Series: Barnes Brothers #1
Published by Penguin on April 2nd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
I haven’t read anything by Shiloh Walker before, but I’ll be reading more. This book was hot, hot, hot. Seriously. The blocks on my office computer won’t even let me onto her website because of the “adult content”.
There was a lot I really enjoyed in this book. I loved the relationship between Zach and Abby, even before they started dating. They were obviously so comfortable together, and so trusting and close. When the book opens, Abby has just been dumped by her fiance, Roger, and Zach comes over to comfort her. Which he can do because he has a key to her house and his own alarm code. He says all the right things and brings her chocolate, and is clearly perfect. We realize pretty quickly that he’s completely in love with her, and we realize just as quickly that Abby has no idea.
This was the biggest issue I had with this book. Abby and Zach have been best friends since they were children. Zach has been in love with her for the last seventeen years, but she has no idea. He didn’t suddenly realize he was in love with her, he’s actively felt that way for seventeen years. Every single person they’ve ever met knows about it except Abby? Literally every single person since they were ten. I could buy that she knew but didn’t acknowledge it because she didn’t feel the same way, but I have a hard time believing she just didn’t see it for seventeen years. For crying out loud, when she decided she didn’t want to be an actress anymore and left Los Angeles, he followed her to Tucson and set up shop there.
“I’ve loved you so long, I can’t remember what it’s like to not love you. And I’ll go to my grave loving you. You’re my everything.”
And what a shop it is. Zach owns Steel Ink, a tattoo shop near a university campus, and like most tattoo artists, he has many, many tattoos. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to find out what most of those tattoos were. Abby spends a lot of time peeking at them and wishing she could stare at them for hours, but other than one of them, we don’t ever find out what they are. The one we do get a description of, though, even further shows Abigale’s complete obliviousness to Zach and his feelings for her. View Spoiler »It was an ornate A for Abby right over his heart. He’d had it for years, but she never figured it out before « Hide Spoiler
Which brings me to my other issue with Abby. She likes her life to be very controlled, very orderly, nothing unexpected. But she seems to have no ability at all to read the people around her. Her mother is a terrible person, a typical show mother, which Abby has no problem recognizing, resulting in Abby trying to cut her mother out of her life, but everyone else seems to be a mystery to her. She doesn’t recognize Zach’s feelings for her, even after so, so long, she doesn’t realize that Roger is a complete dick. She realizes after the fact that Roger was only ever interested in her for her celebrity status, but she doesn’t recognize that part of him while they’re actually together. Zach tells her
“…when you walked into a room, that fucking prick was too busy either messing with his damned gadgets or looking at everybody else to see what they thought about you…. He might have loved the idea of being with Kate … but he never loved you.”, but that’s apparently the first time she’s realized this. (Kate is the character Abby played on the sitcom she and Zach starred in as kids).
This need for control is what prompts Zach to give her Wreck This Journal, a cute journal designed to force people to give up their preconceived notions of what a journal should be and includes instructions on each page like “take this journal into the shower with you” or “poke a hole in this page with a pencil”. Zach thinks this will help Abby be less rigid, more open to experiencing the life he thinks she’s avoiding, and get her to try new things. And Abby does do a pretty good job with it. Mainly because it involves having to follow instructions, which she’s really good at. But, true to her nature, she uses the first page to make a list of things she wants to accomplish, the final item being “Have a torrid affair with a hot guy.” Zach decides that he will be that hot guy and sets out to make Abby realize it. Abby doesn’t even consider this possibility at first, since she’s never looked at Zach as anything other than a buddy, but she quickly begins to realize she wants him.
And once they both realize they want each other, there wasn’t much waffling around and navel-gazing about it. Abby assumes her new feelings for Zach aren’t reciprocated, so she doesn’t act on them at first. But when they figure out they’re on the same page, they go for it. And, boy howdy, do they go for it. There were some scenes that made me glad to have a glass of wine handy. One in particular involving body paint that should be required reading for aspiring romance novelists.
There are at least two more books coming in this series, involving two of Zach’s brothers. The next one looks like it will be Zane, who we met in this book and I adore, and Keelie, who we met in this book and I did not adore. So we’ll see how that goes. I’ll definitely read it, but Keelie did a few things in this book that made me less than enthused to read her story. Maybe Shiloh Walker can bring her around. Wrecked was a really fun, charming read, and I look forward to digging into Walker’s extensive backlist, which appears to be mostly suspense and paranormal.