Heat Level: HOT, 18+
Angst Level: Not OTT
Warnings: Possible love triangle? Book #1 of a (3-book) series. It does not end mid-scene, but you will be looking for book #2. Thankfully, the expected release for book #2 is May (2013).
Honestly, Relentless was a FANTASTIC SURPRISE for me!! I just adore opening a new book, from a new-to-me author, settling in to read with very few expectations, and becoming completely absorbed by the storytelling!
Claire Nixon is twenty years old and hiding from life. She's run from college, from the family that raised her, and from the boyfriend that loved her and knew her best...who also just so happens to have skyrocketed to musical stardom in the past year. Twenty-two-year-old Adam Parker is, in his own way, running as far as possible from the life he resents, as well. The two meet at the coffee shop where Claire works and soon find themselves in a relationship. They're both determined to lock away some pretty big secrets but sometimes those locks don't hold. Trying to make a relationship work is tough at the best of times. What happens when the best of times seem like a distant, or even non-existent, memory?
Relentless is driven by the characters, which is what I love most about it. Those characters provide all the depth and complexity the story needs. There is deeply-felt emotion within the pages of this story, most especially as it progresses toward the end. Though I cannot discuss details, certain aspects of this story resonate a great deal with me, as I imagine it will with some others.
The characters themselves are, for lack of a better term, an interesting mess. Claire is, in many ways, a very young twenty-year-old. For someone who experienced such an ugly life as a child, she is very sheltered and quite innocent, which surprised me a bit. There *are* aspects of her personality, however, I found myself identifying with to a certain degree. I truly enjoyed her much more toward the very end of the story. I began to see a more mature individual emerge at times, glimpses of the adult she would become. What I did find frustrating is the fact that she so steadfastly refused to be honest about her past with Adam.
Adam, Adam. Adam is sexy, charming and fun but he's been wallowing in deep-rooted guilt and anger stemming from a past tragedy, which occasionally made his character somewhat volatile. He is extremely kind, generous and patient with Claire, though. He becomes devoted to her very quickly. The chemistry between he and Claire is there and it ignited almost immediately.
I must say, and you will understand why when you read Relentless, Chris won my heart! He is Claire's ex-boyfriend, newly-crowned rockstar, and he has a beautiful heart. I adore him and I cannot wait to see more of him in the next book (HINT, HINT;)!!
The author, Cassia Leo, has a way with this story. I find her writing style, her 'voice', remarkably engaging. She makes it all too easy for me to get lost in what she creates. It is also a particular joy for me to be able to note that Relentless is, technically, so very well written! I don't recall any grammatical errors and I cannot possibly bestow enough praise on this author (and editor) for this achievement. Truly. For me, when I read, I want nothing to come along and take me out of the story I've lost myself in. Lack of editing, bad editing, either one, can and does. This will oftentimes make or break a book for me.
There are only two items I would love to have seen done differently. Well, perhaps actually only one. I wish the story had been just a little longer. I think, if it had been, Claire and Adam would have been able to move in a more natural progression towards a relationship. Their coming together as quickly as they did, particularly the heartfelt declarations coming when they did, felt rather rushed.
In the end, I can only say that I enjoyed so many moments of this reading experience. Relentless is wonderfully appealing. It's sexy. It's inviting. It will hold your attention. It will grab your heart. I guarantee you will be eagerly anticipating the next book in this series!
Want to know more about Cassia Leo?
Elizabeth ~ 4 stars