on April 25th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Ash Bennett’s had enough. She’s not wasting any more time longing for Prince Charming and getting stuck with Prince 'Babe, What’s For Dinner?'
If she can’t find a respectable, self-sufficient man to start a family with she’ll just do it by herself. It's better than pinning all your hopes on a guy who's never going to make you happy. Take Dean Sherwood, sure he’s stupid hot but that doesn’t pay the bills or remember to pick you up from the airport. No, they’re just having a little fun until Ash can find a donor. Right?
If only it was that easy...
Everyone loves Dean. He’s easygoing, a great footballer and always up for a beer or sixteen. He also has the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel on MDMA, but that’s never been a problem where the opposite sex is concerned. At least it wasn’t until he met Ash. Beautiful, driven and wild in bed; she's all he's ever wanted in a wife.
Unfortunately, he's far from what she wants in a husband, what with his perpetually empty bank account and inability to cook anything other than bacon. When she tells him he’s not baby-daddy material, Dean vows to become the man she needs, whatever it takes.
Open Hearts is the sequel to Locked Box. It features angst, bogans, hot sex, naked snowboarding and the triumphant return of Max and Julia who are dealing with a romantic dilemma of their own.
Let me start this review by proclaiming that Open Hearts is a heartfelt and delightful read that had me smiling and tearing up. Sometimes at the very same time. Even a few weeks after finishing it I feel a rush of warmth just thinking about it. Dean and Ash truly got under my skin, in the very best ways.
Ash and Dean have rich backstories making for a plot that is fun, sexy and romantic. Dangerfield’s writing is balanced by a whimsical delivery and a thoughtful reflection. It’s a captivating story showcasing both clever inner dialogue and witty conversations between Dean, Ash, Ashs’ sister Julie, and her significant other Max from (Locked Box.)
I liked Ash from the start as it’s easy to empathize with her predicament. She’s focused on the goal of becoming a mother, with or without a day to day partner helping to raise a child. She’s not made the best choices when it comes to men so when she begins contemplating the best way to achieve this, her life gets a
bit a lot more complicated. She’s also faced with a interesting proposition and an even more interesting fling with Dean. As surely as Dean starts to work his way into Ash’s life, her walls go up.
So now I expound on my crush on Dean. Lordy do I love Dean. Dangerfield captures the smallest things, his inner thoughts, and shows us who Dean is. His thoughtful and sweet nature stole my breathe:
“He’d sent her a picture of the sunrise , accompanied by the caption: made me think of you. Because it’s so pretty, not because you’re orange or anything.
Ash stared at the picture and felt the ridiculous urge to cry. He wasn’t asking her for a date, or a chance to finish what they started in the bathroom at Julia’s game launch. He’d just sent her a picture because…
“Because he likes me,” she whispered. “He likes me.”
Clearly this isn’t something Ash is used to. Just being liked. But how or why would she even fight that? Well, Ash has some emotional baggage and some preconceived notions about who Dean is and that holds her back.
As we learn more about him, as his story unfolds, it’s evident just how wonder this “Ginger beauty” is. He’s had a rough life, he’s generous and had people take advantage of him, but he’s inspired to take more control (or in Ash’s case, to give up some control). Dean may be seen as a “simple” man, but he’s not stupid. He may talk like a dork, say exactly what’s on his mind in a way that makes you question his intelligence, but it’s short sighted to see him this way. Jeez, I’m defending him. And another thing…the man’s fascination with the Princess Bride is cleverly worked in. There’s so many many reasons why I love Dean.
All in all, I love how the story plays out, how Ash figures out what she really feels and allows herself to go there:
“Clearly this man was her kryptonite , and as Dean snored softly behind her, Ash tried to work out why.”
It’s a battle and there are some tear inducing moments, but only because these characters came alive for me. As book boyfriends and couples go, these two rank up in the top echelon. I wholeheartedly recommend this 5++ star read. It’s a book I already want to re-read and that says it all – well, all because Dean just makes me smile.
~Review by Cyndi