“Renewal. That was what her life had been missing.”
Ellen Callahan’s personal privacy is on the verge of spinning out of control. Her famous pop-star brother, Jamie Callahan, recently broke up with his girlfriend, Carly, who is also her next door neighbor. Jamie knows with his star status, both Carly and Ellen will need security to deal with the paparazzi that will descend on their property and invade their private lives in order to get pictures to sell to the tabloids. Jamie hires Carly’s childhood friend, former military now self-employed security specialist, Caleb Clark, to secure both residences. When Caleb arrives on Ellen’s doorstep, she is not immune to his disarming, dimpled smile or his hard, muscular body but upon quick assessment, she knows he is there to disrupt her quiet, peaceful life and she’s not having it. Caleb quickly learns that installing a privacy fence, alarm and locks to protect Ellen and her son will be more difficult than any war he could face overseas. Never to back down from a challenge, Caleb is determined to succeed at his work and hopefully convince her that he is more than just a piece of meat to be devoured and tossed aside in the process.
“You’re a slab of beef to me, Clark. A bit of stuff.”
The pace of the story started slow and then quickly took off about a third of the way in. The secondary couple, Jamie and Carly, added life to the story without overpowering as well as took some of the heat off the heroine, whose vexing behavior was wearing on me.
I had a very difficult time warming up to Ellen. She has self-esteem issues which is understandable given her brother was the “chosen one” for success by her mother and then she endured an adulterous alcoholic ex-husband who basically controlled her life during their marriage. What I didn’t enjoy was the length to which Ellen uses Caleb as a “boy toy”. I was totally on board with her independence, her caution regarding the potential of a new relationship, but the lengths she goes to use Caleb for nothing more than sex became tiresome. She’s selfish, extremely controlling, and lacks warmth and intimacy. Ellen made it abundantly clear to Caleb that she didn’t want to date, didn’t want to meet his family, or hear anything about his life; past or future. Her constant battle with Caleb regarding the simple precautionary measures in securing her safety as well as her fight in the bedroom with wanting nothing more than a good roll in the hay had me questioning why Caleb was attracted to her in the first place. Ellen for the most part was in battle mode, trying to balance being a single mom, a lawyer and a sister constantly dodging the intrusive ramifications of having a famous pop-star brother. Ellen does come around in the end and realizes that her stubbornness and lack of respect for Caleb may cause her to lose the best person that has tried to be a part of her life. Her attempt at apologizing is sincere and the fact that she proves in front of Caleb’s family that she cares more for him than even she realizes is a nice moment but I felt like we needed a little more convincing that she was ready to be in a relationship for the long hall. Even the epilogue did not have me convinced that she was successfully on board with facing future problems or disagreements with Caleb in a healthy, non controlling manner.
“He’d become an inconvenience, a complication, and Ellen didn’t like things complicated–didn’t like anything she couldn’t keep firmly under her thumb.”
Now, if there is one sure thing I can count on with Ruthie Knox, it’s her men. All of her heroes have engaging personalities, loyalty, confidence and sexiness. Caleb is no exception and his character is what makes this book special. Caleb is a rugged, take charge kind of man but not alpha per say. He’s honest, funny, and incredibly sexy in a “whoa” sort of way. He has confidence without ego and he is an excellent negotiator and gives the lawyer side of Ellen a run for her money. I commend Caleb for sticking it out with Ellen. She was an extremely difficult woman to crack, emotionally as well as intimately. He was ambitious and determined that eventually Ellen would concede in desiring an actual relationship beyond the bedroom and in the end, got his wish. His tactics were fun, flirty and creative. It was enjoyable to see him tackle Ellen at times like a warzone and this aided a lot in tolerating her behavior. When Ellen was not fighting to control the relationship, they had great chemistry which had you rooting for a union between the two in the end.
“His kiss was wet, but not too wet. It was hot but controlled, passion banked in favor of a slow exploration of her mouth with his tongue. He was tasting her, testing her, investigating her. He was teasing her. Arousing her. Claiming her. How anyone could do all that with one kiss, she didn’t know.”
Along Came Trouble is a nice addition to the Camelot series. I’m even more excited now for the next installment with Caleb’s little sister, Katie. If Ellen ever kicks Caleb to the curb again, I’m more than ready to tend to his wounded heart. 😉
“It’s going to be fantastic, thought, when we finally do it. Fireworks are going to go off. Pyrotechnic kissing. Your hair will probably catch on fire.”