Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Publication Date: April 19th 2014
Publisher: Big Dog Books
Series: Last Call #2
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Brody Markham has endured a nightmare, spending the last five years in prison and losing everything that was dear to him. Now he’s back home, trying to survive in a world he doesn’t recognize anymore. While his family and friends desperately try to reach through to him, he shelters himself further and further away from their love.
Alyssa Myers has worked her entire life to distance herself from the luxurious and privileged lifestyle in which she was raised. Running her non-profit agency, The Haven, she is content to spend her days helping abused animals find sanctuary, which fulfills her in a way that money just can’t buy.
Maybe it’s that she recognizes in Brody some of the same characteristics she sees in her homeless wards, but Alyssa is powerless to stop her personal quest to make Brody whole again.
While Brody struggles to surface from the darkness, Alyssa tries to protect her heart in case he’s not willing to accept the light that she offers him.
As someone who's been in "The Clink" once before, I felt like Brody's story would be one I could identify with on a level not many people who haven't been locked up could. Like Brody I spent hard time behind bars with very little connection with the outside world for an extended period of time. Unlike Brody though, my three hours on lockdown was all the hell I could handle and ran all the way home when they let me out and didn't screw up again. The difference between Brody and I was that he spent five years in a medium security prison after a night behind the wheel resulted in the loss of someones life, whereas mine was just harmless fun with a paint can.
When I met Brody in On The Rocks, I knew right away his character would be ripe with angsty goodness and Bennett gave me what I wanted. He was gruff, quiet, moody and just generally not very pleasant. So what made me love him so much? That was just the outer shell he put on display. Brody had a lot going on inside his head from the time the mistake was made that put him in jail until he was released. We're given a glimpse into the events of that night between Brody and his then girlfriend Stacy. After leaving a party that both had been drinking at and getting behind the wheel, their flirting turned into a distraction and before they knew it they hit a man walking across the street. Brody admits his wrong doing and sends the remainder of his youth paying restitution. Now that he's out though he can rebuild his life and does so by working at his brothers bar and helping Alyssa at her no kill animal shelter.
Brody had such an amazing career ahead of himself before he went to prison. He was putting himself through medical school and would have made an amazing doctor if it wasn't for the accident. He came across as an asshole in On The Rocks when he first met Alyssa but now that I understand his hesitation in starting anything with her I can't not love this guy. He might not show it but he loves the people in his life including his family and will do whatever it takes to protect them. Brody was so closed off in the beginning that I didn't think he had it in him to open up and grow. He's been fundamentally changed by his experience in jail and has adapted to become hard like you would expect. Brody is hiding something pretty big though that took me by surprise. Because of his ex girlfriend Stacy and the details surrounding the accident Brody holds a grudge against anyone who has money, especially women. When I first met Brody I knew he would be a tough nut to crack but his reaction to Alyssa at first threw me for a loop. I couldn't understand why he hated her immediately but the further I read on the more I understood.
It's true Alyssa was born with a silver spoon in her mouth to two wealthy parents but she's the rare exception that bucks the system. She doesn't want to be the wealthy daughter expected to be prim and proper and go to an Ivy league school her parents want her to go to. She chose to go to college with her friends at UNC and do what she wanted with her life. I respected her early on seeing her determination to make her shelter a success. Sitting in the kennels with the dogs and giving them each a few minutes of her time reminded me of when I did the same thing at a Vet's office I worked at. That alone was something I admired about her but it was her dedication to help Brody that made me love her. Most people would have turned away from him and not bothered to help but she saw how much he loved animals after he helped her in a bind and offered to let him do his community service at her shelter. Alyssa may have been a tiny little thing but she was incredibly fierce. Standing up to her parents, following her heart and taking a chance on a guy down on his luck don't even tip the iceberg of this amazing woman's personality. The way she opened Brody up one step at a time was a testament to how powerful a woman's love can be.
Smooth sailing on the high seas is almost impossible and like the ocean Brody and Alyssa are tossed about the rough waters of their tentative relationship at first. With his preconceived opinion about her being a rich bitch and her general dislike of him from their first meeting it takes a while to get comfortable with them. I was a little skeptical that they would be able to bring me into their romance but once they got past all their first impressions they had a beautiful connection. Brody started to see Alyssa as the selfless woman she actually was and Alyssa saw a side of Brody he doesn't show anyone else. When his ex girlfriend Stacy comes back into the picture wanting his forgiveness Alyssa overhears something that shined a bright spotlight on the circumstances surrounding the accident that sent him to jail. I was shocked at this little plot twist and sided with Alyssa when she tried to push Brody into voicing his concerns. At the same time though I understood his reasoning for his silence but it still hurt my heart. Injustice is something I struggle with internally and like Alyssa I want to make it better. Ex's seem to be a theme with these two because Alyssa has a fixated ex that ends up changing the landscape of the story into something I didn't expect to happen.
If I wasn't waiting for Brody to open up I was holding my breath when Alyssa faced some mild drama but the whole time I was falling helplessly in love with this couple. They had some amazing moments together and I loved that Brody was able to find a love that proved to him that matters of the heart can overcome tragic circumstances. I loved these two but didn't fall as head over heels for them as I did for Hunter and Gabby. They were a tough act to follow and getting to see them again in this book made my heart swell with emotion. The relationship between Brody and Hunter has been strained since he was released but seeing the twins reconcile and be the brothers they used to be, funny, charming and mischievous put a perma smile on my face. These guys are fantastic and I loved how they went through a life changing moment together. One of my favorite characters, Casey, who I am sitting on my hands waiting for her story to come out, was as always hilarious and intriguing for me. My heart broke for her when I found out she has been hurting since her brother went to jail and the lengths she's gone to to try and forget but seeing her heart mend a little in this one leaves me with high hopes for her.
A sweet romance with an ex con and a surprise twist in the overall plot made Make It A Double another winner Bennett has penned. She threw a little suspense in the mix with this one and my inner adrenaline junky was totally happy! I've loved all of Bennett's books and highly recommend any of her series. If you love New Adult and want to fall in love with the characters you should check out her books.
I can’t get him out of my mind. While many things cause my brain to race— Chad, dog kibble and horse poop— Brody is the one thing that plagues me the most. Kindle Loc. 898
“Words can’t describe how stunningly sexy you look tonight,” I murmur to her smoothly. “You’re a fucking wet dream.” “Seriously?” she whispers, her eyes round with surprise. “Absolutely,” I tell her , because it’s the truth. “Embarrassed you told me that?” she asks with a grin. “Nope,” Kindle Loc. 1134
I close my eyes for just a second to relish the feeling. When I open them back up, I pin my stare to the beauty of what lies between her legs and pull her toward me. She’s not ready for the movement so her hands come again to my shoulders for balance, and I push my face right into her soft curls, inhaling deeply. Yes, wild honeysuckle and femininity, and the smell is so wonderful that it banishes the stench of prison clean from my memory. Kindle Loc. 1961
“Alyssa… I like you,” he says as he pulls me in a bit closer to him. “A lot. I care for you, I worry for you, I respect you, and I lust after you. I want to fuck you over and over again until neither one of us can walk. But I’m also broken and twisted, which means these feelings I have are going to be tainted. I don’t want to hurt you.” Kindle Loc. 2121
Because even in the shittiest of situations, time spent with Alyssa is like finding your pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Kindle Loc. 2731
About the Author:
USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn't have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.