by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #2
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Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly. But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try. Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
I really enjoyed On Dublin Street and immediately pre-ordered Down London Road by Samantha Young. Ignoring my tight reading schedule I decided to jump right in and read it. Once again Young gave me fleshed out, complicated characters that I found myself rooting for. I quickly consumed this in a single evening and cannot wait to go back. Three word review: heart-warming, sizzling and captivating.
We met Johanna Walker in On Dublin Street and I was apprehensive about reading her story. On the surface she is a Paraná looking for a sugar daddy, but Johanna;s life is complicated. Her father is MIA and she has been left to taking care of her younger brother Cole and her sorry excuse for a mother. She does not let many people into her inner circle, especially the men she dates. In fact, you might even say Johanna is completely two different people. One works at a bar and cares for the family the other molds herself into the perfect girlfriend. When Cameron MacCabe walks in he completely upends Johanna’s world and the tale that unfolded had me giggling, sighing and shedding a tear.
Once you get pass Jo’s outward persona and see the real Jo you cannot help but admire how strong and courageous she is. She has managed to make a home for her brother, work two jobs to make ends meet and is looking for a way to better both of their lives. She has some self-esteem issues and I think Young does a wonderful job of showing how this affects a person’s self-worth. She likes the men she dates and sex is ok, but she’s never really felt an intense physical or emotional attachment. Cameron MacCabe is a tattooed, dark haired, abs of steel, Irish god. *swoons* Cameron had me uneasy after the first encounter but I quickly came to adore him. The chemistry between these two was smokin’ hot and watching them interact and keep boundaries was hilarious and had me on pins and needles waiting for the inevitable. Jocelyn and Braden had some scene time as well as his family. Jocelyn has really grown and become more confident. We saw growth in her and it was fun to see her blossom.
Young really gets me with her characters. They are complex, a little flawed and at their core good people struggling to make it in this crazy world. Dublin is the backdrop to this story and I now fantasies about moving there. Both Jo and Cam are in relationships at the onset and while no lines were crossed, I imagine if you were in a room with them the sexual tension would be electrifying. I so enjoyed their pre-tango dance and the buildup was delicious. The romance felt genuine and the chemistry curled my toes. Young creates steamy scenes that sizzle with just the right amount of details. She managed to give this series a small-town feel and I like how old characters and new interact and form bigger circles. The tale flowed wonderfully, with the right amount of tension, heat and drama to keep me turning the pages. I consumed this in one sitting and cannot wait for book three.
If you like character driven romance in small-town settings check out Down London Road and its predecessor On Dublin Street. The third book will publish in 2014.