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Calmly, Carefully, Completely

January 12th, 2017
Author: Tammy Falkner     Series: The Reed Brothers #3

She’s been locked upeven longer than he has.

Peter Reed is fresh out of jail, fresh out of excuses, and ready for a brand new start.
Reagan Caster needs to thank Pete for an act of kindness, but he wants more than just her thanks.

Reagan knows how to protect her body, but not her heart. And her traitorous body responds to Pete in a way it hasn’t with anyone else.When Pete’s innocent flirtation becomes more, Reagan’s ready to accept what he has to offer.

Pete assumes Reagan needs to be loved carefully and calmly.
But Reagan knows she needs to be loved completely.

Can he give her what she needs?

This book may contain explicit intimate scenes, so if you are not 18+ then I probably wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
My Review

I feel like this story is a bit of second chances for the hero and heroine. With Pete being released from jail after being sentenced for two years and Regan learning to adjust in the world, especially around young men. You see, Regan was raped at a party by her date, causing her to have trust issues with men, nor can she stand for them to touch her, even if its a simple friendly hug. On the night of her attack, she meets Pete at the party, he helps her by calling her friend to take her to the hospital.

“I want to try something with you,” she says quietly. She steps close, so close I can feel her breath against my shirt. It’s warm and moist. My heart starts to thud. “Can I touch you?” she asks. She lays a hand on my stomach. “Yes, please,” I croak. I clear my throat, and she laughs. Her other hand comes up to lie beside the first, and then one hand goes east while the other goes west, until her hands wrap around my back. She locks her hands behind me and lays her face against my shirt. She nuzzles her cheek into my left pectoral muscle. “Hug me back,” she says quietly. I wrap my arms around her, careful to squeeze her soft and slow, calmly and carefully. She exhales heavily, and I rest my chin on top of her head. In that second, I know my heart is hers. I tell myself she’s only taking a little piece, but that’s a fucking lie. She’ll have the whole thing by the time I go back to New York. She undoes me with her simple affection. And I don’t know how to behave, so I just hold her. I hold her and let her breathe while I drink in the feel of her. I want to tip her face up and press my lips to hers, but I’m not sure that would be any more fulfilling than this pregnant silence is. It’s full of possibility. For me, it’s full of longing, and something entirely different for her, probably. I open my eyes and look up. Her mother is standing there with her mouth hanging open. She slams it shut and smiles at me, giving me a thumbs-up. I grin. I can’t help it. I lay my hand on the back of Reagan’s head and stroke down the length of her hair. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to touch you,” I say quietly. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to be touched,” she says. I can feel the words against my chest, ripe with longing.

Ever since that fateful night, Regan never forgot her savor. Wanting to thank him, she has her dad help him get out of jail on probation – he has to help out with a young challenged boys by signing for those who are deaf or can’t talk due to injuries – at their summer program. Pete agrees to go and that’s when he runs into Regan – he hasn’t forgotten her either. There is an instant connection between the two almost instantly. There is an incident where Pete grabs Regan’s shirt to get her attention, she then punches him in return due to her not liking to be restrained and you know what that means! If the guy gets punched by the girl, its fate, they belong together – a theme throughout this series.

I start the truck and lay my right hand on the console between us, driving with my left. His injured arm comes up to settle beside mine and his pinkie crosses over mine, wrapping around it. It’s comfortable. It’s kind. It’s unsettling in a settling sort of way, and I don’t know what to do with it. “Quit overthinking it,” he says, smiling out the window. He’s not even looking at me. “Okay,” I say quietly. I settle back in my seat and scoot my hand closer to his.
She lies there draped across me, and nothing ever felt so right. I draw little circles on her back. “I love you completely, princess,” I say. She accepts me like no one ever has. She accepts me as Pete. She accepts me as that ex-con. She accepts me as a brother to four men who will love her because I do. And I hope one day, she’ll accept me as her husband because I don’t think I could live without her at this point.”

I liked how Pete was patient and calm around Regan, he was very understand of her situation and feelings that still plagues her from that horrible night. I thought it was cute how he kept asking her if he can kiss her yet. Plus her dad was a hoot – always threatening Pete with an axe, stating he was gonna chop his nuts off if he hurt her.

“What do you think I need?” she whispers. I swallow past the lump in my throat and flex my fingers, making fists over and over. “You need to be loved calmly and carefully. And I can’t do either tonight. You need to go.” I can’t even look at her. I can’t. “You think I need to be loved calmly and carefully,” she says slowly. I nod, sucking my piercing into my mouth to toy with it. “You want to know what I think?” she asks. “What?” I grunt. Apparently, I’ve turned into a caveman who can only speak in monosyllables. “I think I need to be loved…completely.” My gaze jerks to hers. Her eyes are soft, and a smile plays around her mouth. She walks to me and takes my face in her hands. “I do love you completely,” I say. “But…” She shakes her head. “No, you don’t. You hold back because you’re afraid to hurt me.” She wraps her arms around my neck, and her lips hover an inch from mine. She whispers. “Love me completely, Pete.”
I laugh and turn around to see what he was pointing at. But it’s not Reagan. It’s her dad, and he’s bearing down on me carrying that fucking hatchet. I cross my hands in front of my lap and step to the side. “Pete,” he says. He’s a little out of breath, and I feel like he ran here to find me. “Mr. Caster,” I say. I look at the hatchet, and he raises it up, appraising it greedily, like he’s enjoying all my discomfort. “Everything all right?” I ask. “Fuck no, everything is not all right,” he says. He scrubs a hand down his face. He points a finger in my face. “I’ve messed around with you all week long, and now I’m done playing.” “I didn’t realize we were playing, sir,” I start. He holds up a hand to stop me. “My daughter likes you a lot, and that’s the only reason I tolerated you this week.” “Um,” I start. But he shuts me up again with a hushed breath. He raises the hatchet, and I step to the side. “But I swear to God that if you do anything to hurt my daughter, I will chop off your head right after I chop off your nuts.” “I wouldn’t hurt her, sir,” I say. But he shushes me again. “When you get back to the city and there’s no dad with a hatchet waiting to emasculate you, you remember that I am just a phone call away. Do you understand?” “Clearly,” I say. “That’s all I wanted to say.” He heaves a deep breath and blows it out. “It was nice to meet you, Pete. Hope you have a good life if I never see you again.” He walks away, swinging his hatchet. Shit. I wasn’t expecting that.

Not only was Pet and Regan great characters, there were pretty nice and interesting side characters, especially Karl / Gonzo, a 15 year old boy in a wheel chair with MS. I liked his and Pete’s dialogs throughout the beginning of the book as well.

He doesn’t take his gaze from her, but it looks less lascivious and more…needy. Do you think… His hands stop moving. “What? Spit it out already,” I prompt. Never mind. “What were you about to say?” I ask, turning to face him completely. “Ask it. I won’t be able to sleep tonight unless I get to hear what’s going in that head of yours,” I tease. I was just wondering… He looks toward Reagan again. Do you think there will ever be a girl that looks at me like she looks at you? I glance toward the lifeguard stand. “How does she look at me?” I ask. Like she wants to jump your bones. He laughs. But I can tell this is serious to him. More serious than he wants me to know. I tap his leg with my foot to get his attention. “That’s not the question you should be asking yourself, doofus.” I’m in a chair, Mr. Mentor Man. You think it’s a good idea to call me a doofus? You might affect my self-esteem. I roll my eyes. “If you had any ego problems, I’d already know it.” Forget I asked, he says. He looks everywhere but at me. “There’s a lid for every pot, Karl. Some fit better than others, but there’s one made just for you. You should be asking yourself if she’s good enough for you. Every single time. Don’t ask yourself if you’re good enough for her because when you find the right fit, you won’t doubt it.” He grins. I think he likes that answer. And I mean it. So you think she exists? I nod. “I think she’s just waiting to find you. So don’t fuck it up by being a smart-ass.” He points to himself. Me? Never!
Reagan looks like she could use some cooling off, don’t you think?” She winks at me. Gonzo is suddenly a man on a mission. He hides the gun down by his leg and rolls around to where Reagan is sitting. He stops below her and claps his hands together. She looks down at him, smiles, and says something, but I can’t hear what she’s saying. He grins, pulls out the squirt gun and proceeds to soak her. He doesn’t hit her in the face, but he gets the rest of her pretty well. She puts her hands up to shield herself, and it’s really pretty amusing. Suddenly, his pistol runs out of water, and she climbs down the ladder of her chair. She has a wet towel in her hand, which she proceeds to flick at him until it cracks against his knee. “Ouch!” I whisper to myself, wincing. But he fucking loves it. He grins and throws his gun to someone in the pool to fill up. The whole time, she’s chasing him around the edge of the pool with the towel, until her dad has to come and send her back to the stand. Mr. Caster points his finger, and she pretends to pout. Then she flicks him on the ass with the towel too. He turns around, picks her up, and tosses her into the water.

Another part I liked about the book was Maggie, Regan’s dog. At first the dog didn’t care for Pete as she was very protective of her master, but Pete won her over pretty quick. It got to a point where she was even protective of Pete, not liking when his twin Sam would rough house with him. I thought it was sweet and cute how Pete surprised Regan with a kitten after Maggie passes away from old age and being sick.

“Good night,” I say. He closes one eye and looks at me with the other for a moment. “Can I kiss you yet?” he asks. I shake my head, and my insides do that quivery little dance again. “No,” I whisper. “I’m afraid not.” He whispers again, “Can I keep asking?” He grins. “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t,” I admit. He smiles. This time, it’s not playful. I think it’s all Pete. It’s all swagger and confidence. He turns to walk away, calling, “Good night, princess,” over his shoulder. “’Night,” I toss back.”
“Pete makes me want things that scare me,” I admit. “That’s what love is about, Reagan. It’s thrilling and scary as hell and it makes your heart pound and it makes your insides ache.” She stops and glares at me. “Those feelings are normal. What’s not normal is what happened to you and how you closed yourself off to protect your heart.” “Well, my heart is officially in danger,” I say drolly. “So is his,” she reminds me.

I felt like I enjoyed this book – especially Pete – just as much as I did Logan and Emily’s story. I’m pretty sure I will end up loving all of the Reed brothers as I intended to read Paul, Matt, and Sam’s stories as well.

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