Athica Lane (Carpino, #3) by Brynne Asher
Published by Brynne Asher on September 29th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
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Cam Montgomery is a single full time dad who knows his priorities: his kids, his job, his team, his side business. Dealing with his disaster of an ex-wife is bad enough, not to mention delinquent football players and a meddlesome mother. Cam doesn’t have the luxury of time for anything more, especially a relationship. Even if it is sassy-wiseass Paige Carpino, who can still be sweet, but at every turn knocks him on his ass with the unexpected.
That’s figuratively speaking of course. Paige might come in a small package, but she makes up for it in spirit. An energetic spit-fire who has some heat to her sauce, she’s dedicated to her new business ventures, her family and a select group of friends. She’s never put herself out there, but then again, there’s never been anyone worthy of putting herself out there for.
Until one day in a burger joint, an asshole practically enters her into a wet t-shirt contest with his drink. Who knew a wet t-shirt could be the beginning of your life. Or more importantly, that asshole would be your reason for being. But anything and all of the above can happen when you finally put yourself out there for a single-dad-ex-football-player-smarty-pants-hot-man. When you throw the Carpino’s, the Montgomery’s and an eighty-five year old bossy woman in the mix, it’s a recipe for…well…something big.
Warning: This book contains a hot dad, a sassy heroine, steamy parts and naughty words. If you’re under the age of 18, this author is frowning at you with her mama eyes telling you to walk away.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
It’s one of THOSE books…
You know the books where you forgo eating and sleeping to just read one more chapter. One negative (POSITIVE) of my kindle is the ability to be able to read without having a light on. So when hubby does his usual – tuck me into bed before he goes back to work a bit more– routine, instead of going to sleep like a good girl, I turn that sucker back on and keep reading. Now I’ve finished Athica Lane, I’m kind of sad that I rushed it. It’s one of THOSE books that suck you in, grab hold and don’t let go until the end.
We know Paige from Overflow and Beautiful Life. She’s the youngest and littlest Carpino and up till now she comes across as high-strung and spoilt. In this book we get to know her better and realise it’s not a little…she’s really high-strung. The start of the book we see her getting ready to look after her sister Sophia’s kids while Sophia and her husband spend a week in Hawaii. First thoughts…why don’t my two sisters (in my real life) offer to look after my kids so I can go to Hawaii for a week?
Anyways…she’s gone to a burger joint, on the phone to Sophia, and finds herself entered in a wet t-shirt competition. Not really, just that some guy who looks like a brick wall dumped his drink on her…and is rude about it. What a knucklehead.
Mr Knucklehead aka Cam Montgomery, has Grumpy Bear Syndrome from the day he meets Paige. First, he spills his drink on her when she bumps him, then he accuses her of having a Sugar Daddy because she’s got a fancy car. He can’t get her out of his head. She talks a mile a minute and has serious attitude…but that hair…and those big brown eyes. Poor Cam is a single-dad who has two full time jobs and no time to have a relationship. This chick is sending his body into overdrive and she’s hardly aware she’s doing it.
Eventually Cam and Paige succumb to their desire for each other. Both of them are extremely busy with their work, but decide the physical attraction is too much to ignore. Cam has a brain malfunction and makes a doozy of a mistake. That should have earned him time in the sin bin, but luckily Paige is a sweetheart and eventually forgives him. We see them grow as a couple and form a great bond, especially with his kids Jordy and Cara. There are a few issues with Cam’s ex, a disgruntled footy player and Paige’s best friend. They do have a 5 week breakup but neither of them can move on.
This isn’t just a love story. There is a bit of mystery as well. The Carpino family are their usual crazy selves. We also meet the Montgomery’s, who are Cam’s wacky parents from Texas. I love the family dynamics in Athica Lane. Everyone cares about each other and when one person is down or sad, the whole family come together to make things right.
This book had all the things I love and enjoy in a great contemporary romance. The hero is a big, HOT, tough, protective, HOT, possessive, HOT and loving man who takes his role of Dad and lover seriously. The heroine is a quirky character, who loves her family, friends and job, sometimes to the detriment of herself. There are plenty of steamy scenes with the silent sexy times being some of the best. I laughed, cried, blushed and squirmed…it ticked all my boxes. Brynne Asher has come a long way, this is by far her best work and I would definitely suggest this series to all my friends.
Sassy rates this one 5 Stars.
Athica Lane is a good mix of romance, angst, suspense and drama. With an initial slow build to a solid story, it kept me entertained and on edge. The intensity of the drama is kept isolated allowing the romance to remain the focus of the story and the kind of book that made you smile more often than not. Although part of a series, IMO Athica Lane could be read as a standalone.
Paige literally runs into Cam, her in a head space that didn’t give off any of the goodness you see later on in the story. He spills his drink on her and they disagree as to who’s fault that is. This first impression is one a girl dreads and the kind of moment guys have little objection to, the dreaded wet T-shirt scenario. The next time they face each other, it’s again unexpected and they both still have their backs up and really it’s all pretty awkward.
They start off on the wrong foot but circumstance has them needing to put their annoyance with each other aside. Before they know it they fall into an easy routine and their chemistry is evident. Cam sees a confident, outgoing woman, not the self-doubting, inexperienced sweet woman underneath the bravado she emulates. It throws him when she spells it out for him. It’s not until a chance conversation with family does it dawn on her that their ideals for the future are not in sync and with a heavy heart she turns away and slips into a dark place. Family pull out all stops but it’s not until they both attend a party that sparks ignite again.
The drama comes from a few angles, including a class A- crawling creeper who freaked me out. I rarely use the word hate, but I’m making an exception here because I hated what was happening with that creepy unbalanced character. Every scene involving this creeper took me to the edge and I had no idea how that situation would pan out. Then again, I like being taken to the edge and having my resolve tested. So this is a bit of a love / hate dilemma for me as a reader LOL.
Cam is total alpha to the point that it went over the edge on at least one occasion but I overlooked this and it didn’t take away from the fact that he was a good man. A good man that knew how to impress and kept impressing in AND out of the bedroom. Going the extra mile to ensure he provided for his family meant his life was a balancing act.
Woven into the plot was a lot of goodness that felt natural with the exception of his parents, who were way OTT and so different to Cam that I struggled to understand their quirkiness. His ex was a sad excuse, driven by greed to the point that it puzzled me why she became a mother in the first place. Family features strong throughout the story and the loving interference at times were enough to send poor Paige into hiding.
Once I fell in with the rhythm of the writing I was entranced by the story. The pace slows considerably, easing you into the ending, containing a revelation that I wasn’t expecting. There were other aspects that I saw coming and although predictable added to the story in a good way. The epilogue was sweet and wound the story up well.
What I enjoyed:
- The road trip & the road trip goody bags (great idea!)
- The way Paige handled Bekki beautifully putting her in her place
- Paige’s kindness towards Cam’s children
- Cam taking Cara for a pedicure (Awesome Dad award right there)
What I struggled with:
- Not enough Rosa time
- Cam’s behaviour at the Star Wars themed party, felt OTT and the fallout from his actions felt glossed over
Lily’s rating: 4 Stars
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