Sunday, July 28, 2013

My review: Shine not Burn by Elle Casey

IT HAPPENED IN VEGAS.  I can't be held responsible. Things that happen there are supposed to stay there, right? Right? Yeeeah. Not so much.
Andie's just days away from tying the knot, but there's just ooooone little glitch. Apparently, she's already married. Or someone with her name is married to a guy out in Oregon of all places, and the courthouse won't issue her a marriage license until it's all cleared up. Tripping her way through cow pies and country songs to meet up with a man who gets around places on horseback is her very last idea of how to have a good time, but if she's going to get married, make partner at the firm, and have two point five kids before she's thirty-five, she needs to get to the bottom of this snafu and fix it quick ... before her fiance finds out and everything she's been working toward goes up in flames.

Growing up Andie didn't have the easiest life.  Her mother always had different men around and when she watched her mother be abused by a boyfriend and same boyfriend beat her at the age of fifteen it changed her life forever and from that moment on the sat down and wrote a life plan.  Go to college, graduate from law school, become partner, get married, and have 2.5 kids by the time she's 35.  She's never strayed from her life plan only dating men that fit into the mold for the life that she's building for herself.

That all changes when one of her best friends Kelly decides to have her bachelor weekend on Las Vegas with her and Candice.  Andie doesn't want to go, but her assistant Ruby convinces her that she could go and have a good time, that she deserves it.  So she does the only irresponsible thing she can think of in the last ten years, she boards a plan to Las Vegas with her friends with a vow to leave Andie the lawyer behind in the Florida airport.

Little does Andie know that her weekend in Vegas will change her life forever.  Now at this point I know that you are thinking there are so many stories about weekends in Vegas and too much alcohol, but believe this is one story that I for one will not soon forget.  Galen MacKenzie, Mack to his family and friends is going to Vegas for his brother Ian's bachelor party the weekend before he is set to marry his longtime girlfriend Ginny.  Mack has a reputation for a woman never being able to snag him and he's known in his small town of in Oregon as a hardworking rancher from a tight knit family.

Andie and Mack meet one another at a blackjack table their first night in Vegas.  Andie has had a few too many cocktails along with her friends and Candice takes Kelly back to the room and leaves Andie alone in the middle of the casino.  That's when she spots the most gorgeous man she's ever seen in her entire life.  He's decked out in a cowboy hat and everything.  Before she even realizes what she's doing she's heading in his direction and to her dismay drops her cocktail all over his shirt and the front of his pants.  She tries in vain to clean him up, but he tells her to sit in his chair and he'll clean himself up.  She sits at the table and gets her first taste of playing blackjack.  When he returns and sits next to her, they are immediately drawn to one another.  Long story short, they drink more and end up back in Andie's hotel suite for a night of crazy monkey sex and believe me I have read a lot of books that boast sex.  This one, is in the top 5.  There are not a whole lot of books that have great sex scenes in them that aren't too little or too over the top, Elle is at the top of her game on the sex between these two characters.

The next day she wakes up in a bed with Candice and Kelly, not quite sure what happened the night before.  She vaguely remembers a hot cowboy who she spend the night with, but the cowboy is long gone.  She tries to piece the night together, but she gives up when Candice drops Andie's phone in the toilet losing all her contacts and emails.  She finds a strange claim check ticket in her room and when she calls the front desk they confirm that a group of cowboys picked up their bags and left.  She's sad and upset that he left without a goodbye but she brushes it off and gets back on the plane to go home.  Little does she know that her one night in Vegas will change her life forever.

Two years later, Andie is preparing to marry none other than Bradley another lawyer at her firm that she once made fun of and couldn't stand.  Her friends don't talk to her and her assistant Ruby has turned hostile towards her.  Ruby reveals it's because she's throwing her life away with Bradley.  Bradley may be a good looking confidant man, but he's arrogant and has very little patience which makes Andie begin to think that she's crazy to marry him.  Her wedding is just two weeks away, but she gets a call from the licensing office that will change everything as she knows it.  Turns out during her night with Mack that they got married.  Andie can't believe it and thinks it's a joke, but when she receives the paperwork with her signature on it that confirms this, she knows she must go to Oregon to confront Mack and get a much needed divorce.

What she doesn't expect to find when she gets there, is a ranch full of a loving family.  Ian isn't a big fan of the city girl and makes that clear when Andie announces she's there doing a project and is related to them.  Thing is, none of them know how she's related to them.  Mack is less than happy to see her.  He thinks that Andie took off without so much as a goodbye and she thinks the same in regards to him.  The moment she sees him again, it's love at first sight all over again..  She begins to remember things about that night.  All the laughter and good times they shared, and how Mack knows things about her that not even Bradley knows about her past.  She even remembers the MacKenzie family moto, Shine not Burn that he said to her that night.  He's the most beautiful man she's ever seen and he pissed that she's there.  Slowly as they get to know one another, and with Mack's refusal to get a divorce after they consummate their marriage.  YES I said that consummate their marriage in his shower no less.  She begins to wonder if her life plan is worth having anymore.  She's scared of letting it go, but Mack makes her feel things that she knows she will never feel with another man again after having been with Mack.  Can he convince her to stay married and work on having a life together?  Can Andie let go of her life plan and learn to live a life unplanned?  What happens when Bradley returns to claim what he feels is rightfully his?

This story was absolutely nothing short of amazing.  I have NEVER laughed and enjoyed a story so much.  This story was light hearted and dull of life and I swooned throughout the second half of this story.  YES ladies I actually was a puddle on the floor with how hot, dominant, and sweet Mack turned out to be.  I have NEVER swooned over a book EVER.  But there's a first time for everything.  This book is definitely going into my top ten favorite books of all time and Elle Casey is now one of my favorite authors.  I loved both Andie and Mack and watching Andie learn that sometimes life shouldn't be planned and that you should just go with what your heart feels is right and Mack made her realize that.  You don't want to miss this one ladies it is well worth the read.  5 stars, if I could I would give it a higher rating.  Can't wait to see what other books Elle write in the future, and I'm secretly hoping that Ian will get a book and that I will see more of the MacKenzie clan in the future!

***A very BIG thank you to author Elle Casey for the ARC***
New York Times Best-Selling author Elle Casey is an American girl living in southern France with her husband, three children, and several furry creatures. She writes in a variety of genre including YA Fantasy, YA Action/Adventure, New Adult Romance, and Adult Contemporary Romance. She's a little on the wild side, usually busy making people laugh, and always in the mood for adventure. There's not much in this world that she loves more than reader interaction, so feel free to drop her a line.
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