Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: Giving It All by Christi Barth

Christi Barth’s smoking-hot contemporary romance series continues as the five best friends who survived a tragedy as teenagers take to their Naked Men podcast to open up about women. In Giving It All, the group’s globe-trotting hunk discovers that you need to go home to find love.
Logan Marsh never stays in one place for long. Through his family’s foundation, Logan spends his days traveling to the world’s most dangerous places to deliver disaster relief, which really puts a damper on his sex life—until he reconnects with his high-school crush. Stranded together in the Caribbean, they enjoy a steamy fling that awakens feelings Logan has ignored for too long. But family drama calls him away from her sweet embrace . . . or so he thinks.
Brooke Gallagher loved being a home economics teacher and cheerleading coach. Then an unexpected tragedy forced her to take some time off. Now she’s back in D.C. and despite the intensity of her tropical encounter with Logan, she’s shocked to bump into him again. Logan’s dealing with his own issues (including a newly discovered half-sister) and he’s itching to get back on the road. More than anything, Brooke wants to be there for him. But first, he has to decide if love is enough to keep him in one place.

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“We agreed, back on the island, to have a one-time fling. Because that’s all I’m good for. And now, yeah, I’m pretty sure we are in a relationship. Which I don’t know how to do. Which I didn’t want, because I don’t want to hurt you. And despite all that, I can’t stay away from you. Can’t stop thinking about you. Can’t stop craving you. Can’t stop wanting to share things with you. I can’t stop falling deeper and deeper for you. I don’t understand it, I don’t know how to deal with it. But I can not resist you.”

“Ditto,” she said, the word more breath than sound.

Without saying anything more, Logan’s lips landed on her neck. They seared a line from her collarbone, up to her ear, and once his hand shoved aside her hair, across her ultra-sensitive nape. A full-body chill made her jump.

Logan clearly took that as a sign to proceed. His hips surged forward, trapping her against the window. Not that there was anywhere else on earth that Brooke would rather be. The hard proof of his instantaneous arousal jerked against the small of her back.

His words had more than soothed her ruffled feathers. They’d wrapped around her heart like a velvet hug. They’d unlocked all of the feelings Brooke had been tamping down, out of fear that they wouldn’t be reciprocated. The future didn’t matter. Not right now, anyway. What mattered was that they cared for each other. A lot.

So Brooke abandoned herself to the intoxicating rush of sensation everywhere Logan’s body touched hers. Which was, indeed, everywhere. The towel covered little of him. And she didn’t want it to cover any of him anymore. So she yanked at its edge. Hard. Felt a rush of satisfaction when it swooshed to a puddle on the dark floor.

Logan chuckled, dark and dirty, right in her ear. “That’s how this is gonna go? You’re gonna try to rush me? Rush my thorough and proven mad lovemaking skills?”

“I don’t need skills.” Brooke reached around to grab his fine—and finally bare—ass. “I don’t need to be seduced again.” Then she dug her fingernails in just enough to make sure he got her urgency. “I just need you.”

“Sweetheart, it’s impossible for me to do this without seducing you all over again, every damn time. But there’s more than one way to do it.” Logan bit down on the curve of her neck. At the same time, he thrust one hand up the loose edge of her lemon-colored handkerchief top to cup her breast. His other hand wedged under her waistband to cup her. To cup her so intimately that a deep shudder ran through Brooke’s body.

God, she was more than halfway there, and she was the one still wearing clothes.

He squeezed, alternating hands, in a rhythm that had Brooke swaying and grinding against him in almost a dance. The whole time his lips kept sucking at the sensitive flesh along her nape. Brooke wanted to feel all of Logan’s skin that she’d just bared. But it didn’t seem the best use of her hands right at the moment. Instead, she slammed her palms against the glass to give her leverage to press into his touch. And hooked her ankle around his calf to connect them at yet another juncture. Just that tiny bit of rough hair against her skin upped Brooke’s arousal.

Everyone she’d slept with prior to Logan had been the same type: polished, urbane, a little too slick and/or earnest. Guys who need the frame of a suit hanging off of them to give them the proper manly shape and swagger. Logan needed nothing. He was rugged. Muscled. Masculine to the nth degree. So darned sexy that, yes, his calf hair turned her on. Which she’d never known to be a thing until this very moment.

Logan abruptly let go. Before she could complain, he undid the knot holding her top at her neck. It slid to the floor a second ahead of the skirt he thumbed over her hips. Then he banded an arm across Brooke’s stomach and lifted her off her feet. The move pushed a gasp of surprise from between her lips. He carried her from the window back over to the couch as she took advantage of the position to press a line of kisses along his jaw.

He spun her in mid-air so that she landed on her back. Logan moved the deep orange pillow against the high arm, and then pulled, hands beneath her knees, until her butt rested on it, leaving her spread wide for his hungry stare.

“You want me? You’ve got me, Brooke. I didn’t expect it, and I sure don’t know what to do about it. But you’ve got me now. So take me.”

What I thought about Giving It All

I was drawn into this book in the opening scenes.  Logan is a born hero and saving his friends when everyone else wants to give up made me instantly like him.  He's a good guy. When the story flashes forward, and he's still doing good works, it only made me like him more.  It wasn't a stretch to guess that he's hiding something from himself by throwing himself into his work.

When he runs into Brooke in a airport on his way back to his family and certain drama, they take comfort in each other with a lot of hot physical activity.  Brooke is running from her past too.  

I really liked these characters.  They had flaws, but they also had a good soul, and I really kept reading because I wanted to know if they'd be able to overcome their individual issues. I did find the pace to be slow for me, and I wish this story had been a little tighter to keep the reader engaged in the story.  
I should say that I haven't read any of the other books in this series, so I don't know how much that impacted my reading experience.  Maybe if I had, the pacing would have been better, I don't know.  It did work as a standalone for me. 

So overall, Giving It All is a sweet little romance and it was Logan and Brooke that kept me reading this story. I really liked them.

This is my honest review. ARC provided for review.

About the Author

Christi Barth spent years performing in musicals, singing about love and giving people a happy ending in every performance.  Then as a wedding planner she spent every day immersed in romance.  Now - she writes it!  

It is exciting to be able to share her love of the theatre with the world through her writing.  Plus, her parents are thrilled that - in some fashion - she's still getting use out of her master's in music.  She lives in Maryland with the absolutely best husband in the world (sorry ladies, it's true!).

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