Draw Me Close - Hearts and Crafts series, Book 3

Author: Nicole Michaels

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5


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Lindsey Morales is renovating her friend's house while trying to avoid the architect who is handling the structural part of the work. Architect Derek Walsh and Lindsey have a history. Lindsey is still angry at Derek for marrying someone else. Derek can't believe Lindsey won't talk to him long enough to let him apologize. Can she resist this smooth talker when he decides to win over her affection again?

Derek not only got married after breaking up with Lindsey, but he also had a son. Lindsey can't forget their incredible relationship eight years prior and the bomb Derek unloaded when he told her that he loved someone else. Lindsey still feels naive for not knowing Derek was involved with another woman when she was falling in love with him. When she realizes Derek's son is around eight years old, Lindsey feels duped even more.

Derek's best friend Mike is marrying one of Lindsey's best friends and fellow bloggers, Anne. Anne started a blog, then invited Callie to join her. Next they invited Lindsey to post about her specialties, such as repurposing furniture and making trash into treasure. They're also sharing the house renovation and Anne's upcoming wedding with their followers. Lindsey's friends know her need to avoid Derek, but will they help or hinder her wishes?

One of my favorite themes for contemporary romance is reunited lovers. I'm also extremely fond of house renovation and blogging so this story drew me in, even though I hadn't read the first two books in the HEARTS AND CRAFTS series. There is a lot of detail about the house renovation so if you're intrigued by that sort of thing, you won't be disappointed. The wedding planning and the actual wedding of Anne and Mike is also a big part of this novel, so if you've read the previous books, you'll enjoy catching up with those characters. I actually bought book one START ME UP, which is Anne and Mike's story, prior to accepting book three to review because I love the idea of a series based on crafts and blogging. I'm looking forward to reading START ME UP next. Book three, DRAW ME CLOSE, is also easily read as a standalone.

Lindsey's anger and pain is palpable from the very beginning. She has shut herself off from Derek and wants to keep it that way. Lindsey is bitter about their relationship and focuses on her work. But Derek still loves Lindsey and isn't ready to give up on the idea of a future with her. He actually finds her bossy way of telling him what to do with the house renovations sexy. Derek knows he made a mistake and he's willing to do whatever he possibly can to fix their past and create a future.

I understood Lindsey's anger but it was hard to read about it throughout most of the book. Even though I felt bad for Lindsey, I also wanted her to move on and stop dwelling. Derek was a jerk in the way he handled their breakup. He lied and Lindsey had to live with that lie for eight years. I also understood Derek's reasoning for the lie. He was trying to do what was best for everyone involved, but even I had a hard time forgiving him and not thinking of him as anything but a first class jerk. Even though I felt the writing mechanics and techniques were flawless, I couldn't warm up to either character enough to be completely convinced of their happy-ever-after until the last couple of chapters. It was a sweet ending but the inner turmoil lasted too long for my preference.

I also didn't enjoy the initial portrayal of the ex-wife. I really dislike the commonality in most of these types of stories when the ex-wife is depicted as a villain. When in truth, she's just as hurt as the rest of them. Eventually she gets a chance to redeem herself in this story, which was a nice change of pace, but I was already disturbed by her primary characterization as the bad girl.

Even though I wasn't fond of some aspects of this novel, I enjoyed author Nicole Michaels' ability to weave convincing characterization. She made me feel for her characters even when I didn't agree with their actions. Nicole Michaels writes a sexy story where sex is prominent in the couple's relationship before they commit. Not quite erotic, it will please readers who prefer a sensual story.

DRAW ME CLOSE is a good play on words for this couple's artistic abilities. There's a cute scenario repeated from their past that's part of their courtship. If you enjoy contemporary relationship stories with a creative theme, check out the HEARTS AND CRAFTS trilogy: START ME UP, WIN ME OVER and DRAW ME CLOSE.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dorine Linnen

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