BLOG REVIEW: Since I Saw You by Beth Kery

28y.o. personal assistant is known for her devotion to her work and utmost professionalism.
She controls her unruly curls in the same way she's controlled her unrequited feelings for her boss all these years.
So being assigned to polish and assist her boss' brother Hero in marketing his biofeedback invention is just another part of her workday.
She didn't expect to be so taken by Hero at first glance. She thought he would look more like the wild and reclusive Frenchman he was described to be by his brothers and their wives.
And not this grim but more refined and attractive man she was meeting.
Their working together wasn't flawless.
But it set off more sparks between them,
making the undeniable happen.
Hero had no problems keeping their affair a secret per her request.
As he gets more involved with her
and finds her more of a match for him,
Hero becomes dissatisfied about their secret affair. Especially when he finds out about her feelings for his brother.
What does he do? How will she make her choice? 

This is the 2nd book in Beth Kery's Because You're Mine series that I've read (click here for my review of the book featuring Hero's brother/heroine's boss). This book confirms why I continue to be a Beth Kery fan. Her writing was eloquent without being stuffy. It centered on the main characters and their unfolding romance in a way that made me care about the outcome. The characters themselves were appealing. They might be the super-wealthy or super-attractive but there's something real and human about them that I found relatable. Hero and heroine both have flaws and I like that they make progress from them. Hero, for example, had lived an isolated life and shunning pretty much all societal rules that he lived by during his 10 years of schooling in London. He really was a wild and relatively unkempt man, living in a dusty old mansion for years.  He'd traveled to Chicago and became clean-shaven only for business purposes. We got the sense that he would gladly go back to his reclusive life in France. Being with heroine and wanting more out of his life enacted a change that we gradually got to see in him. By the book's end, Hero seemed more at ease with his new life. For heroine, the changes seemed more major. 

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

Heroine wasn't looking to change her life. At all. She was fine with how she'd been living her life the last 11 years: escaping being abandoned or hurt again (i.e., she still felt stung about being left by her parents who moved to Taiwan without her when she was 8 and her grandmother's death a few years ago) by immersing herself in her work. Her 11-year unrequited love for Hero's brother was really more a 17-year-old girl's fantasy that she never grew out of. Holding on to her impossible dream of being loved back by her boss was a safety net for her. It prevented her from being hurt or being really in love. She's had brief relationships and flings with other men throughout the years but none had ever shaken her out of her controlled world. Which was what she wanted. I don't think she would've known what to do if Hero's brother actually turned his sights on her.  It didn't bother her that he was content and in love with his wife. She was genuinely happy for them. She may have been disturbed by her unrequited love for Hero here and there but not enough to ruffle her controlled existence. Her feelings for Hero's brother was really more out of good friendship and respect and a girl's romantic fantasy than it was a flesh-and-blood-and-sex man and woman relationship. 

Meeting Hero brought a whirlwind of unexpected changes in heroine's life. She began feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, wanting, lusting, annoyed, and grumpy. Conditions that were unfamiliar to her. The discrepancies of her unrequited fantasy love for Hero's brother and the myriad of tangible feelings she had for Hero confused her usually calm and stable world.  Hero's in-your-face and bigger-than-life personality made it hard to ignore him and the emotions he was evoking in her. And I loved that. Because he wasn't forcing his way into her life. He was merely being himself and that was enough to bring out untapped emotions from her. His honesty and non-conforming manner made her face herself and him with the kind of honesty that was new to her.  So, what she thought was just a 1-night-stand turned out to be much more than she expected. 

Although the seeds of truth about her true feelings for Hero's brother were dropped along the way in the story, it wasn't until pretty much the end that she finally accepted and abandoned her unrequited-love fantasy for her boss/Hero's brother. It signified her willingness to embrace a life open to emotions and the unexpected. It signified her openness to adult love and whatever that may bring. What's interesting was that her initial realization that she was in love with Hero way before the end made her feel the contrast between her feelings for Hero versus her feelings for Hero's brother.  It was actually a seamless transition for her, feeling-wise, but she didn't want to think about what that meant in her head. So it was her mind that she had to come to grips with in order to make her final goodbye to her childish fantasy and fully step into her new life with Hero. I got teary-eyed when Hero took as evidence that she must really be in love with him from her disheveled appearance and obviously distressed facial expression. And her chasing after him at the airport. He loved how openly emotional she was in public with him and that he affected her that much. 

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

We saw more of the progression of her character change in the book. How she appeared to be in the beginning was a very different person than who she ended up being. What I liked about their character development was how smoothly it was portrayed. It felt like we were watching it unfold instead of being told it was unfolding. 

The romance was lovely. There's a lot of explicit sex scenes in the book. Interestingly, the emotional content of all that explicit hotness was what jumped out at me more than the positions or orgasms. The sex scenes served to highlight the growing emotional involvement between Hero and heroine. The sexual positions, orgasms, and even sex tools directed us to the openness and trust heroine had with Hero, something she's never really had with any other man. It also showed us that, as sexually experienced Hero may be, his sexual experiences with heroine surpassed any other. Not because of the sex techniques or her physical appearance but because of how she impacted his whole being. His obsession with her body parts and her whole body didn't feel lewd at all. It highlighted how much she captivated him, when you add in his obsession about being with her and breaking his usual hook-up rules with other women. The sex scenes made their love for each other feel more tangible. And, when it's paired with their non-sexual times together, cuddling, sleeping, walking, and eating together, it made for a solid romance. 

I confidently recommend this book.

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