Title: “Layers” (Stark #1)
Author: Sigal Ehrlich
Release Date: 10th October 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
According to Hayley love is a subject of ridicule, a myth created by hopeless romantics.
When Hayley makes a resolution to declare her loose lifestyle era R.I.P, it’s all good in theory…
That is until she meets Daniel Stark, a well-respected, mid-thirties business man who is known for his short temper, lack of steady relationships as well as his strict preserve of his private life.
Opinionated, sharp tongued Hayley accidently steps into his office leaving Daniel resolved to put Hayley in her place and have her in his bed.
Both Hayley and Daniel can’t avoid the immediate instigation of the attraction between them.
In a unanimously agreed upon verdict by Hayley and her two best friends, Ian the gay self-absorbed, aspiring model and Natasha the witty, borderline neurotic soul mate, Daniel Stark is to be Hayley’s pure physical attraction, emotions aside era closure.
Will it indeed be a closure, or a beginning to something neither Hayley nor Daniel ever bargained for…
Paperback copy received by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Before I begin writing my review of this book, let me warn all you “cliffhanger haters” – personally, I do not mind them at all – out there: yes, there is one. BUT the sequel to the Stark Series, “Inner Core”, releases 31st of January, so you will not have to wait long – so please do not let it stop you from reading this really good debut novel of Sigal Ehrlich.
Now, as the synopsis tells you so much about the story, I will not elaborate that much upon it. But I have to mention the following quote as it sums up this story perfectly and I feel the true beauty in these words:
“To reach the core of true beauty, one must first unravel the many protective layers.”
I really enjoyed getting to know our heroine of the story, Hayley. In the beginning, I thought that she was a very tough girl, but little by little, I saw some other character traits of hers that I loved: she is feisty, funny, sexy, yet so vulnerable on the inside, and she only allows her close friends to see this side of her. I found myself being able to relate to her a great deal, and at no point in time did I find her to be less than real to me. There are so many layers (yes, pun intended) to Hayley, just like there are with people in real life.
It is the same with Daniel, our hero. When we first meet him, the nick name Hayley later calls him when she is angry with him (“Psycho”) seems very apt: he is extremely temperamental, arrogant and determined to get what he wants. All of these characteristics seem very plausible as he IS a very successful businessman. I was not altogether sure that I would like him, but, again, I was pleasantly surprised to discover his more gentle ways when I got to know him better. He has many hidden depths, I believe, and I found myself connecting with him just a bit more than I did with Hayley.
What I also find very refreshing about this new book boyfriend is the fact that he is not your typical “damaged hero” we have been seeing so much of in the indie book world lately. Please DO NOT misunderstand me: I thoroughly enjoy reading stories with those types of heroes, but now and then, it makes me happy when I see something different. Yes, Daniel does have some father issues, but they are definitely not all that define him.
“I look at him and think about how drastically he makes my feelings change from complete rage to complete fondness and then again to uncontrollable lust, and all in a few short hours. Like a collision between a hurricane and a volcano with my emotions in between.” (Hayley)
One of the things I loved about this new book couple was the banter between them – I found myself smiling when reading their email exchanges and even flat-out laughed on more than one occasion. You can definitely feel their intense chemistry right from the beginning, and I almost swooned every time Daniel showed Hayley his sweet side.
“Hayles,” he purrs quietly with closed eyes, his nose grazing my flesh. “I am so yours, more than I’ve ever been mine.” (Daniel)
The only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars is the fact that although we are told that Hayley does not want to do random hookups anymore and that she does not like the way she feels afterwards, I cannot help but wonder exactly why that is? I felt that there was a bit of a mystery here – intentional or not – so I would have liked some elaboration on that. As usual, however, that is solely my personal opinion and other readers may feel differently
This is, hands down, one of the best written books by an independent author I have read. The prose is almost lyrical, in my opinion, but it does not seem unnatural or forced at all. Yes, I did have to get used to it, but I already loved the author’s voice after having read only a few pages of the book. The language is concise and to the point, and I really liked that. The supporting characters – Hayley’s best friends, Natasha and Ian, and Daniel’s mother, Iris – all contribute to the story without taking the focus away from Hayley and Daniel’s romance.
To sum up: I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I know that I will read it many times in the future. Like I said in the beginning of my review, I do not mind cliff hangers – although, I admit that this is a major one! – and I cannot wait to read the next installment in this series. I am so looking forward to getting to know Hayley and Daniel better in the books to come, and I honestly think that Miss Ehrlich is definitely an author you should all pay more attention to as her storytelling is in a class all on its own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
By teen age, Sigal already lived in three different continents where she was lucky enough to experience and visit varied places, meet unique people, which only helped fuel her overly developed imagination. Currently, Sigal calls Estonia home where she lives with her husband and three kids.
Not exactly sure where they will end up next…
When she is not hiding in her office, writing, she enjoys music, reading and taking care of her little clan.
With a great believe in “don’t wait for things to happen – make them happen,” she enjoys anything exciting life has to offer.