Assistant District Attorney Erin Marsden has always lived her life on the straight and narrow. She is known around town as the ultimate good girl and she is okay with that because she never wanted to disappoint her family. After her brother’s wedding, a lonely Erin heads to the local bar to drown her sorrows and runs into Cole Sanders, the resident bad boy of Serendipity. A few drinks later, Cole and Erin are heading back to his apartment for the best sex of her life.
After dropping out of the police academy, many people suspected Cole was into illegal stuff like drugs or organized crime, including his own father. It turns out they were right, but not in the way they thought. He is actually an undercover officer who is just returning from a case that took a year of being deep undercover, and left him with some emotional scars. Erin sees the good in him behind the shadows in his eyes, but the morning after their passionate night together, he tells her he doesn’t like long drawn out morning afters. Erin gathers up her pride and leaves.
Flash forward 3 months and Erin is vomiting in the courthouse bathroom when her friend Trina insists on buying a pregnancy test immediately so that Erin can get an answer. The test is positive and Erin’s life is turned upside down, especially considering Cole hasn’t even said hi to her since that fateful night. Shortly after she finds out she’s pregnant – and still hasn’t told Cole – Erin gets shot in the parking lot at work. Cole overhears that she is pregnant while she’s talking to the nurse in the hospital and then Erin’s brothers find out as well. After other incidents at Erin’s home, Cole takes her to a secluded location to keep her safe from her stalker.
I was not familiar with the Serendipity novels or with Carly Phillips and I definitely feel like I’ve been missing out. I could absolutely relate to Erin with her independence and determination to continue her work at important places, like the small office she goes to in order to help abused women. I loved that Erin was written as a strong woman throughout, even when the future of her relationship with Cole is in doubt. She fights for what she wants but when she thinks it is not going to happen, she holds on to her pride and focuses on her child and her life.
Cole was also completely loveable even though he was convinced that Erin and their baby would be better off without him. He was protective but not overbearing and he genuinely wanted what was best for Erin, even though he was misguided as to what that was.
When the stalker makes the final play for Erin, she winds up in the hospital again and refuses to see Cole. He finally realizes that he’s in love with her and quits the undercover work in order to move back to Serendipity to make a family with Erin and their baby. It is a very sweet scene when he proposes to her and I look forward to hearing more about their life with their daughter in future books.
While Erin grew up in an ideal family, Cole grew up with his father insulting him and telling him he was never going to amount to anything. Eventually his mother got fed up with the treatment and she took Cole and ran away. She remarried and while he has a good relationship with his step-dad, the issues with his dad have really weighed on him. Erin helps to bridge the way for him to develop a relationship with his dad who suffers a heart attack. (*more spoilers*)There is a very heartwarming scene in the hospital between Cole and his dad where Cole finally hears from his dad why he acted the way he did and the two resolve to start working on their relationship so that Cole and Erin’s baby can get to know their grandfather.
I liked the way Phillips weaved the stalker storyline throughout the book but made it secondary to the relationship between Cole and Erin. Sometimes you read a story like this and the subplot of the danger to the hero/heroine ends up taking over most of the book and character development suffers because of it. In this story there were times when the danger Erin was in was the focus, but I felt that even those moments were written in a way that still kept the attention on Erin and Cole (i.e. how protective Cole was). I figured out who the stalker was very early on in the book, but that didn’t take away from the storyline for me. We also get a sneak peak at who Sam is going to be with and I cannot wait for that story!
*ARC Provided by Penguin/ Jove
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Perfect Flingby Carly PhillipsRelease Date: July 30, 2013Publisher: Jove