March 13, 2017

REVIEW: Passion Restored (Gallagher Brothers #2)

Passion Restored (Gallagher Brothers #2), by Carrie Ann Ryan
Publish Date:
February 28, 2017
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(Synopsis) The Gallagher Brothers series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues with the one brother who thinks he can handle it all and the one woman who could change that.

Owen Gallagher likes everything in its place and is organized to a fault. While his brothers have each dealt with their own personal tragedies and stresses, Owen figures he’s had it pretty easy. That is until his perfectly ordered world is rocked at its foundation and he’s forced to rely on others. Now, he must heal his body and his soul while trying to ignore his delectable and utterly off-limits neighbor.

Liz McKinley is stressed out, exhausted, and not in the mood for a bearded and growly man in her ER. When she patches him up to the best of his ability, she’s prepared to push him firmly from her thoughts. Of course, that would be easier if she and her best friend hadn’t bought the house next to his. Now their paths seem to cross daily, and she is finding it harder and harder to say no to the injured and angry man next door. But she’s been scarred one too many times in her life, and even though this Gallagher looks good enough to eat, she knows that sometimes, sating that craving is the worst thing she can do.

Owen Gallagher is the most wonderful sort of dichotomous man. He's a bearded, tatted, pierced hottie who thinks order, logic and color-coded planners are his happy place. He is the brains behind the restoration and construction business he runs with his brothers. He runs the office, keeps them on schedule and organized and makes sure the bills are paid. Despite his obvious necessity, he sees himself as the weak link - the one without any special skills or abilities.

Liz McKinley also doesn't see herself as anything special. She's just a nurse who works way too many hours with crappy co-workers. She just bought a house with her best friend and is trying to piece together a semblance of a normal life after suffering some rough experiences with her family and other relationships. She's determined to just keep her head down, be a good worker, and survive the budget cuts at the hospital she's working in. She doesn't have time for any sort of relationship with a man.

I have to say - I had a hard time with Liz. I just flat out didn't like her. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it - past traumas and tragedies do not give a person free license to be a jerk. And yet, that's exactly what happened here. Even though Owen was nothing but nice to Liz, she treated him like crap. And worse yet - he excused her behavior as a result of her past and kept pursuing her. So many times I wanted to tell him to just give it up and find a nice girl who actually likes him and respects him and wants to be with him. And that's frustrating, because I like Owen and his brothers and their family dynamics. I wanted him happy. I just didn't want him with her.

Owen and Liz ran very hot and cold throughout the book (mostly because of her, of course). They would get in either her house or his under perfectly platonic reasons, one thing would lead to another, and all of a sudden there would be some hot and sexy times. And there were some HOT and SEXY times. That Owen Gallagher might love his color-coded files, but when it comes to dirty talk, he throws caution to the wind. But, as soon as the hormones settle, Liz freaks and runs away and doesn't talk to him for days. Rinse and repeat.

There are quite a few villains in Passion Restored too. First we have Liz's awful father. We also have the dude that hit Owen with his car. And finally we have Liz's two co-workers whose mission is to make her workplace as hostile as possible. Sadly, none of them get the punishments I wanted to bear witness to. I love when a bad guy gets his or her comeuppance, and our hero or heroine is finally vindicated. It's a wonderful feeling of satisfaction, isn't it? So, when that doesn't happen, it's definitely noticed, and I noticed it here.

The best part about Passion Restored is the family dynamic that Owen has with his brothers, their wives and their children. I would love to be a part of the Gallagher family. They're supportive and funny and loving and completely dedicated to one another. Why Liz wouldn't want to be a part of that from go is beyond me.

I liked the lead-in to Murphy's book, and his is one I've been anticipating since the very beginning. Since it appears he's going to have something going with Tessa, Liz's best friend and housemate, I'm guessing that we'll be checking back in with Liz and Owen a lot. I'm excited for that, actually, since Liz was finally able to get her head on straight in the end and realized what really was important. I'm excited to see where they are in a few months. 

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