She's Got It Bad by Sarah Mayberry
Why This One: When it came out, it got really excellent reviews - enough so that I was interested in reading it too. And I really want to read more series books this year.
Steam Level: Nice and steamy!!
Blurb: This has been a long time coming Twelve years ago Zoe Ford let Liam Masters break her heart. But now? There's not a chance. Zoe is as tough and wild as they come. So when Liam shows up at her tattoo parlor, she's more than ready to take him on again. That's not going to be a hardship, since he's hotter than he ever was. This time she's staying in charge. And she's not going to consider their score settled until he's hot, bothered and begging for more! Then she'll move on as callously as he left her. Unless all that deliciously bad sex is just too good to give up....
My Thoughts: Wow!! I was impressed with this one - very, very impressed. I often find that series books, because of the shorter word count, don't have as well developed characters in them as single title books. But this definitely wasn't the case in She's Got It Bad. Considering it was shorter, the author managed to do an excellent job with both Zoe and Liam. The book starts out years earlier when Liam was a young man staying with Zoe's family when his mother died. There was a strong attraction between them but Zoe was only 15. When she made moves on Liam, he left this family he loved so as to avoid further temptation.
The book picks up some years later when Liam sees Zoe as the very provocative lead singer in a band and wonders what has happened to the innocent young girl he hadn't been able to forget. He finds out her day job is as a tattoo artist and he shows up wanting to 'fix' her life and whatever went wrong. He's now a very successful owner of a shop that builds custom motorcycles.
Zoe still harbours strong feelings for Liam and her life pretty much went to hell in a handbasket after the night he rejected her and left. But she is very proud and doesn't want Liam messing in her life. But Liam is nothing if not determined and offers her a job doing the artwork for a motorcycle he and his team are entering in a competition.
Gradually and with considerable help from Liam, Zoe starts getting her life back in order. She's an artist who doesn't think she is that good, but is convinced that she is that good when a gallery owner friend of Liam offers to sponsor her.
The chemistry between Zoe and Liam is great. And I really, really liked Zoe. Her life had really fallen apart but she has maintained her strength and pride through it all. She broke my heart.
As did Liam. He also had it real rough before he finally found a home with the Archers and was quite the loner, damaged hero type.
Whenever a reader says that series books don't pack the same kind of punch or are missing something that single titles have, this is the book to get them to read. It's just as emotional as anything longer. I'm glad I listened to the buzz on this book!!
If I have any quibbles with it at all, it's that Liam held out a little too long in thinking he didn't or couldn't have a happy life with Zoe. Other than that, this one has it all in a smaller package than many a longer book. This is my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last!!
Grade: 5 out of 5