Raven and Nico hooked up in book one of this series, but something happened between them that killed off the fireworks, and ever since then Raven has hated the big cop with a passion. Pretty early on in this novel, we find out Nico never called Raven after their special sexy night. They’d had an intense experience, sharing a whole heap of deeply personal stuff and creating a bond, so Nico’s ghosting just didn’t make sense.
She’s a goth/punk/tattooed bad ass, he’s a brooding, muscled guy in uniform, with an ethical streak a mile wide. I anticipated fireworks when they finally got it back together, but the tale was more of hard times and woe.
Sixteen months after the hook up, Raven follows her friends to move to the city they, their fellas, plus Nico, live in. She avoids Nico, but he finds her, sort of explains himself, says he’s sorry and all is pretty quickly forgiven. I guess it had to be as there was a whole heap of stuff for them to work through.
Our heroine has another motive in moving cities – she wants to find her older sister. They’d grown up in pretty dire circumstances and the sister fled many years ago. There’s a Bad Reason for this, and Raven feels responsible. In the meantime, our girl is also trying to change her career and become an amateur photographer, going out with Nico and taking shots of homeless people to create an exhibit. She’s more than just a poverty tourist as this is about drawing attention to the plight of these folks – her grandmother was homeless once.
Nico’s family are criminal-fringe, and his brother is about to go to jail if Nico can’t find a witness for him. It’ll destroy Nico’s family if this happens. This, along with Raven’s bleak history, means there was a fair amount of downbeat scenes and difficulties.
For the first quarter of the book, I found this a barrier. I expected to really like the characters, but the fun sides of them, the big personality and attitude of Raven, and the sexy seriousness of Nico, paled behind the issues. There was more of an anxious/cross/moody mood and that’s what it had to be. I wanted more tenderness and romance for them. Saying that, there was a beautiful scene at dawn on a beach where he pulls her into his lap (he’s sweaty and shirtless after his run) and the sky is all pink and it’s just lovely. Yum.
Perhaps because of this, the relationship development wasn’t perfect for me. I felt a draw, but I wanted there to be another scene or two of reacquainting with one another, of flirting, of Raven relenting in her hate, of Nico explaining himself.
They launched into ‘all in’ status by a third into the book and I was only half way along with them.
Getting nearer the end, I accepted them as solid and really felt the Big Deal which played perfectly to their personalities, issues and conflicts. This was a good piece of plot development and I appreciated the effort Siskind went to get me to that place. I was fully behind Nico, and I admired the heck out of his ethics, if somewhat judging his stubbornness. But I was super annoyed by Raven. Overall I found her to be a different character than I was expecting. Weaker, and not as cool. I felt bad for her loneliness and wanted her to be happy, but I also felt cross at her more than once.
Spoiler on how she annoyed me. She finds a box of drugs and takes it to Nico’s house, leaving it in the middle of his floor. Nico the cop. With an ex-drug addict sister and two young nephews who could happen upon it. With a brother who been in the frame for dealing drugs. She did leave a note, and later text him about it, but even so, I wanted to throttle her.
Her friends also, on occasion, got on my nerves. Shay, book one heroine, kept making references to Nico’s manhood. Even when Raven is at a really low point Shay is all nudge nudge wink wink hasn’t he got a monster between his thighs. Shay’s a bold and beautiful character in her own book, but here she was tacky instead of funny. It felt like she’d been wheeled in just to add a moment of levity to an otherwise serious storyline.
Sometimes books just don’t work for you. I like this author and there were lots of good points to this book (there’s a wedding, and it’s beautiful, and I’m not going to tell you who it was getting hitched), but overall I just didn’t enjoy it in the way I expected to.
No rating given, as it might just be me, not the book. Was I having a grumpy day? Possibly. If so, blame me, not the story. I’d be happy if you tell me what you think.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Hooked on Trouble
by Kelly Siskind
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Forever Yours