February 2015, Piatkus, 419 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Content: some violence, strong adult relation scenes, strong language, some humour, tissues needed
Summary from Amazon (Piatkus website down at time of scheduling this post)
The explosive, emotional, standalone new story from the NYT bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series
Alexa Holland's father was her hero-until she made a shocking discovery. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who's as damaged by her father's mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.
Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa's efforts at redemption, but it's not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and all-consuming affair.
Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for, and when they're on the precipice of danger, he finds he'll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again . . .
As ever what appealed to me the most about the premise of Hero wasn't the romance but the life Alexa leads. Intrigued by what the mystery surrounding her and her father, at first I couldn't fathom why Caine would hate her when he (presumably) barely knew her. Let's just say it was a big bombshell, one which I thought Caine was a teensy bit ridiculous over as it wasn't Alexa's fault in the slightest! No one should be blamed for any member of their family's transgressions, but unfortunately Alexa was judged.
She, however, is persistant in finding ways to show Caine that she isn't at fault, it's nothing to do with her. The tragedy is frequently on both Alexa and Caine's mind as they not only work together but develop a vague relationship which is more than they care to admit. My personal thoughts always are no romantic relations before marriage, because of the heartache and uncertainty it any other romance causes which is seen in Alexa's guilt/hurt when Caine inevitably pushes her away. However, due to his position in his business he was sometimes a total gentleman, spoiling Alexa in a way she did deserve.
Enough on the main stars, now onto their friends! Until a mega unexpected plot twist I liked Alexa's grandfather a smidge, as he did care about her but, as the twist reveals, my mind soon changed and in polite Nayu terms her is a moron and a nitwit by not standing up for the issues close to his heart more. As with everything in life his role is complicated.
The one person whose role isn't complicated, who I'd have to tell that lemon meringue pie isn't my kind of pie but I love cherry is Effie. Dear Effie is a matchmaker, who sees what Alexa and Caine don't see, who helps them communicate better, and who is plain funny.
Oh, before I forget, the rating is because some of the plot was predictable, which I like in a story like this, and there's the intense romance parts which I skipped over to the next chapter. There is a whopper of a twist near the end which makes everything dangerous, exciting, and really heightened my reader happiness level. All in all a fun read.
Find out more on Samantha's website.