I received this book for free from Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: New York’s Finest #1
Published by Forever on July 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York’s most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the “American Hero,” Luc’s boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn’t mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who’s been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.
Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC’s lead anchor-but to get there, she’ll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava’s doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York’s finest …
You get a two-for-one in this review! We thought we’d do things a little differently, as both Marian and I were keen to read this book—me as someone who’d heard about Lauren Layne, read the blurb, and liked the premise (and also someone who’s a fan of hot cops) and Marian as a fan of the author’s. So read on to see what each of us thought of the book!
A new series by Lauren Layne? Sign me up any time—especially when it involves fine men who work hard for a living. Billionaires and princes are cool and all, but there’s something about real men with real jobs that gets my motor running. And really. It’s Lauren Layne. Of course I’m going to read it.
Frisk Me has Lauren’s signature playful banter and heated chemistry, but it wasn’t my favorite among her books. Parts of it didn’t flow quite smoothly, with some scenes dragging on or being cut too short. The resolution wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped, though the development of the story did get me curious about what would happen next in the series.
Character-wise, I liked Ava’s independence and her drive to succeed—to a certain point. I know this stems from my own personality, but I often have a hard time connecting to people who are so ambitious that they step on someone else to get to their goal. That’s not to say that Ava is bad or cutthroat. She isn’t, and I understand how her dysfunctional family relationships have colored her behavior. However, there were times that I felt annoyed and angry at her decisions, especially in relation to Luc.
Luc’s likened to Clark Kent, but there’s nothing geeky or understated about him. He’s the hottie with a heart of gold, and he had moments where his kindness and sweetness really shined. Still, something about him kept me from considering him my next book boyfriend.
My favorite thing about Frisk Me has got to be the Moretti family as a whole. All of them seem like such interesting characters, and the dynamic of the Italian clan was engaging and funny. I’m particularly looking forward to reading the stories of Elena—the only woman among the five siblings, and the only non-cop to boot—and Marco, the only one who lives away from the family. Speaking of characters, their grandmother Nonna’s definitely one for the books. I can’t wait to see more of her in the next installments in the New York’s Finest series.
At the time of this writing, Liana’s still reading the book, and I’m curious about how her comments as a first-time Lauren Layne reader would compare to mine. For me though, it’s four stars for Frisk Me.
Marian’s Feel Factor Rating:
I’m not reading Marian’s review until I’m done writing mine! Just so we can see how we match up! Because I really enjoyed this read. Let’s be frank. I don’t read a lot of contemporary stuff that doesn’t involve murder and mayhem, mostly because it’s the genre that, for me, delivers on the most undeserved happily ever afters. Danger adds drama, and when a writer isn’t so good at delivering the drama between two characters, a little threat goes a long way. But a good writer knows just how to turn emotional risk into something as riveting as risk to life and limb, and for me that’s what I really enjoyed about Lauren Layne’s Frisk Me—even beyond the fact that the author plays with tropes that are just so solidly in my wheelhouse.
This is the first book in the New York’s Finest series, which promises to deliver on lots of boys in blue goodness for what’s hopefully a solid number of books to come. But the focus is on the feels rather than the thrills of the job, which is something I haven’t seen enough of. First off, before I talk about the main characters, I’m going to mention the Moretti family, whose patriarch is a retired police commissioner, and where of the five siblings, four are police officers while one is a lawyer. This family lives and breathes service, and it’s awesome. And the thing that makes it work? The fact that they are totally solid above and beyond that thin blue line.
Their dynamic is why I still love TV shows like Blue Bloods and Rizzoli and Isles even though they don’t cater to my analytical, bloodthirsty side like Criminal Minds or Bones do, because they offer a unique perspective on families who’ve made tradition out of protecting and serving. And speaking of Blue Bloods, I’ll have to say that this is a lot like that show, except with Italian cops instead of Irish ones and much-needed maternal figures in play. Not that you need to have watched that show to appreciate this book; just that you need to understand that this is a family of people who have carved a living out of doing the right thing, in spite of the gruffness, grumpiness, and hotheadedness that comes into play a lot. The current generation of Morettis features four boys and one girl—there was always going to be a lot of testosterone.
Now for the main characters (and the plot, since this is a character-driven story and the highlights of the plot are about the push and pull between the hero, Luc Moretti, and the heroine, Ava Sims).
Luc is the Morettis’ bambino, the youngest child, and he feels it keenly, wanting to prove himself as a cop, all the more so because of an incident in his past that left his previous partner dead in the line of duty. He’s by the book and just wants to get on with the business of doing his job, except that he’s a genuinely good guy, and when a video of him rescuing a little girl from drowning goes viral, followed up by one of him giving a homeless guy his coat on a cold winter day, he ends up a reluctant hero. In fact, his patrols are often punctuated by selfie time, thanks to his unwanted fame. So it’s only going to piss him off when the folks higher up the NYPD food chain decide to sacrifice him on the altar of good PR and pretty much order him to allow reporter and up-and-coming anchorwoman Ava Sims to shadow him for two months. Even if her feisty nature keeps him on his toes and her put-together anchorwoman facade makes him want to pounce on her and muss her up. A lot.
But Ava’s got a keen instinct for the hinky, and she’s got her eye on a permanent seat at her network’s news desk. Thanks to her family of rather obnoxious overachievers, she’s also got something to prove to herself and also to the A-holes she calls kin, so she’s not about to let her chance at prime time fizzle into some fluff piece about the hot cop any woman in New York would be happy to be arrested by. Even if he just about sets her panties on fire. And she senses there’s something Luc isn’t telling her. Research has her turning her eyes to his history, and the fact that he was on the scene of a very sensational story that left a child and one cop dead, but it barely made a blip on the media radar. Personality-wise, I like how Layne has written her as outwardly hard-edged and inwardly insecure and too darned nice for her profession; the difficulty with which she wears her big, bad bitch boots gave me doubts early on she had what it take to be the kind of career woman she said she wanted to be.
These are tried-and-true characters: the solid, by-the-book good guy with a painful secret and the hard-shelled and ambitious woman hiding a mushy center. And they may not be anything new, but they work. Still, what elevated this novel from a read I enjoyed to one I genuinely liked was the way Layne crafted the ups and downs of their relationship. Her pacing was excellent, so that every step up on the lust ladder, from those first heated moments to the inevitable hot liplock to the steam-up-your-windows sex scenes, hit you right at the far edge of “When is it going to happen?” and right before you tipped over into “Okay, this is overdue.” Keeping time with this was the gradual deepening of feelings, so that you realize that the characters trust each more than they think they do, which kind of insulates you against the emotional A-bombs they lob at each other at the climax of the story and makes you believe and cheer them on as they fumble their way to an HEA in the aftermath.
And that’s what makes this a wholly satisfying read for me, that Layne gives you enough time to learn about and get to like the characters, really feel for them, then puts them through an emotional wringer she’s hinted at from the start so you aren’t too surprised when it happens but you want to cuss right along with them when it does. And when they finally, finally get their HEA, you just want to cheer. So, yeah, I liked Frisk Me a lot. Did it make me want to run out and buy all the books she’s ever published? Not quite, especially if they’re not cop-based. But I’ve already marked the next book in the New York’s Finest series, Steal Me, featuring Anthony Moretti, on my to-buy list. And I’m crossing my fingers that she’ll find a way to give my bloodthirsty side a little more satisfaction, perhaps when she does Vincent’s story?
Liana’s Feel Factor Rating:
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