Title: “Darker Water” (Once and Forever #1)
Author: Lauren Stewart
Genre: New Adult / Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 3rd October, 2014.
Publisher: Off the Hook Publishing
After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She’s too busy for it right now anyway–she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she’ll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won’t feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn’t meant to do…
Carson Bennett is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney’s heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does…a lot. But having feelings for someone isn’t allowed. It’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze…
Two people want the same thing–a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can’t free themselves from the past, they’ll both be pulled under by it.
*** Darker Water is a stand-alone contemporary romance that does not end in a cliffhanger.
Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Every woman has had their heart broken at one point in her life, and I think it is pretty safe to say that many have been told that you have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find your prince. I know that my own mother imparted this to me when I was younger. Well, kissing a lot of frogs can be exhausting! And for each frog that you come across in your life, you tend to lose a bit of hope as well as a small piece of your heart. At least, that is what I remember feeling, and it is the same for the heroine in “Darker Water” by Lauren Stewart.
Laney Temple has had her fair share of frogs in her life, and after a particularly nasty break-up, she comes to the conclusion that there really is no such thing as Prince Charming – or, rather, she believes that she has turned her past boyfriends into frogs! So she decides that she has had enough with the opposite sex and she refuses to allow herself to become involved with a man again.
Carson Bennett has a long line of hook ups in his past, and even though he wants Laney to simply drop her knickers and let him in – yes, he is that forward in his approach – he is very upfront with her from the beginning: he does not do “love”. He does not cheat or lie, either, but he has his own reasons for avoiding jumping on the “love train”. To Laney, Carson may be exactly what she needs: if she spends enough time with him, can she then teach herself to separate sex from love? Well, time will tell…
A rather peculiar friendship forms between these two jaded people, and I have to say that I really enjoyed getting to know Laney and Carson. They are both hell-bent on keeping their hearts closed from forming any kind of romantic feelings, but that is why I loved this book: as they get to know each other as friends, they inadvertently become a constant fixture in each other’s lives that they cannot – and will not – let go.
“He was so far from being the perfect guy, and that was what made him so perfect for me. No expectations, no emotional crap, no frog.” (Laney)
I have to admit that although I loved Laney a great deal, she sometimes seemed to be a bit too cynical for her age; however, when I remember my own past heartaches, I cannot help but understand her closed-off view of love at the same time. I realise that I may be contradicting myself here, but so be it: I have to be honest. And like I said, I fell for Laney: she is smart, sassy, and strong.
I found Carson to be a very funny guy on the surface; he is rather cocky, yes, but very charming about it, and you cannot help but fall in love with him. Once I got to know him better, and once he revealed his past, I had no trouble understanding his reasoning for keeping his heart intact. You will, of course, have to read the book in order to fully get my meaning, but I refuse to write spoilers in my reviews. Let me just say that my heart was shredded when I learned about the things he has gone through.
“’If it could be anyone,’ he whispered, ‘it would be you.’” (Carson)
The banter between Laney and Carson made me laugh so hard, and I found myself going back to read certain scenes again because of the wit Miss Stewart incorporates in her book. What makes this such a great book in my eyes is the fact that it is written in dual POVs. It is easy to distinguish the voices of the characters, and I feel that Miss Stewart excels at showing her readers how different, yet similar, Laney and Carson are.
“Unlike all the times before, this actually was love and it hurt and it wasn’t going to stop. Because I would never give it up. Because it was worth everything.” (Laney)
I would also like to say that fans of steamy scenes will get their wish granted…Even though they are written in a much different way than we may be used to seeing these days. But, moreover, this is just a really well-written friends-to-lovers romance that I know I will read many times in the future, and I strongly urge you to buy this book. Miss Stewart, thank you for a fantastic reading experience! I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. ❤
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(from Goodreads Author Profile)