Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: Two of Hearts by Christina Lee

Two of Hearts by Christina Lee
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Contemporary Romance Two of Hearts Cover
ISBN: 9780451473257
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Christina Lee Reading Order

Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional – not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.

Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he'd lost forever.

Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she's also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

Two of Hearts is an engaging story of finding and fighting for home, wrapped up in a passionate reunion romance. Dakota and Shane have sizzling chemistry and author Christina Lee delivers incredibly hot scenes in Two of Hearts. On its own, this could make the book a highly entertaining read. But it’s the way Dakota and Shane are as individuals and how that plays into their rekindled romance that makes their story shine.

Shane is a strong, protective hero who’s nearly at the end of his rope with his job as a U.S. Marshal. I loved that Shane was not only over the moon about Dakota, but also isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. He’s open about what he feels for her, his need to protect her and her family, and damn if that isn’t sexy. Shane is a wonderfully self-aware, genuinely kind and giving hero. Dakota is as drawn to Shane as he is to her, but she’s also got a hell of a lot on her plate. Dakota’s a smart, determined woman fighting for her legacy in the wake of her father’s death. Though her mother is Dutch, Dakota has always identified as Native American and is now feeling a bit lost in her own community. Since her father’s murder and her mother’s inheritance of their family’s casino, some people have – whether out of fear, distrust, or because of the manipulation of others – started making Dakota feel like an outsider. One of my favorite things about Two of Hearts is watching Dakota find her voice in the Native American community. Ms. Lee’s research dedication to showing the beauty of Native American culture and the struggles the Nation faces shows and I really loved the care she took in weaving this throughout the book.

Though Dakota and Shane are undeniably the heart of Two of Hearts, Ms. Lee gives depth and attention to a dynamic supporting cast. I absolutely loved Shane’s fellow Marshals, Charlie and Alex, and I have my fingers crossed in the hopes that one or both of them will get a book. It’d also be remiss of me not to mention Dakota’s brother and sister-in-law, Kai and Rachel. Kai and Rachel are the two characters whose clear love for one another brought a smile to my face every time they were on the page. Of course, this isn’t surprising since they happen to be the hero and heroine of Whisper to Me, part of Ms. Lee’s Between Breaths series. Two of Hearts isn’t part of the Between Breaths series, nor is it a New Adult book like Whisper to Me. Dakota and Shane’s book takes place a years after Kai and Rachel’s story, and I’m sure fans of Whisper to Me will love seeing Kai and Rachel a few years into their marriage.

Between Dakota and Shane’s steamy romance, the wonderful supporting characters, and the attention given to Dakota’s heritage, there’s a lot to love about Two of Hearts. Add in a dash of suspense revolving around the murder of Dakota’s father and it’s easy to see how a reader can get swept up in this book. I loved Two of Hearts and I hope Ms. Lee continues to write more compelling adult contemporary romances.

FTC Disclosure: 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.