I started reading Falling for Her at about 8 PDT last night and finished it just under a half hour ago. Ms. Owens seems to infuse her books with a psychotropic drug as the same thing happened when I read Someone Like Her last year. (As soon as I saw Falling for Her available on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it.) Falling for Her is the third book in the K2 series (the follow up to Someone Like Her). For those that aren’t familiar with this series, it follows the members of an elite SEAL team after they have retired and gone into private practice. They are led by Logan Kincaid, hero of the first book in the series, and each book focuses on one of the other men. Falling for Her is Jamie’s book.
Jamie (aka Saint) joined the Navy after his parents’ deaths ten years previously and ever since he has given up every one of his vices. This means no alcohol, drugs, or cursing. It also means the only sex he allows himself to have is boring. He’s gotten it into his head that doing any of these things would put him back on the bad path he’d been traveling before his parents died. Until recently, he hasn’t had a problem with any of it, but then Sugar Darling shows up at K2 as their new secretary and she tempts him in ways no other woman has ever done.
Sugar isn’t what she seems and she can’t afford to let anyone get close enough to see the real her because that would mean she’d have to run. She knows that if the time comes when she has to do that, she could, but she likes her life in Pensacola and she likes working at K2. It is the first place she’s felt safe since she escaped from a bad situation two years prior. Because of her past, she doesn’t trust anyone, but she wants to trust Jamie–first with her body and then with her heart. She just doesn’t know if she can do that.
While reading last night, I tweeted out that this was the type of book that reminded me why I started reading romantic suspense back when I was a freshman in high school, and it is true. The only difference between this book and all those Harlequin Impulse books that I read back then is the page count (and probably the heat level).
Both Jamie and Sugar are complex characters, bringing a ton of baggage to the relationship, both thinking that the other wouldn’t be able to deal with their issues. There were times when I kept flashing back to the end of La Vie Boheme from RENT, to the part where Roger and Mimi sing about looking for someone whose baggage goes with theirs. The sentiment sure as hell fit. I enjoyed watching these two go from circling each other like cats in heat to falling for each other.
What I really liked about Falling for Her was the way Ms. Owens handled Sugar’s fears. She deftly navigated a situation that if done wrong could have killed the book. I can’t really get into this without spoiling it, so I will white it out. If you want to know, highlight the text below.
Before coming to Pensacola, Sugar was forced to marry a powerful man when she was just out of high school. Her father more or less traded her for a job on their town’s police force and never once considered what it would do to her. During her marriage, she was repeatedly abused/raped by her husband, but only got the courage to leave after witnessing him murder an elderly woman who had been her only friend.
I liked the fact that Sugar is still dealing with her traumatic past and it would have been very easy for Ms. Owens just to sweep it all under a rug, pretending that none of it had an effect on Sugar’s psychological well-being. It would have been easy, but it also would have been unrealistic.
The one issue I had with the book was the fact that Jamie replaced curses with stupid little phrases reminiscent of Will Ferrel in Elf. He did this because he thought that cursing would lead to worse things, and while I understand that, I think that by replacing curses with innocuous phrases, he’s simply obeying the letter of the law that he’s set for himself, but he’s not obeying the spirit of it.
Words like “shit”, “damn”, and “fuck” only denote what they do because of the reason they’re said and behind every “terrible turtles” (or whatever other nonsense phrase Jamie came up with) was the very curses that he was trying to avoid. As someone who seems to have been born with a potty mouth, I don’t really think there is anything wrong with cursing from time to time (as long as every other word isn’t a “fuck”) because some things just call for them.
Annoying as that was, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book or recommending it to others.
Falling for Her is currently available for Pre-Order and will be released on September 29th. It will also be available for free to Kindle Unlimited users.