by Mia Hopkins
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Publisher: Little Stone Press
Book #2 in the Eastside Brewery series
Number of pages: 285
Ages 15 and up
CW: violence, mention of drug use
He burns for her. Lucky for him, she likes to play with fire. . .
My name is Eddie Rosas, but everyone calls me Trouble. Since I got out of prison six months ago, I’ve had one goal: find my father, whatever the cost. My older brother says I need to move on. He also wants me to leave our gang, East Side Hollenbeck, and go straight, but I can’t–not until I uncover the truth about our family and its missing piece.
One problem? I’m distracted. My distraction’s name is Carmen Centeno. Smart, passionate, and tough as hell, Carmen is a woman from the neighborhood who’s built her career as one of the city’s top chefs. She’s a master of creating pleasure both in and out of bed. But when our connection deepens, how can I show her I’m not the trash everyone says I am?
The pressure’s rising. Carmen deserves a man she can depend on. And when the ghosts of my past rise up, I’ll have to outsmart them–or lose my shot at a future with the only woman who believes in me.
There are a lot of romance series where you can read the individual books as standalones. While I’m sure you can do that here, I really think you’ll be missing out on a lot. It’s not that Eddie himself is in a lot of the previous book, Thirsty. It’s more about the neighborhood and the gang. You get a lot of information about both in the first story that just isn’t in this book. And, from the perspective of someone who has read the first book, that’s fine. I just strongly feel you’ll be missing out on a lot if you don’t understand where Eddie comes from.
Poor Eddie and Carmen! They get interrupted a lot, and in some not-so-great ways. This story starts out hot with the two strangers using one another with not many words but a lot of emotion. Later, as Carmen and Eddie try to get to know each other, they realize nothing has banked the fire between them. But, like I said, they can’t seem to seal the deal. (Don’t worry folks, the author doesn’t string us along for too long.)
I found this story interesting, but there was something missing from this one that was in the first book. I’m not sure what, but I didn’t feel as invested in Eddie as I did in his brother. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s made mistakes and is trying to right many wrongs. I just felt a disconnect from him. Same with Carmen. I love her and her grit and determination, I just didn’t love her quite as much as I love Vanessa. And that’s okay. They still kept me engaged and tugged at my heartstrings. They still did their job of giving me an emotional romance to read.
I’m really curious to see how the final brother fits into their world. He’s mentioned more here than he was in the first book, where I thought I maybe imagined that they had another brother. But we really haven’t gotten to know him at all, he truly lives in a different world than Eddie and Sal. Should be interesting.