Off Limits by Sawyer Bennett
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Big Dog Books, LLC
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
“There is a vulnerability there, hovering just below the surface. And I want to pick at it until I expose it. Then I want to kiss it."
Two years ago, Emily Burnham, had an epiphany about the shallowness of her life. And she made it her mission to become a different person…a better woman. Out from under the controlling thumb of her mother, Emily is tasting the real world for the first time. And she likes it.
Nixon Caldwell has served his time in the Marine Corps, surviving two brutal tours in Afghanistan. He is back home, surrounded by what he likes best…isolation. It's certainly the easiest way to avoid confrontation of the consuming guilt that is weighing him down.
When an accident brings Emily and Nix together, he soon learns he is not the master of his own fate. Struggling with his own pain, Nix tries to guard himself against Emily’s charms. He wants her in his bed, but he doesn’t want her in his heart.
Having grabbed life by the horns, Emily wants it all. But is she willing to accept just the small part of himself that Nix is offering? Can she reach the part of his soul that he has deemed to be Off Limits?
This book is the follow up novel to Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett. It can be read as a stand-alone.
About the Author
Sawyer Bennett is the pen name for 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. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two 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.
Nixon "Nix" is the loner type, content to be alone, watching life from the sidelines. Scarred mentally and physically from his tours as a Marine, he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and a brain injury. When a young woman hits him and his expensive motorcycle, he listens to her explanation of why they can't report it to her insurance company. She also doesn't have the money after being cut off from her family funds. For some reason, Nix agrees to her idea of letting her work off the ten thousand dollar in repairs by working for him in his weilding and metal shop in New Jersey. The more time these two spend in each other's company, their mutual attraction becomes harder to fight. Can an injured man open up his heart and love a feisty young woman hellbent on creating her own identity while establishing her independence from her wealthy family?
With the crop of New Adult contemporary romances I've read this year alone, I haven't read any featuring an ex-Marine with PTSD and a service dog. This establishes Off Limits as offering something different. I did not read Off Sides and I didn't have to, this story stands on its own and only makes me want to read Ryan and Danny's story now. Emily sounds like a spoiled rich girl in the beginning, a fact she readily admits as she shares her previous journey with the reader. She is ready to declare her major as Journalism much to her mother's chagrin (mom wanted pre-law or pre-med to better reflect on family image for her husband's future political campaign for President). Nix begins to better understand what she's been through and what she wants to become. He has his own secrets and scars to deal with but isn't sure he's worthy of someone like Emily. He agrees to her declaration that they make their relationship a sexual one with no strings attached. But his heart isn't agreeing to the plan when he grows accustomed to having Emily around.
Off Limits is a character study featuring two independent individuals, one experienced and battle-scarred, another needing to stand on her own and think freely. It is also a love story. Both Emily and Nix tell their stories in first person pov. Over time they become likable characters, each with their own baggage, as they continue to change. I did not connect with them. Part of my problem with not 'connecting' to them is the amount of "telling" they provide from Emily's opening chapters to Nixon's background story revealed later on. I would have preferred some of this revealed in scenes or through dialogue, not in paragraph after paragraph.
The author's writing style kept me engaged in the story despite the occasional cliche or moment of not really believing something said or done. The inclusion of Nixon's Marine background, his scroll tattoo with quotes, his service dog and therapy was intriguing and made this NA stand out from the others. It was refreshing to read about a guy who wasn't the bad boy or treated his girlfriend rudely (like Emily's ex, Todd or the brute she meets in the nightclub). Their attraction happened quickly and in this instance, it worked for me. Emily and Nix were ready for the challenge of a relationship.
I liked and enjoyed Off Limits. New Adult romance fans will want to add this to their TBR list, it is certainly worth it.
This is an okay cover. This couple pose is quickly becoming overdone in the NA/romance genre.
I received a promotional copy in exchange for my honest review.a Rafflecopter giveaway