With Us by Layla Frost
Series: The Amato Series #1
Published by Self-published on January 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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More than just a dimpled smile and chiseled jaw, Theo Amato’s quick-thinking and bold confidence made him successful. Heavy responsibilities left time for close friends and family, but nothing more. It wasn’t until he looked into a pair of big green eyes that his focus changed.
Full lips, a gorgeous face, and an endearing personality had him hooked from the start.
There was nothing Dahlia Kincaid enjoyed more than a good book, a funny movie, and a full night’s sleep. Long workdays meant she rarely had time for any of them, but the sacrifice was worth it to live in the city. It wasn’t until she met a man with model good looks and sexy veined hands that her life changed in ways she'd never even known to dream of.
Wickedly sweet, Theo gently and strategically pulled Dahlia from her rut, handing her the world in the process.
But shadows play tricks on the eyes, and life wasn’t always what it seemed.
It was better.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
I’ve written the first line for this review like a gazillion times, and nothing seems to be working. Now I’m more in awe of author’s who actually write opening lines for whole books and hook you right in with it.
With Us was a fabulous book I absolutely adored. Dahlia is a regular girl, working as many jobs as she can fit into a day so she can live in the city. Not that she gets enough free time to actually enjoy it, but hey, at least she is there. Stuck in her dead-end jobs, in a frumpy apartment in the not so good part of town, Dahlia is in a rut. Not giving up on her dream, but not really moving forward either.
Theo is one busy man. Successful, mysterious, charismatic and sexy. Did I mention charming? Well, yeah, Theo was extra hot with a cherry on top. Running a thriving company had left him little time for anything else than family. That is, of course, until he sees Dahlia working at the coffee shop and he sets on wooing her and making all of her dreams come true, with whatever means are necessary.
Now let me say this first: Theo was yummy. He was bossy, the alpha male and a tough mofo, yet he was sweet, caring and incredibly devoted to Dahlia once he found her.
“I meant it then, I mean it now, and I’ll mean it in a hundred years. Say the word, and I walk away. But I’ll never let you go.”
Dahlia was a funny chick. I loved her and her quirkiness, how she could be nice, respectful, helpful to everyone she encountered and how this eventually brought her a reward. I do wonder what on earth was Ms. Frost on while she wrote Dahlia’s dreams, though… Those nightmares were totally whacked.
While I can’t go into details or else I’d spoil the surprise for you, which I’m so not doing, I can say that the opening of the second part had me shouting out”WTF!” (I did write a reading update in all caps in Goodreads). While I had some suspicions from the start I can’t say I was expecting things to play out just like that. And while I completely understand the use of the two-part book thing, I think the first part could have been a little shorter as there wasn’t a lot of action happening. Personally, this didn’t really bother me much, as I’m more of a sweet and nice kind of girl, but for those who are more action oriented, it might be a little slow.
Now, once we move forward after the Holy Shit moment, I really liked how Ms. Frost gave Dahlia the time to come to terms with how things turned out. To me, the whole book was practically perfect. It had me laughing and snorting, blushing and smiling, fanning myself and cursing out loud. With Us was a really great romance with a little suspense, a little action and a lot of sweet.
Sparkles Rating: 4.5 “Gattina mía” Stars
Excited is probably the best way to describe it when I got my With Us ARC. A huge fan of her book, Hyde and Seek, I’d heard some early buzz that was as promising as heck, especially about Theo. Tall, dark, and dangerous… sign me up!
Theo is all he was built up to be and more. Although an anti-hero in some ways, he was perfectly alpha-sweet, caring, and careful, knowing when to tread lightly and when to come on strong. He had a plan on how to not only capture his prey but also to make sure he gets to keep her when all is revealed because Theo had some secrets. Big secrets.
Dahlia, I had a little bit of a harder time with. Having grown up in foster care, she had learned to never get attached. Because of this, Theo had his work cut out for him convincing her he was for real. Regrettably, that detached attitude kept me from connecting with her for a good part of the book. I liked Dahlia well enough, but it was hard to be invested in her until later on in the book.
With Us has two distinctive parts to it. The first part is all about Theo winning Dahlia over. It’s a sexy, fairytale with Prince Charming coming to life on the pages. He gives Dahlia everything she ever dreamed of but thought she couldn’t have. She balks a bit, but he is determined. This part is sweet but slow, at least for the action-loving half of me, but the romance loving half was in heaven. Still, I frequently found myself putting the book down and then returning to it when I could.
The second half of the book went much faster than the first, finally delivering on the action I was craving. When reality hits, it hits hard. This is when I wanted to shake Theo for keeping Dahlia in the dark at the worst possible time. This half of the book had me shaking my head at both of them but I read it straight through needing to know what was going to happen next.
I loved a lot about With Us. Theo is a wonderful hero, his family is awesome and characters are introduced that had me itching to know their stories. My main complaint was the disconnect between the two halves of the book. I wish that we’d had more of Theo and his activities in the first part. I wanted to know more about the business side of Theo and I wanted more action to temper all that sweetness. Still, I enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the next one. If you love super sweet romance books with bad boys as the hero, With Us is definitely for you.
Rating: 4 Alpha-Sweet Stars.
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