Book+Main Loves: Fierce at Heart
by Donna Soluri
Welcome to Book+Main Loves, a place for us to recommend some of the books that have captured our hearts and our fancy. We’re excited to share with you all the romance reads that have made us smile and laugh, cringe and cry, and all the feels in between. If you’d like to know more about Book+Main Loves, please feel free to reach to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below. Now, without any further ado, let’s get into it!
Fierce at Heart
Series: Kincaids of Pine Harbour #2
Author: Zoe York
Release Date: January 26, 2021
While scrolling Twitter one day, I stumbled across author Zoe York announcing the next release in her Pine Harbour spin-off. With keywords like marriage of convenience, friends-to-lovers, small town, age gap, older woman/younger man, I knew I needed to add this one to my reading list as quickly as possible! Those keywords had me at hello! Allow me to set the stage for you . . .
Adam Kincaid has a rather sad backstory; orphaned at a young age, his gaggle of older brothers did their best to raise him while figuring out how to raise themselves. No matter what Adam attempted to do in life, he always felt like he somehow came up short. Obviously, that wasn’t the case, but sometimes the brain thinks what the brain thinks, and changing that hardwiring can be a struggle. Most importantly, Adam lived the first 29 years of his life thinking he lacked the ability to love, like true romantic love. This is shocking because Adam is one of the most loveable characters ever written, good to his core. Looking for structure, he enlisted in the military and eventually landed under the battlefield command of Isla Peterson.
Isla’s family upbringing wasn’t sad or tragic, just a bit on the unemotional side. A lack of emotion probably served her well in combat, but it made it hard for her to deeply connect with those around her. She was an excellent leader, filled with solid advice and support for those in her charge, but she definitely built walls up around her heart. The one time she let her guard down and let a person in was the one time she shouldn’t have, the one person she should’ve kept out—her now super creepy, narcissistic ex-husband. Isla won’t make the same mistake twice. Where Adam doesn’t think he CAN love, Isla feels very strongly that she doesn’t NEED love.
Several years after both Adam and Isla leave the military, they randomly reunite. Their friendly banter rekindles their long-lost friendship and it quickly escalates into a smoking hot one-night stand. They part ways with no regrets but agree they are better off as friends and should keep the physical part out of their relationship. When an unbelievable opportunity appears, and both Adam and Isla can capture their new professional dreams, the friends decide a marriage of convenience is the best thing for both. Remember, he thinks he can’t love, and she doesn’t want love . . . what could possibly go wrong?
“…sensual, angsty, slow burn, heated glances will keep you turning pages
in hopes of some release well into the pre-dawn hours!”
I love a book that gives me two characters on an equal playing field of emotional baggage, who are mature enough to actually talk out their problems so they can move forward. It’s refreshing when people in the romance books we love open up and honestly share their feelings with each other. Watching Isla figure out how to ask for help and learn what true friendship means is a joy. The concept is so foreign to her, and she’s so suspicious of everyone’s motivations (thanks to her horrible ex-husband), she genuinely doesn’t know how to react to things. For a person that honed her reaction time on the battlefield, stretching this new relationship muscle is unsettling for her. Almost as difficult to comprehend as Adam realizing he doesn’t have to live in the shadow of his brothers, with the ghosts of his youth haunting him in the small hometown he loves so much. York gives us so much believable and smartly paced character growth in both Adam and Isla, I struggle to pick a favorite! These two develop a deep, pure friendship first, and of course, everyone in town—except the two of them—can clearly see how much they genuinely love each other.
And, did I mention the sexual tension? Whoa, nelly! York might give us a hot and fast one-night stand early on, but the rest of it is sensual, angsty, slow burn, heated glances, lingering touches that will keep you turning pages in hopes of some release well into the pre-dawn hours! The sexual tension is palpable as it explodes on the scene mere hours after the newlyweds move in together. It’s so much fun to watch both of them struggle to keep each other in the friend-zone. And when they finally succumb to their physical attraction, a dam breaks, and emotions neither one knows what to do with rushes to the surface, raw and expectant. It’s nothing short of delicious!
Pine Harbour is full of quirky, fun secondary characters that need to find their own happily ever afters. I look forward to visiting this world again and again.
Donna should be an empty nester, but she’s not, thanks COVID-19. She’s a voracious reader of all books; she can’t pick just one sub-genre. A staunch supporter of seasoned romance and a lover of cupcakes, you’ll often find her with a cup of tea and a mountainous TBR pile close at hand. Follow her @DonnaSoluri on B+M Bites.
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