Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review & Giveaway:Claiming Serenity by Eden Butler

Series: Seeking Serenity, #3
Author: Eden Butler
Genre: NA | Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 22, 2014


She left glitter in his AC vents. He put green dye in her conditioner.

She buttered his bathroom floor, and he kidnapped her precious puppy.

Layla Mullens hates Donovan Donley. His crude language, his wide shoulders, his crystal blue eyes…she hates that she can’t stop herself…from kissing him or landing in his bed.

And Donovan Donley wants nothing more than to knock Layla off her princess pedestal. He hates her stuck up attitude and her soft, tempting lips. He especially hates that her father is his coach.

But he’s fine with their arrangement—act horrible to each other during the day, attack each other naked at night. It works.
But one night changes everything. When Layla doesn’t show, and Donovan’s cold bed stays empty, the lies he tells himself to keep Layla out of his mind aren’t enough to keep him from missing her. And needing her. Something he promised himself would never happen.

The white flags in their prank war have been lowered but their high stakes battle has just begun.


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“I don’t do promises.” His voice was even, composed and Layla didn’t think that declaration was said to be cruel. It was point of fact, something Donovan clearly thought Layla needed to know.

“I don’t want any.”

“I don’t do emotion.” The slow way he twisted her long hair around his finger didn’t make her think that emotion was absent in mind. She didn’t care if it was.

“Not asking for that.”

 And then Donovan’s gaze left her hair, moved over her face until they stopped at her eyes. “I like the way you feel. I like how hot and tight and sweet your body is.” He moved closer, barely touching his hips to hers. “This needs to be between us. The others, they like to complicate sex. They like for it to mean something or everything. I don’t. You don’t, Layla. Not with me.”

“Not remotely.”

“If I didn’t like you at least a little bit, then I wouldn’t want to fuck you.”

She wanted that little issue cleared up. Layla knew what Donovan’s touch, his lips did to her, but outside of those moments when the air warmed around them, when they were pulled together by those licks of heat, she didn’t like him. Had no desire to be around him.

“I don’t like you, Donovan. I don’t think I ever will.” She didn’t think too much about the frown that pulled at his lips or how his eyebrows pushed together as though he doubted her. This was Donovan Donley, her nemesis, her enemy, and she was agreeing to terms and conditions related to them sleeping together. Insane, sure, but Layla knew it would be hot. She knew it would feel wonderful. It was that idea that kept her from insulting him completely. “But when you’re inside me, I don’t have to think. I don’t have to do anything but touch and taste. That’s enough for me.”

They were silent and Layla let Donovan touch her, take her hair in his fist and lean her against the wall. There was a moment when their gazes caught and held, expressions shifting, lips hesitating, holding back as though both Donovan and Layla each pushed away any thought from their minds.

 Donovan’s chin dipped to bring his gaze to her, guiding her head with his fingers twined in her hair. Layla found it aggressive and insistent and God how she liked Donovan that way. “Tomorrow night…just walk in.”


Layla barely caught his nod, the slow lift of his mouth as he pulled his lips into a smile. “There will be a tomorrow, Layla and a next day. I’m tired of thinking there won’t be.” He moved closer, held her face up so she couldn’t avoid his eyes. “Aren’t you?” A quick nod that Layla thought she couldn’t control and Donovan’s smile left his face. “Good. Tomorrow night, don’t park out front. I have a space in the back.”


“Don’t knock. You don’t ever have to knock when you come to me. Just fucking come.”

What I thought about Claiming Serenity
Donovan and Layla have been playing pranks on each other for years. They tell each other and their friends they can't stand each other.  But when Layla breaks it off with her casual boyfriend Walter, it's Donovan that provides the comfort when Layla gets drunk and she ends up in his bed.

Together they craft a "no strings" agreement.  Enemies during the day, lovers at night, no feelings or emotions required. No telling their friends because it isn't a relationship, it's just sex.  Yeah, right. That sort of deal never quite works out that way, and when Layla starts to feel more for Donovan she breaks it off.  She believes  him when he tells her that he's sworn off relationships for good and she has to protect her own heart.

But neither one of them can stay away from the either very long, and when things blow up in a major way, friends and families get involved. (no spoilers!) 

It's tough to talk about the last 35% of this book without giving anything away, so all I will say is that I LOVED Claiming Serenity. I had a good-book hangover for days from this one, going back to reread a number of times. 

What I love about Eden Butler's stories is that she isn't afraid to show that love can also bring real pain, but the payoff can be huge if you are willing to work at it. That usually involves working through some serious stuff, and Donovan and Layla have to do just that.  They don't always get it right the first time either, all of which makes it so much sweeter when they can move past their issues and realize the love they have right in front of them. 

Even their friends and family see that their pranks and harsh words are like foreplay and that they belong together, it just takes Layla and Donovan a little longer to see.  There's a great scene between Donovan and his father as they move past old hurts and his father gives him some advice that comes from the heart. These are the little and yet so very important moments in life that are life-changing. Layla's conversations with her father are a bit more, shall I say explosive, but Coach Mullens is a key player in this story as well. They way the fathers come together to guide their adult son and daughter was one of my favorite parts of this story.

I love this series, and Eden Butler is at the top of my "must read now" list of authors.  Donovan and Layla are so awesome together, especially when they let down their guard and really look at their feelings for each other. The rest of the gang shows up too, but Claiming Serenity is really all about Donovan and Layla.

Loved Claiming Serenity. It's my first 5 star read of 2015, and I couldn't be happier about it.  As a matter of fact, I may need to go reread the end of this again right now. It's just that sweet!

If you are a fan of New Adult contemporary romance and you aren't reading this series or Eden Butler, go do it now!  Recommended.

ARC provided for review.


(2) $20 Gift Card for either Amazon or B&N (INTL)

(1) Signed copy of Chasing Serenity, Behind the Pitch, Finding Serenity and Claiming Serenity (INTL)

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Buy Links for SEEKING SERENITY series:

About the Author

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” launched in October 2013 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

Please send help.

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