God Love Her by Lauren Gilley
Series: The Russells
Published by Self-published on February 11, 2014
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When her parents divorced, Layla Russell went to LA with her mother, and her little brother Johnny stayed behind with their father. In the eighteen years since, she's tried to maintain a relationship with the other half of her family in Georgia, but a real closeness is lacking...and when she gets the call that her dad has been shot and left for dead, the guilt is crushing. She should have spent more time with him; should have made the trip more often. She catches the first flight to Atlanta; Mark's surgery was a success, but he won't wake up, and the doctors aren't optimistic.
Layla quickly realizes that this shooting wasn't random, and that her uncle, her cousin, her brother, and the rest of the "family" are launching their own investigation. Her uncle's Business Security Solutions doesn't work strictly within the law, and neither does the powerful enemy they're chasing. The more deeply entrenched she becomes in the case, the more dangerous she realizes it is...and the more intrigued she becomes by her father's friend Sly. He's made her a promise to keep her safe, but how can she trust a court-martialed car thief turned mechanic? How can she afford not to?
The first book in the Russells Series, Made For Breaking, did absolutely nothing for me which shocked the heck out of me. LG writes books full of characters who may be far from perfect, but they are real and I usually eat them up like popcorn. Unfortunately, just like in real life, sometimes a personality rubs me the wrong way which is what happened with the heroine of the first book. In need of an LG fix, I decided to give the Russells another shot so God Love Her was up and I am so glad I did.
Layla was a fish out of water in Atlanta. Raised in LA by her neurotic mother, she was only able to bond with her Dad, Mark Russell, through infrequent visits and regular phone calls. There are dark undercurrents throughout this family starting with why Layla was separated from her Dad and brother. The family is obviously into some shady stuff that ended up with her Dad shot and nobody is telling her why. Layla is quiet but has a strong backbone that her family seems to not realize exists but she is bound and determined to get to the bottom of who shot her dad and why.
Sly is Layla’s dad’s best friend. He’s a bit younger than her dad but still much older than Layla. There is a definite attraction that he fights at first (as does she). He’s the strong silent type with some definite alpha-hole tendencies. He’s also got secrets and has taken some losses that have affected him deeply. There is a lot to love about Sly, but also some holes in his background I wish were filled.
Danger can be found around every corner and the enemy is a tough one to beat. I loved almost everything about the book, the suspense, the smoldering chemistry, and the Russells themselves, but there were a few little things that tripped me up. Note: these are definite spoilers so keep that in mind before clicking. View Spoiler »1. Mark didn’t know about the brother. 2. The first sex trafficking victim didn’t get sent to the hospital by the Russells or the police. 3. The Lean Dogs left their posts and of course, the worst happened but the Russells were still considered in debt to them. Credibility and reputation alone should have meant this never happened but once it did, the Lean Dogs should have been the indebted ones because they screwed up and ditched their responsibility. « Hide Spoiler
Despite the issues, I really liked God Love Her and plan on reading the next one, Johnny’s story, soon. It is certainly a good way to pass the time while I wait for the first book in The Sons Of Rome Series that from what I can tell is going to be fan-freaking-tastic.
Rating: 4 Keeping It Real Stars
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