Name: Precious Embrace
Author: Dana Chapman
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Date Published: 7/11/2013
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
A second divorce and a new baby wasn’t the vision Alison Hayes had for her future. Now a single mother with two young boys, she wants to focus on her kids and what’s left of her stagnant career.
When Detective Johnny Rhay Bennett breezes into her life with his country-boy accent, she wants to run. She doesn’t need another man in her life, or another reason to make people talk. But when her worst nightmare becomes a reality, Johnny is the only person who can pull Ali out of her despair, forcing her to stay strong and not give up hope of finding her missing child.
Who falls in love after a one-night stand? Johnny Rhay doesn’t believe it’s possible until it happens to him. With Nashville in his rear-view mirror, he’s determined to convince Alison she loves him too, even if it means moving to the West Coast.
Ali’s not easy, and she’s living on just this side of bitter after her divorce, but Johnny doesn’t care. He’s up for the challenge. At least, he believes he’s up for it until baby Micah is stolen right out from under his nose. Now Johnny has to keep it together and get that sweet little boy home safe before his dreams of having a family vanish too.
Dana Mason started writing to prove to her computer geek husband and her math & science geek kids that she actually has a brain; it’s just a right functioning brain instead of a left. She’s lived all over the country and uses that experience in her writing and character studies. Her debut novel, Dangerous Embrace, is the first in a contemporary romance series about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don’t hold on to what’s important. Second chances don’t come easy…but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She’s also a board member on the local Art’s Council and does what she can to support the art community.
As an avid reader and movie watcher, she always requires a happily ever after ending.
I had the pleasure of reading the first book (Dangerous Embrace) before starting Precious Embrace. Unfortunately, I had to go to bed this morning at 5 am without being able to finish Precious Embrace before posting this, but I am going to review Dangerous Embrace as I know Precious Embrace is either going to be just as fantastic or better!!
This book is about a woman, Sarah, who, when walking to her car after her job as a teacher, gets attacked. She not only gets a number of really good punches in on this guy, but runs into the arms of a stunning man during her escape. Not only does she have to learn to trust this man (because it’s not like he is going anywhere anyway) but she has to learn to love again as well.
The opening of the book was intense. I certainly wasn’t expecting the situation as it happened. I am so beside myself for her strength and her diligence in the beginning to not only get away, but to try and fix the pieces of her life; to not let him control her.
The morning after, she wakes up to a strange man in her house. A man who not only helped her the night before, but is helping her now. A complete stranger!! After some very unnecessary attitude, this mystery man decides to leave.
Mark couldn’t believe the woman who bulldozed him in the parking lot while picking up his mom and sister. She was clearly attacked and was trying to get away. He stayed with her all night at the hospital and him and his mom brought her home and put her to bed. The next morning she wakes up and she has the audacity to have an attitude problem with him!! WOW!! After everything he did for her!?! But, he understands. She was stripped of her dignity, her safety, her life the night before. He can give her some wiggle room. Ah man…where is this man in my life?!?! LOL. Mark is undoubtedly the most understanding man I think that has ever been created. I certainly wouldn’t deal with myself acting that way let alone someone else. I love his pitbull attitude that he was holding on and not letting go.
The story progresses rather slowly. But, the amazing thing is, you don’t care. You are so enthralled by her strength and his attentiveness that you don’t care that there is a rapist and murderer that still needs to be caught. I know this sounds strange. In the past, if the book didn’t get to the point, I had a tendency to lose interest in the book. But, not with this one. I wanted to hear about what she was thinking, what he was thinking, what everyone else was thinking. I actually loved being inside their heads because it wasn’t mindless internal turmoil.
The one thing I can say is I felt that the internal turmoil over her past lessened the story some. I felt like poor Mark was always walking on egg shells with her because she has such a flighty response to anything difficult that comes her way. But, at the same time, it makes sense. With everything she had to deal with of course she doesn’t see any reason to stick around if things are going south. And it helps at the end when she finally realizes her feelings for Mark. All it needed was them two in the middle of the street and raining. Very 80s!!
Mark is definitely the “Knight in Shining Armor” character in this story. The lengths he goes to to keep Sarah safe and make her his for eternity is profound. Why can’t real men be a attentive as him? Why can’t they be as caring? Oh, I know why…real men weren’t created in the mind of Dana Mason. Bravo on the perfect KSA!!!
This book gets no less than 4 stars from me. This story was sweet, inventive, and everything you would want in a love story. The action was very well played out and well positioned in the book so as to not have things end too soon or too late. Very well written and well thought out. Definitely love the happily ever after.
Ali Hayes knew the phrase tall drink of water was cliché, and she never really understood it. But when she opened her front door and came face-to-face with Johnny Rhay Bennett, clad in tight jeans and an even tighter black t-shirt, there was no other way to describe him.
It had been two months since they’d spent the night together and she honestly never thought she’d see him again. It took her several seconds to find her voice and when she did, she had little control over what came out. “Wow. You were the last person I expected to find at my door. What are you doing here?”
“Well it’s good to see you too.” He leaned in close. “I probably should have called first, but I didn’t get your phone number the last time…,” His lips quirked into a little grin and Ali had to wet her lips because her mouth had gone dry.
She took a step back, hoping to regain her senses. Flashes of their previous brief encounters flashed in her head and she had to fight to keep from covering her face in embarrassment. The baby in her arms squirmed and started whining, unceremoniously bringing her back to the present. She shifted and rocked the baby. “Um…sorry, I’m just surprised to see you here. Are you in town to visit Sarah and Mark? They’re in Arizona on vacation. I hope you didn’t make the trip for nothing.”
“I guess they didn’t tell you the latest.” He looked from her to the open door.
“Sorry, come in.” She held the door open further and took a step back. Once she let him inside, she realized she shouldn’t have. Her house looked like a stampede of kindergartners had barged through. “Sorry about the mess. I haven’t had a moment of peace in three days.”
Johnny looked around and said, “You alone? Did Jamie go with Mark and Sarah?”
“Yeah, he went with his dad.” Micah kicked out and started crying. Ali wanted to cry too. She bounced him, which only made him more irritable. “So what’s the latest?” she asked Johnny.
“Oh, ah…well, I’ve moved out here permanently.”
She drew back. “I’m sorry, what?”
His smile faltered a little and he said, “You’re looking at Santa Rosa’s newest detective.”
“Why would you move…why California? I thought you loved Nashville.”
“No…well, it’s alright I guess, but I was never in love with the place.” He looked down at Micah when Micah kicked out again. “What’s the matter, little guy?” Johnny reached out and rubbed Micah’s little bald head. His eyebrows drew together. “Ali, he’s hot.”
“I know. I gave him some baby Tylenol…he’s so cranky.”
Johnny held out his hands. “Let me have him…don’t you have any help?” He looked down into her eyes, irritation clear on his face. Ali hesitated, but Johnny motioned again. She gave in and handed the baby over. Johnny cradled Micah to his chest and murmured to him in a quiet, steady voice.
“I don’t need help. I’m perfectly capable of handling Micah on my own.”
Johnny cooed, “Hey, little man, what’s going on here, huh?” He smiled at Ali. “You’re lucky, babies love me.”
Micah stared at Johnny and the whining stopped. She crossed her arms over her chest. “I didn’t realize you were such an expert with babies.”
“My cousin Jerry has a house full. I’ve spent a lot of time with them.” Johnny glanced back at her, his eyes traveling from her feet to her face. “Why don’t you go take a nap? I’ll look after him for a little while.”
“Ah, no, I’m sure you didn’t come here to babysit.” She tilted her head. “So you really left Nashville?”
“Yeah, I needed a change and figured California was as good a place as any.” He looked down at Micah and a soft smile lit his face. “I can’t believe how different he looks. The last time I saw him he looked like a little blob of flesh.”
Ali chuckled and said, “He was only a couple weeks old then. He’s four months now.”
“He’s a cute little thing, isn’t he?” Their eyes met and the soft expression on his face nearly stopped her heart. She wished like hell he didn’t have that effect on her, but damn he was hard to resist. “I missed seeing him at Mark and Sarah’s wedding, but I guess I can honestly say, I’m glad you didn’t bring him…we might not have had as much fun.”
She thought of Hawaii and his smile. Mark and Sarah’s cliff top wedding had been on Valentine’s Day, two months before, but she hadn’t forgotten one second of the night she’d spent with Johnny. What had she been thinking? It was the beaches, the sun—the incredibly romantic wedding. She rubbed a hand over her face. Watching her ex-husband marry the girl of his dreams that night had been difficult for her. Not because she was jealous, but because her own love life had become such a disaster. She had a brand new baby and was in the middle of her second divorce. God…where had things gone wrong?
When Johnny approached her at their reception, he’d caught her in a moment of self-pity and pathetic-ness. Seeing him at the wedding, coming face to face with such a beautiful person in such a beautiful place felt like a hit of adrenalin to her heart. And the way he was with her…so attentive, considerate and…sweet. After spending the night with him, she’d convinced herself she’d fallen for him because of her crappy self-esteem and neediness. But seeing him now, two months later, she realized it wasn’t about her, but about him. He was exactly the same each time she’d seen him. This is what made him so irresistible. There were no pretenses. He was exactly what he portrayed, and he always seemed to speak with sincerity, so unlike many men who were full of awful pick-up lines and charm. Johnny was just a straight talking good guy…and he wanted her. She could see that in his eyes now.