The Look of Love
Bella Andre, June 2011, $5 (digital only)
Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?
This is my first time reading Bella Andre, but I plan on reading more very soon. The Look of Love is the first novella in her Sullivan Family series about eight sexy over-achievers who find their perfect loves. I love family-based series. Coming from a large family myself, I find myself giggling and shaking my head in agreement over the dialogue and hijinks. Add in some sexy loving, and you’ve totally won me over.
The Look of Love introduces Chase Sullivan and Chloe Peterson. Chloe is a beautiful woman who had the misfortune of marrying a controlling man. He criticized her looks, her hobbies, and her sexual appetites. When she makes the decision to divorce him, he tracks her down and extracts revenge for her supposed betrayal. She is running from him when her car slides into a ditch and she is rescued by the gorgeous Chase Sullivan.
Chase is a fashion photographer who is an admitted player, but has tempered down his extra curricular activities with the opposite sex and now is looking for quality over quantity. When he comes upon Chloe, he can’t help but notice her beauty but her fear and reluctance for his help that calls to him. His protective instincts are triggered and not even realizing it, he’s determined to help her.
Chase and Chloe are two characters whose instant chemistry worked for me. Even though the whole story takes place in about one week’s time, it feels longer, as Ms. Andre does an impressive job of exploring the sexual attraction between Chase and Chloe in a slow-build erotic storyline. We aren’t made to feel cheap, and neither are they when they act upon that attraction.
I love that while Chase doesn’t push Chloe to talk about her past or her feelings, he has no problem telling her his. His easygoing nature is a soothing balm to this over alpha-nated reader. All he wants is for her to feel safe.
One scene that stuck with me was when Chase catches Chloe, ummm, having a “moment’” involving a whirlpool tub and interestingly positioned jets. He stares, frozen and visibly projecting his lust and desire. Chloe expects now they will have sex, even though it’s not what she really wants, and will regret it in the morning. Hating him and herself. Because that’s what guys do—they take without permission. It spoke volumes to me. How many times have we done something we didn’t want to do because we inadvertently put ourselves in a position?
The fact he doesn’t take or even attempt to maneuver her into that position just blew me away and made me fall in love with him and the author.
Even with the semi-serious subject matter, the easy going humorous dialogue between Chase and Chloe balances it nicely and adds to its dimensions.
“That bathtub is really great.”
He was pretty sure he looked like an idiot standing there, unable to respond.
“I’m not sure the bathtub has anything to do with it,” he finally said.
“A guy should never underestimate the power of a well-placed jet.”
We meet some of Chase’s family and friends in here; his brother Marcus sounds yummy, and a brief preview of his story is at the end of this one. I liked the personality Ms. Andre injects into her characters, even the secondary ones. Everyone blends and interacts well with one another, giving a sense of realism and balance to our protagonists.