Release Day Reviews: Loving the Chase: Sharla Lovelace

Loving the Chase

(Heart of the Storm #1)

Sharla Lovelace 
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Expected August 25, 2015

Charming, adventurous Zach Chase has always craved the spotlight, and now he’s on the hunt for publicity for his family’s storm-chasing business. So when a reality TV network approaches him with the idea for a show profiling their work, he can’t resist. But the last person he expects to walk into the meeting is the former love of his life.

Production assistant Maddi Hayes was once engaged to Zach—until she was almost killed by a tornado he was out chasing. She walked away from her fianc√© and their future together, convinced she’d always come second to his dangerous career.

Dreading the show and anxious over working so closely with Zach, Maddi also knows this project could mean big things for her career. If only Zach weren’t still so infuriating…and so infuriatingly sexy. Can they finally let go of their stormy past? Or will the passion still raging between them win in the end?

Maddi Hays and Zach Chase are both about to get a big opportunity that could make both of their careers. Unfortunately, it also brings them back in close contact seven years after a devastating break up.

Soon she finds herself  back in the town she used to call home with people who were her adopted family. and with the only man she ever loved, but lost and never got over. 

Zach has always been the magnetic, charming, adventurer seeking the rush and thrill and wanting to control the weather. He would do "whatever it takes". But on the day it mattered most, he let her down. Maddi was sweet, devoted, and loving. But she did not feel like she was first choice and eventually she had to what she felt was best for her. So they had limited closure and a parting that left a lot of heartache in its wake.

Now Zach and Maddi have serious sexual tension and foreplay. Sparks fly every time they are near, but they are tempered by pain, regrets, and resentment. They both never really got over the hurt, but both don't know how to fix it either because they can't seem to get past their strong reactions to each other. They are both vulnerable, lost and extremely tense during this period of their "new normal".

Maddi also has to face Zach's brothers and sister and a whole town she abandoned for her own self preservation. She has to come to terms with who she was,  who she now is, and what she wants out of life. She has a lot of mending fences and need to repair relationships.
At the heart of the story is the Chase family: Eli, Simon, Hannah, and Zach along with their mom Lou and Granabelle (Another brother Levi is just talked about but not present in this installment). There are also some friends that are important to the side plots. I really enjoyed the banter and rapport with the family and friends. But also a huge side character are the storms they chase. They add danger, drama and cause destruction. The Chase family is drawn to them as a calling to help others and gather information, but they also provide an adrenaline rush. 

This is a second chance love story about reconnection, repair, and priorities. It is about finding what is most important and fighting for it.

Is the love of the chase more important than love itself? Will they find stability or will they be ripped apart again?

This couple doesn't just have to worry about feelings and love, but also about risks, jobs, sacrifice, and survival. They bring out both the best and the worst in each other and their relationship is as volatile and unpredictable as the storms themselves. They just have to figure out if they can be the one to ground the other so that their love can survive in a world full of chaos. This was sweet, suspenseful, angsty, and romantic.

I will admit that it started out a bit slow and I had trouble connecting with the characters at first. But about a third of the way through I began to get more interested and engaged and it kept getting better. I found myself wanting to find out what was going to happen, immersed in the suspense, and eager to learn more about all of their relationships.  It also sets up stories for the siblings in upcoming books in the series. There are a lot of hidden feelings, drama, and history swirling under the surface between some of them and  I am already invested and intrigued by their stories. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Zach Chase is enamored by storms, the more severe the better. Chasing, tracking, predicting. It’s in his blood. Three of his four siblings work together as a team to track severe storms, and his father did it before the kids joined the chase.

Maddi Hayes was nearly part of the Chase family, until she left her engagement and second family behind. Seven years later, the opportunity to fast track her career drops into her lap. If she can work with Zach and his family once again.

This is a real slow-burning second chance story. Zach and Maddi thought they were forever once before and neither are sure they can make themselves vulnerable enough to make a second chance even though the chemistry and emotions still spark between the two of them.

It was easy to understand Maddi’s fears and concerns when the history between them was revealed. But the way she handled several of the present day situations had me scratching my head at her thought process (or lack there of).

But I loved Zach and his dedication to both his family and Maddi. He may not have always shown either in the best way, but the loyalty was a strong factor of his personality.

I love this family and can see myself picking up future parts of this series as comfortable, easy reads. This book sets up several of the siblings with potential love interests and conflicted histories. Though this particular book felt like it had a slower start, part of me thinks it was simply that there were so many side characters to introduce that the main story had to pick up speed slowly so readers could get a feel for the family as a whole.

This was an easier read than I was expecting. There was some great back and forth between the characters, misunderstandings, and big mistakes. Once the story picked up, it was an entertaining escape into a world filled with storms and adrenaline.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Loving the Chase was one of those books I had a love/hate relationship with. The first half was where my frustrations came into play and the second half is where all my love came came into play. For the life of me, I couldn’t connect with the protagonists, and it took what felt like forever for the story to gain any kind of gumption; I was certain that this book would land on my DNF shelf.

I’m glad I listened to my friend when she told me keep going. She was right, after I hit around the 40% mark, it didn’t take me too much longer to become fully invested in Zach and Maddi’s world. *Sigh* Zach… I loved that man from the start to finish. He was perfect book boyfriend material. And probably one of the biggest reasons I agreed to continue on. He had me hooked. Line and sinker.

Maddi, on the other hand, left me wanting majorly. I didn’t see her fitting Zach’s character at all. It took me quite a while, but I was able to get past some of my annoyances, enabling me to enjoy her character a bit more. Still, with that said, she was not my favorite choice of a heroine. I just couldn’t fathom why Zach even wanted to be around her most of the time. I couldn’t take her constant whining about how she was done wrong…ugh! No matter how hard Ms. Lovelace tried, I just never really felt Zach and Maddi’s chemistry, emotionally or physically. Compared to her other characters, they fell rather flat in execution.

The one thing I will give this couple was the wicked hot sex scene in the thunderstorm. Holy. F***!!

As always, the writing was superb. The author provided well-developed characters as well as an intriguing plot. The story line was unique, one I hadn’t come across before. Loving the Chase turned out to be a great second chance romance; although, I would have preferred a little less storm chasin’ and a little more romantic chasin’. Zach and Maddi definitely had the potential to be a strong five star read with the last half of the book proving exactly why I am so in love with this author’s writing. However, I really had to question that love with the way the first half dragged on leaving me with no choice but to drop stars.

While I may have struggled with the connection between the two protagonists, I can't say the same about the secondary characters. I LOVED the connection and personalities of Zach’s family and friends. They captured my attention quickly, intriguing the hell out of me. I can’t wait to get my hands on Zach’s siblings. I am thinking there will be quite the adventures awaiting them, especially Simon and Hannah!

Thank you, Montlake Romance, for the complimentary copy of Loving the Chase.

Sharla Lovelace is the Bestselling and Award Winning Author of three novels and a novella, the most recent being DON'T LET GO, with a forthcoming novel, STAY WITH ME, due in Summer 2014. Being a Texas girl through and through, she's proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, a golf cart, a crazy mutt, and an aviary full of cockatiels.

Sharla is available by Skype for book club meetings and chats, and loves connecting with her readers! See her website www.sharlalovelace.com for a complete book listing, info on upcoming events, and to sign up for her monthly newsletter.


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