Stranded by a hurricane. Check. Hotel secured. Check. Hot guy to share it with. Check. No, wait. Not him!
A tough girl with an awkward flirt-game, Claire has long ago given up on catching the eye of Irish hottie Conor and she refuses to change. If he doesn't like her as is, then screw him.
A loner workaholic too busy to notice, Conor isn't looking to nail the next chick--even one as hot as Claire--just his next bonus-earning presentation.
But when a hurricane strands them in Atlanta and they're forced to shack up in the same hotel room for several days, things tend to get…exposed.
DESERVING IT is a steamy, standalone romantic comedy from RITA Winning and USA Today bestselling author Angela Quarles with a happy-ever-after and no cheating or cliffhangers.
This is the third book in the Stolen Moments series, focusing on members of a hurling team and their romance stories. Unlike the first two books, the heroine is also a hurling athlete for a women's team. Due to misinterpretations from when they first met, both the H/h think the other is not attracted or simply doesn't like the other person. After three years of believing this, they are stranded together during a hurricane and end up sharing a lone hotel room where/when the truth comes out.
While the previous book (Risking It) will probably always be my favorite in this series, Deserving It comes in on its heels. I loved Connor and he's definitely a favorite book hero. He's native Irish, a ginger, smart, and an athlete. That's just the basics, because he's also honorable to the nth degree. I could go on and on, because I was so smitten with him. With Claire, I struggled a bit more trying to connect with her character. Her characterization wasn't a favorite, but Connor more than made up for it and saved the story for me. Above all and what impresses me most, is this author's ability to take a shortened story (novella) and give it enough depth to keep me invested and coming back. (This is my voluntary and unbiased review of an advanced copy of Deserving It via the author)
Deserving It by Angela Quarles
Claire and Connor are friendly adversaries. Not of each other but of life situations that formed their current life. After the playoff game on Sunday, Claire and Connor were forced to spend time together in Atlanta. Claire was able to get the last room. She feels bad for Connor and decides to let him sleep on the sofa bed.
Hot, witty and sporty!
Trigger warnings: recovering bulimic (talk of purging in the past, one instance of desire to purge on the page)
I’ve very much enjoyed Ms. Quarles’ Stolen Moments series, so I was very excited to get a chance to read this one! While I’ve read the previous two books, I think it could work as a standalone.
Conor is the exceedingly Irish ginger captain of the men’s hurling team, and Claire is the captain of the women’s camogie team (pretty much the same sport as hurling). Claire’s had a crush on Conor since she first saw him, but figured he had no interest in her. Unbeknownst to her, Conor’s also had a crush on her since that first meeting. After their respective playoffs in Atlanta, Claire and Connor’s flight back to Florida is cancelled due to a hurricane. With the entire airport closed, they’re forced to share a hotel room. The forced intimacy makes both of them realize they’re interested in each other, and, helped along by a game of strip poker, sparks fly.
“Of course, visions of us later in the game pop into my increasingly fevered imagination. Her sprawling on the couch in just her bra and knickers. And one sock. Why the f*** I’m after imagining one sock on, I have no idea.”
I personally adore seeing recovering characters, and I especially loved Claire. Part of her journey in the story is understanding that she’s moved from recovering to recovered, and as someone who had an eating disorder as a teen, I thought it was exceedingly well done. While Claire is strong, she’s also very empathetic and sensitive, so, in the past she’s had a tendency to place others’ (especially her mother’s) wants above her own needs. Part of her healing process has been cutting her mother out of her life, and also being assertive about being in control as often as possible. Control can be a funny thing, especially for a teen girl, and one of the insidious appeals of eating disorders is that it gives you the illusion of control over some portion of your life. While Conor is willing to cede control in the bedroom, Conor’s normal take-charge attitude feels like a test of Claire’s strength.
“Before, when he was my secret crush, it was easy for me to be smug about my strength. It wasn’t being tested.
But now that I’ve been with him? And it was the hottest sex I’ve ever had? How can I keep my walls intact if we actually date? I’ll get attached. I’ll want to morph to please him. I’ll want everything.”
Conor, on the other hand, is motivated by guilt. He feels that he needs to ace his work presentation to nab a bonus that he can send back home to help his sister out on the family farm. His long term Irish girlfriend – who’d known him since they were babies – told him he was “lacking” when she broke up with him. His need to provide value, to help, the “superhero-save-the-day,” to be “enough” – in work or in his relationships – is sincere, but misguided. Of course, it takes an erroneous assumption to make him go a step too far to realize that his value doesn’t lie in what help he can provide.
As for cons, Conor’s accent was just too much at times. The occasional “Jaysus” was fine, but at times reading things like “dead feek” and “gowl, muppeting plonker” (one of those is positive, by the way, go ahead and try to figure out which) was like decoding a foreign language. Ms. Quarles’ writing is usually snappy and witty, so I found the overuse of some of the grammatical constructs and Irish-isms disappointing, as it kept breaking up the pace of the writing for me. Also, I would’ve liked to see more of Claire and Conor together after the resolution of the conflict. It felt like I needed that emotional payoff of seeing them as a happy couple in a healthy relationship after all the struggles they went through!
Overall, though, I still loved this book, and am eagerly waiting for the next in the series! Recommended for anyone who wants a hot, witty, sporty romance with a large dose of Irish!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.