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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shaken, Not Stirred (Last Call, #5) by Sawyer Bennett

A Review by Wendy
4.5 Prove You Wrong Stars 
* * * * 1/2 it better to protect yourself from it... to shield yourself so as to never feel the pain... Or by building those protective walls do you also barricaded yourself from feeling the rush.... the joy and beauty of love...

In Sawyer Bennett's Shaken not Stirred we have the last of the Gals... the last one of her group to possibly become a member of the Club of Love.

Casey Markham had that feeling once, a long time ago...only to have it snuffed out in a moment by the one she had entrusted her heart, her trust, her everything. Experiencing this devastation so early in her life...and deciding in that moment never to be a slave to those type of feelings, she created her own path... her own way of being in control.

Oh, she was a smart woman, and over the years she used her physical and mental arsenal to her advantage; not as a gold digger like those around her were lead to believe...She didn't care for these powerful, rich men for their wealth or connections...She would be using them on her terms... laying it out to them from the start... this was just physical....a weekend or dinner periodically on Her Schedule and no getting falling in love...because these men she dated... they were purposely shallow, driven and she knew she would easily be able to walk away the moment they actually wanted her by their side....And she did, every time... hearing the same type of posturing which cause this cycle in the first enforcing her emotional walls.

Casey is on her way to The Last Call owned by one of her twin brothers. She had a successful run in real estate a while back but now it has dried up. She is having to work the bar to cover her expenses and use this time to figure out her life. She is feeling an uneasiness; she is out of sorts. She is secure in loving her family and her tight knit crew have all found their other halves; they are all blissfully in love. She is starting to feel the outsider and it is leaving her unsettled.

She is on her way to the bar for her shift and get's a flat tire. She has called her brothers and friends... all calls going to voice mail. Casey has one more tool to use before she breaks down and calls the towns' garage. Dressed in Daisey Duke shorts which are cut just so and a tank top, she is set to hopefully flag down a driver who will happily assist. Her outfit is perfect for her bartending and tips so this should work for her flat tire too......And it does.

Tenn Jennings  is at his own  crossroads. He has quit his job as a senior engine mechanic at one of the top Motorcycle establishments in his home of Wyoming. He grew up there on a ranch; loved it but did not have the passion to be the rancher his father wanted him to be. His younger brother has the passion for the ranch but also is still in that stage of playing hard and getting laid. Tenn needs Woofe to step up and show their dad he will be able to take the reins when it is time because Tenn's dream is not the ranch. The one thing he is passionate about and would go anywhere for... is his daughter, Zoey. She is the only good thing which came out of a doomed marriage. Her mother refuses to accept the divorce fully.... having some crazy concept Tenn will come around and want her. She has moved to North Carolina and Tenn is on his way to spend time with his daughter.

His friend coworker Kyle, decided to visit his sister Andrea in the Outer Banks, so together they are on their bikes. Letting Tenn know with a note on the door, the ex pulled a vindictive move taking Zoey to Disneyland for a week. Kyle suggests they go to the Outer Banks, hang on the beach and just chill... maybe hook up a bit and relax.

As they get close to their destination, they see a vision on the side of the road...a incredibly beautiful, long legged dream... bent over the trunk of her Jeep... with this sight of shorts which bordered on obscene.  Kyle and Tenn make a u turn and pull up besides the Jeep.

Casey turns and strikes a pose of "Oh, My... can you help me...with a bit of let's see what will happen".... and Tenn and her immediately seem to have this current running through them. Tenn is every wet dream walking...dark thick hair... just at the collar...light blue piercing eyes. A body chiseled with tattoos... and hands you want on you...with a goatee which begs for the mind to question what it would feel like in places one shouldn't be thinking about on the side of the road.

Kyle starts fixing the tire while Casey and Tenn do this attraction dance. Casey has her head telling her to stay away... he is dangerous... you could get hurt by this guy... because all the bells and whistles are going off...SHUT IT DOWN...her body though, is vibrating with need for this type of man... one which knows what he wants and will take it... one she cannot control.

The banter starts, sparks flashing from both their eyes and when Tenn asks Casey what is she doing tonight, she almost says yes to whatever Tenn suggests. Instead she makes up a boyfriend. Her body is weeping but her mind knows this is the way it needs to be. She thanks them for assisting and off she goes to her job.

Now you know what happens next, Right.... of course the guys are to meet Andrea at the Last Call.... and there at the bar is Casey...working. Tenn strolls up to the bar, sits right in front of her and starts...Starts talking low and seductive....starts telling her of what he would do if she dropped the boyfriend and let him have her for the night. With the way he is talking and the things he has suggested.... Casey decides to go for broke... tells Tenn one night-that is it- no more.

What happens next is a thing of beauty... Tenn is a giver...someone who is obsessed with making sure Casey got... nothing like all the other men she has ever been with ... he takes her to the summit over and over again...and then again... before they both visit it together.

Side note: Tenn is a dirty talker...but with an ease of naturalness... smooth yet blunt and Oh, this particular scene just gave the reader everything...and was worth the price of admission for me.
Back to story.

Casey has never had this type of experience and pulls her armor on tight in the bathroom. She dresses and says thanks... Tenn looks at her... is a bit surprised as the night was not over. As the door closes on Tenn's room...both know this was not the usual... both feel it.

This story takes a woman who has had a way of life and turns it upside down. Tenn sees Casey as how she takes a moment... but when these two finally connect and share themselves with each other... bit by bit...the growth in Casey is something to experience. This relationship is basically straightforward. Both are not game players. Both are people who are finding a way to communicate honestly...and Tenn sees the challenge of opening Casey up to the woman she has had locked inside.

This is a multi-layered story. There is a father and his love for his daughter...needing to be close with her despite the ex and her manipulations. There is the pull of wanting to forge your own way in life and not forced to follow a path because of family pressure and expectations. And most importantly, there is the understanding to love fully, you must put yourself out there... and risk your heart to the person who is willing to hold it, cherish it and protect it.

Sawyer Bennett created these people and we cared about them. I do not think she is done. She gave us a glimpse of a possible next series; Woolf has a life to grow into... Woolf and his ranch in Wyoming and a possible young thing on the wrong side of the tracks may be brewing...Whatever Bennett has up her sleeve... I will be there for the reveal.

This is part of a series. I was able to read it as a stand alone. However, you will know all of the relationships of the other characters as they are referenced in the book.

A gifted copy was provided for an honest review.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn't have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series, the Last Call Series and the Carolina Cold Fury Hockey Series.

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