Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Love Undercover #3
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: September 24, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Charismatic bar owner Rowdy Yates isn’t the kind of man women say no to. So when he approaches waitress Avery Mullins, he fully expects to get her number. However, the elusive beauty has her reasons for keeping her distance—including a past that might come back to haunt them both.
Avery spends her nights working for tips… and trying to forget the secret Rowdy is determined to unearth. But when history threatens to repeat itself, Avery grows to rely on Rowdy’s protective presence. As the sparks between them ignite, she will be forced to choose between the security she’s finally found… and the passion she’s always wanted..
I love that the main character of Getting Rowdy was named for the character Clint Eastwood played in the old TV western Rawhide, way, way back, Rowdy Yates. There is even a resemblance between the book cover picture and the character.
And it’s all too possible to think of lots of Eastwood’s western heroes riding to the rescue of Avery Mullins the way that this Rowdy Yates does, whether Avery consents to being rescued or not. Because Avery needs a little help from a friend, and Rowdy is willing to be that friend, or even “friends with benefits”, if he can get Avery to let him get that close.
This a story of two people who don’t let anyone close, although they have totally different reasons for why they keep people outside of their inner circle and exactly how they each define what “close” means.
Rowdy has his sister Pepper. We’ve already read her story in Run the Risk (reviewed here) Because of the childhood abuse that Rowdy protected Pepper from, he grew up not trusting anyone. The last several years he spent hiding in plain sight while he guarded Pepper did not make him more trusting. After all, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. And the mob, along with some corrupt cops, really were out to get him. But that’s finally behind them and Pepper is married to one of the good cops, Logan Riske.
So Rowdy has started to put down roots in order to stay close to Pepper. He’s bought a bar and is cleaning up the place. Not clean up as in dirt, but clean up as in getting the low-lifes out of the area. It used to be a place where the owner did drug dealing and flesh peddling. Now it’s a middle-class place where people can get a halfway decent meal and the drinks aren’t watered down. It’s a safe place and Rowdy keeps it that way.
It’s also where he picks up too many women for his bartender’s comfort. Avery Mullins is the one woman he really wants, but she keeps turning him down. Rowdy uses sex as a way of keeping his nightmares away. There’s just been too much crap in his life. He doesn’t sleep much and no-strings-attached sex is his way of finding oblivion.
Avery has demons and secrets of her own, but no-strings-attached sex with Rowdy Yates is about the last thing she’s going after as a way of getting past anything. She wants him, but she has no interest in being just another notch on his much-marked bedpost. And her job as bartender at his place is too good to jeopardize with a one-night-stand, no matter how terrific.
One-night-stands are all Rowdy ever does. His friendship is more important to Avery than sex. Then she discovers that his protection is an absolute necessity, because her past comes back to find her.
And once Rowdy discovers that Avery needs him, he realizes that he wants to protect her much, much more than he ever thought he wanted to escape. The man who never had a home may have finally found one, if he can convince himself that he’s worthy of keeping her.
Escape Rating B+: I always look forward to another Lori Foster book. Her romantic suspense series deliver marvelous stories that fulfill both parts of that equation every single time! She always tells a delicious romantic story that also includes spine-tingling suspense, and Getting Rowdy definitely was another story in that marvelous tradition!
Rowdy and Avery have been dancing around each other since they first met in Run the Risk, so it was terrific to see both what was keeping them apart and how they finally managed to get together. While we know a lot of Rowdy’s history from Pepper, it was different seeing things from Rowdy’s perspective; he protected her from a lot of the worst of it, which means he had a lot of healing to do.
Avery might have been a bit more understanding about Rowdy’s parade of female bed partners than other women would have been. While he doesn’t owe her anything until they start seeing each other, it would have been more than unnerving to have a man hit on you nearly every night and then pick someone else up when you turned him down. Only to rinse and repeat the very next evening.
Avery’s situation starts out chilling and only gets squickier. No wonder she ran. I like her character and the way she took charge of her life a lot. I was a bit surprised at just how creepy her enemies turned out to be. The evil-dude turned out to be a bit over-the-top, to the point where I was amazed that if he was that much of a creepazoid, I wondered why he hadn’t dragged her back earlier.
The group dynamics as a whole are loads of fun. It was great to see Logan, Pepper, Reese and Alice (especially Cash!) from Run the Risk and Bare it All (reviewed here) again. Rowdy’s reluctant bonding with the rest of the guys is a hoot.
I can’t wait for book 4, Dash of Peril.