Fighting for Devlin by Jessica Lemmon

I have a weird thing about Jessica Lemmon books. I own quite a few of them and I follow her on Twitter and I consider her to be in that group of authors who write the things I really enjoy. But before this, I’d only read one of her books. Maybe I’m just waiting to binge read? Either way, I requested this one, figuring maybe this would be the boost I needed to dive into her other novels.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A bad boy who works for a bookie gets a good girl involved when he asks her to help him with an errand, not realizing how strongly he would start to feel about her. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Bad boy/good girl tropes can be a lot of fun as long as they’re written well. Devlin doesn’t feel like standard bad boy. He works for a bookie for reasons involving his past, and even though what he does isn’t technically on the right side of the law, he doesn’t seem to have much guilt over it. The thing about Devlin is yeah, he has that rough feel to him, but he’s fairly smooth and beneath everything, he’s a good guy, putting himself in the line of harm to help a friend of his late father.

Still, he’s kind of a douche to Rena at the beginning, and in a lot of cases, this would be a literary turn off for me. But it worked so well for this story. The fact that Devlin is so cold at first makes for a better build up and a stronger development for his character as the novel progressed.

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As for Rena, she definitely felt girl-next-door, but she wasn’t annoying. Even though she acknowledged and was still haunted by her past mistakes, she was also very aware of her attraction to Devlin and to the fact that he was bringing out the wild girl tendencies she’d buried several years before.

One of the side characters I really enjoyed was Sonny, the bookie Devlin works for. I know he’s supposed to sort of be the bad guy, but he felt like this teddy bear of a guy who wasn’t really the villain, and heck, even if he was, you still wanted to visit his pizza place and give him a big hug.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I realize addiction is a thing people deal with, but the character in this book who kept getting Devlin involved in his shenanigans annoyed me. I was also annoyed that Devlin continued to help him, which I saw as enabling. I realize there was a friend/family dynamic there, but it still bugged me.

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The Romance Factor
Even though it wasn’t blatant, there seemed to be hero-in-distress vibe to this story. From the beginning, Rena is there for Devlin, first to nurse him after he’s been beat up, and later as the catalyst to Devlin finding a better path with his life. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and so even though most of the book wasn’t romantic because of the way Devlin acted, it ended up feeling like they had a very sweet chemistry. 3/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times are intense and often happen in places that are not a bed. They were also a good blend of hot and sensual, and I thought alot of the romance came from Devlin and Rena’s more intimate moments. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I liked this book and thought it ended really well, though it definitely left it open for future conflict. The characters for the second book were introduced, and I already can’t wait to read their story. Now I really do need to read more of this author’s work. Seems like a good reason to take a day off, right?

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