My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe is a 2014 Loveswept publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.
Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.
Ashley should be given a pat on the back for: 1) not giving in to her mother's ideals, 2) for the volunteer work she does without asking for anything in return, 3) for putting up with Brody when he was one of the most hard headed men on planet earth.
Brody is not the easiest person to warm up to and I found I wanted to slap him around a few times. However, I don't know if anyone was harder on Brody than himself. He never was really nurtured growing up and while he was grateful he was adopted he carries around a lot of baggage. It's easy to judge someone when we don't know all the facts and as Brody's story unfolds it's plain to see there was a lot more going on than what appears on the surface. Brody desperately wants to let go of his fear , bitterness, and pain and open his heart up to give and receive love, not only from his father and brother, but from Ashley.. the kind of love and pain he fears the most. I hate the moniker- " You deserve better than me". Ashley hears this and Brody thinks it a lot. Ashley is sort of a goodie goodie type , but she has her own set of family issues having grown up in the ugly world of politics. Ashley's mother makes Brody's father look like an angel in comparison.
This was a really great story that proves love is indeed patient and can conquer all if we let it. Class and money differences, past mistakes, misunderstandings, fear, heartache and years of resentment made the work Ashley and Brody and his family have to do much harder, but perhaps it is more rewarding as well. The side characters included Brody's brother and a young lady he was in competition with business wise in the small Arkansas town. The two had been less than friendly toward one another for several years, but finally realized that by working together instead of against each other, they could accomplish so much more, including a little romance of their own.
This book will appeal to adult contemporary and women's fiction and chick lit fans. This one will get a 5 star rating!
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