BLOG REVIEW: Had To Be You by Robin Kaye

24y.o. sultry bar singer immediately captivates the attention of the bar's owner computer-software creator Hero, who's back at his hometown for a month before leaving for his contract work in Bahrain. 
She tries to dissuade his interest like she does with other men but late-20's biker Hero's charming persistence and undefinable attractiveness softens her guard.
She's been successful so far in hiding her other life from her new life in Hero's hometown, making good friends who like her for who they know her to be.
But things are about to change when she hears urgent news back home about her brother.
Hero accompanies her, despite her protests. But she finds that his presence more than comforts her. Their time together sets off powerful sparks that both soon give in to
but from which heroine retracts from. 
Working things out puts them back on track.
It doesn't take long though for Hero's troubled past to surge in between them, making her wonder how much time left they have together.
How much of his past will he let dictate his life? 

This was a solid read. It was romance-focused with strong main characters who persisted through their problems. There was a slight misunderstanding between Hero and heroine in the beginning due to heroine's mysterious other life. But it was resolved around 30% of the book, before they became seriously involved. Once they were serious, both Hero and heroine did their best to not let anything come in between them. It was so refreshing to have two level-headed people not let their egos and injured pride stand in the way of their romance. They were insightful, wise, and humble enough to realize when they were in the wrong, apologize for it, and negotiate a solution together. It was cute to see them both maneuvering how to be in a committed relationship since neither had ever been in love. Being able to surpass 2 major personal hurdles that Hero had to go through made me believe in their HEA(happy ever after).

Hero was a mixture of confident, charming, and sexy alpha male with his private, geeky, and troubled self. With the mentorship and love from his adoptive father and siblings, he beat his traumatic childhood and became a protective and successful man. However, he had a big chunk of his early childhood that he couldn't remember and he was recently getting some eerie flashbacks about them. Being back home with family and meeting heroine and the newest adopted family member, a 10-year-old girl, seemed to make his flashbacks more acute. Suddenly getting his repressed memories back later made him retreat to his closed-off and troubled self. 

     ---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details---------

An accident involving the 10-year-old girl made his childhood memories come back. The girl's eyes during that incident brought him directly to memories of his forgotten mother, who had the same frightened look in her eyes. He had 2 major revelations from it:
1.) it absolutely confirmed that the 10-year-old girl was his biological daughter from a failed condom 1-night-stand with her mother, who recently abandoned her in his adopted father's care
2.) he witnessed his mother murdered by his father who also shot him and planned their murder-suicide

He couldn't separate himself from his father, whose eyes he resembled. His memories of his father's violence changed his view of incidents where he himself engaged in violent behaviors. He thought himself better off apart from everyone he cared for, lest he hurt them like his father did to him and his mother.  Thus, he decided to leave heroine and his daughter for Bahrain ASAP.

    ------------------------------------------END SPOILERS----------------------------------------------------

It actually made me wonder if Hero and heroine's love could break through his trauma. And how would he be able to. This is where the strength of the secondary characters in this book came into play. I appreciate how they were written in to highlight and support the main romance. Usually secondary characters who have their own books sometimes get in the way of the present book's main romance. Well, the ones in this did not. I loved how the other characters rooted for Hero and heroine's romance without taking the spotlight from them. Basically, Hero's family members knocked some sense into him with some confrontation of the truth. It displayed how well they thought of each other and Hero's automatic instinct to protect instead of possess.

I liked heroine. She was tough in her caring and private due to her own childhood traumas. I liked her simplicity (except for her shoe fetish) and using wealth for good instead of being a pampered trust-fund baby. She wanted to be independent from her trust fund and be loved for herself. So she humbled herself by choice and worked for her money like most people do. I understood her reticence to let Hero and his family and friends know about her wealth. Her trust issues were also tinged by her fears of losing her loved ones due to losing her parents the way she did. She'd already been emotionally invested in Hero and her friends so their negative reactions to her wealth may cause her to lose their friendship. Hero's confrontation and his opposite response to her wealth helped diffuse her fears. It helped strengthen her character and, thus, enabling her to fight for their romance when Hero was backing out.  

The reciprocal nature of Hero and heroine's relationship helped both of them past their insecurities, produced emotional maturity, and strengthened their relationship. Add this to their intense attraction to each other and we got a lot of steamy and emotionally-connected intimacies. Both were experienced and even jaded people but they were both progressively blown away by their intimate encounters. It was sexy and touching.

I recommend this book.
4.5-star







2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for reviewing HAD TO BE YOU. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. You're welcome, Robin! Just posted a briefer review on Amazon.

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