Published by NAL Trade, Penguin on May 5, 2015
Genres: contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Source: Finished Copy from Publisher
A gripping standalone adult contemporary romance about finding yourself while taking a second chance at your first love…
Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional —not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.
Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he’d lost forever.
Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she’s also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.
Two of Hearts is a standalone new adult romance by Christina Lee. I have read, and totally loved, a handful of books in Christina Lee’s new adult Between Breaths series. This book had a different vibe to it. It works great as a standalone as well. I really enjoyed this second chance romance between Shane and Dakota, and I loved the insight it gave me into the Native American and reservation culture. That is not a culture that I have explored much before, and it was cool to see it incorporated in this new adult contemporary.
Dakota’s father ran a successful casino in her community, so when he died the casino fell to her and her mother. The problem is that her mother is 100% dutch and Dakota is 50% dutch. Some members of the Native American community saw this as a betrayal of sorts and had an issue with “an outsider” running such a profitable community business. I thought this was an interesting point of drama and strife in Two of Hearts. It added a different layer of complexity to the story and even to the romance.
Shane comes home to pay his respects to Dakota’s father, since he grew up and worked in the casino. Shane is a US Marshall and soon he gets wrapped up investigating the death and wrapped up in Dakota himself. I am such a sucker for a second chance romance, and I think what I liked the most about Shane and Dakota is how well they really and truly understand each other. Dakota and I had a bit of a bumpy start, but I grew to love her. Initially, I had my feathers ruffled over how she handled her first chance at love with Shane in the past. I thought it was a typical “girl” move to try and test him and then let him go when he didn’t react the way she wanted. Even though she didn’t want him to leave she told him to. We all do it sometimes, it is like we can’t help it. But it still aggravates me when mind games like that happen. Because everyone loses. But anyway, I digress. Their first chance didn’t work out, but that brings us to their wonderfully crafted second chance at love. I really enjoyed going their their ups and downs.
Christina Lee is such an emotional writer. It makes for great contemporary romances. While I didn’t love this book as much as the books in her Between Breaths series, I did really enjoy it. Shane and Dakota will make you experience a range of emotions and you will be rooting for them. Two of Hearts is a solidly good book. And I thought the cultural aspect of the book was just as well done as the romance. So kudos to Christina Lee for that!
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