: You might remember how much I loved Elle Aycart's debut novel More than Meets the Ink, it was one of 2011's revelations, so when I heard the joyous news that Elle Aycart was busy writing its sequel, the story of how James' (the hero in More than Meets the Ink) big brother, Cole found love I was counting back the months, and Heavy Issues was everything I dreamed it would be and even more!
He looked around, spotting her right away. It never failed. It was as if he was tuned to her on a primal level, as if she was his beacon. Hell, all he had to do was close his eyes, follow his dick, and it would invariably lead him to her. She was hell on his libido.
“I, Christine Sheridan, vow that I’m done. No more searching for husband material. Or for love. No more meaningful long-term relationships. Just give me orgasms! Big, mind-blowing ones!” she added, flashing a look at her girlfriends, who were dissolving into giggles. Christy fought to keep her face straight and continued, “I’m getting on with my sex life and I…will…get…my…stud!”
It took her some moments to realize that her friends’ laughter had suddenly died out and someone was clearing his throat.
“Holy tamoli. It works,” she heard Annie mumbling.
He needed to get some things cleared up before she put herself on the market, hooked up with some stupid asshole, and Cole found himself upstate doing time for murder. Determined, he marched to her table and placed the engagement ring on it.
“We need to talk,” he all but barked.
“I’m very attracted to you, so it won’t be a burden to fuck you. Not by a long shot.”
She snorted in derision. “Jeez, thanks…I think.”
“Don’t be crude.”
He shrugged. “Sorry, I can’t change that either. I am what I am, and my crudeness is what’s making you pant, babe.”
Oh yeah, totally true! Cole’s dominant no-nonsense alpha maleness gave even me a very independent and headstrong reader shivers of delight.
Their deal seems to work at the beginning but soon they can’t help the feelings that start developing between them, and Elle Aycart wonderfully brings the heartache and romantic angst to the table.
Besides the plenty of hot sex, one of the main plotlines is how both Cole and Christy overcome or at least learn to accept and deal/live with their own heavy issues. Neither of them had happy childhood: Cole was only 10, the eldest of three brothers when his mother left them and he still hasn’t overcome his abandonment and commitment issues, while Christy’s coping mechanism was compulsive/emotional eating. Reading about their struggles and the very realistic description of Christy’s problems and body image issues was both horrifying and saddening as I felt her pain and discouragement. Her belief in her own unworthiness and then how Cole tried to convey to her how he really saw her made me tear up. Just one of these scenes:
“My body is covered in marks, Cole.”
Big deal. “Mine too, sweetheart.”
She snorted. “Yours are war scars.”
“Yours too, Christy. I waged war with others while you waged war with yourself. It’s the same. It’s just life; there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We both survived. This body tells its own story, and it’s an amazing story. You are amazing.”
Verdict: I enjoyed Heavy Issues a lot. It had a great story, lots and lots of steamy, tingly, scorching hot sex scenes, and the writing was superb as well: detailed enough so the reader could see and feel what the characters were feeling and yet the story flew smoothly. I just love how Elle Aycart makes her male characters sound so genuine and credible. They are unapologetic about being themselves, they don’t watch their language and it was darn sexy. This second story in Elle Aycart’s Bowen Brothers series is aptly titled, there were some heavy issues on both Cole and Christy’s side but I loved how their relationship developed and progressed and how they each helped the other overcome their issues. And the end, the Cole’s protective walls cracked and crumbled was just the perfect both touching and sexy ending! Heavy Issues was a fantastic story and I can’t wait to read Max’s story in book #3!