REVIEW: “Passion Restored” by Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan’s Gallagher men fall hard and love harder and sex their women up even harder!  I love it!.  “Passion Restored” stars Owen Gallagher who is the one of the middle Gallagher men.  He’s the one who keeps his brothers in line with his ultra-organized ways: multiple lists, color-coded charts, and spreadsheets.  Owen makes sure everyone is fed and initials the coffee shop cups for his brothers.  Even though they end up drinking out of the wrong ones anyway.  However Owen wants to feel like more than a glorified Office Manager.  He wants to land the big job that will put their company on the map.  Liz McKinley’s a nurse who’s priority is healing the ill.  She doesn’t play hospital politics or engage in high school-like gossip.  Liz is intelligent, strong, and kind.  She had a horrible childhood which colors her view on what she wants for her future.

“Passion Restored” has a gripping storyline and a quick pace.  My pet peeve is an overly angsty heroine who continuously pushes and pulls the hero whenever convenient.  Owen is an Alpha Caretaker, as opposed to a Protector.  He makes Liz feel safe not by slaying her dragons but caring for her so she can slay her own.  Owen also corrals his brothers, organizing them and tending to them so they can tackle their day prepared.  Liz’s childhood broke her because of this she feels doomed to hurt the man she falls in love with.  Essentially she is creating her own fate pushing away any all potential romantic relationships.  Carrie Ann Ryan creates a mulit-faceted secondary character in Tessa, Liz’s best friend and housemate.  We catch up with the other Gallagher brothers Graham, his family.  Jake, the rest of his triad, and their son.  Finally the youngest and flirty Gallagher, Murphy.

Owen and Murphy are at a local bar after work.  Owen notices a gorgeous and extremely curvy blonde enter making a bee-line for a very tipsy brunette.  Owen’s reaction to the way the blonde fills out a pair of jeans is immediate and spurs his filthy imagination.  Murphy also notices but he reminds Owen of his own preference for brunettes – so no need to call dibs.  The blonde pulls the brunette away from some rowdy men bringing her to the bar to settle her bill.  Upon arriving at the bar the brunette greets Murphy and Owen, introducing herself as Tessa and the blonde as Liz.  Murphy introduces himself and Owen.  Liz is curt saying they need to leave and go home and Owen wishes them a good night.  A drunk says rude things about Liz but Murphy pulls Owen away before he can teach the guy some manners.

Owen walks across the parking lot to his car when he turns to see headlights coming straight at him.  Suddenly he’s flying through the air, sliding along the road before hitting his head.  Owen briefly sees Murphy’s concerned face over his own before the blackness.  Liz walks into the ER for her shift and she’s greeted with a “Hi Liz” from a very battered Owen.  She’s stunned but she knows how the other nurses like to gossip so she calls Owen, Mr. Gallagher.  Owen begs Liz to be the one to talk to his family about his status before he’s taken to surgery.  Liz accompanies the doctor to meet with the Gallagher clan where  Murphy recognizes her immediately.  The doctor gives the family the run down but needs to attend to another matter.  Liz is left to answer more questions about Owen’s recovery.

Liz and Tessa move into their new home; it isn’t much but it’s all theirs.  After being released from the hospital for a couple of weeks Owen’s been staying with family.  He can’t take it anymore, and demands to go home.  His family is reluctantly leaving when they notice a moving van next door.  Murphy sees Tessa first then notices Liz carrying a box into the house.  The Gallagher clan greets Tessa and Liz.  Liz is taken aback and reacts very snippy toward Owen.  Owen’s family leaves and he sits on his couch blissfully alone when there’s a knock on his door.  Thinking it’s his family again he calls for whoever to come in.  It’s Liz bearing apology cookies, for her rudeness.  A week or so later Liz’s having coffee on her porch when she sees Owen fall on his front lawn.

After she checks him for injuries, Owen invites her in for coffee where they exchange a passionate kiss.  Owen tells Liz, he won’t push her but he’d like more; if she doesn’t want to go further he understands.  But it she wants more he’ll be there.  A while after than Tessa and Liz attend a cookout at Owen’s house at Murphy’s invitation.  Things get hot and heavy between Liz and Owen leading to against the door uninhibited forget-the-world-exists sex.  When Liz realizes anyone could have heard them and a couple did she leaves the party.  This back and forth dance continues.  The sexual attraction brings them together but fear of emotion causes Liz to push Owen away.  Liz tells Owen about her childhood to explain why she can never have a relationship nor eventually a family.  But Owen is always there and keeps coming back.

Before long Liz and Owen are in a relationship that Liz doesn’t want to examine too closely.  Liz feels herself falling but it feels too good to stop.  She also feels Owen’s emotions growing but she feels safe with him and doesn’t want to lose it.  So she ignores the desire to push him away until something unthinkable happens.  Liz pushes Owen away when her whole world is imploding and she needs him most.  Instead of leaning on him she says she’s leaving, not only him but Denver altogether.

Carrie Ann Ryan creates a fabulous hero in “Passion Restored” who overcomes a terribly traumatic hit and run.  Owen Gallagher’s an adorable Alpha Caretaker with a pure golden heart; he loves completely and never backs down.  Liz McKinley perseveres a nightmarish childhood, an exhausting career, while heaping abhorrent and undeserved expectations on herself.  Owen wants nothing more than to shower Liz with all the love he has.  Liz’s child’s heart, wants it desperately; but her broken heart pushes it away because she feels unworthy.  “Passion Restored” has an intriguing storyline firmly based in the heroine’s camp.  There’re portions at the books end which feel rushed and/or superfluous.  Not to mention the heroine’s yo-yoing is sometimes grating.  Consequently that affects my rating.  Murphy and Tessa’s flirty banter is playful and a delight.  This is another Gallagher Brothers book definitely worth reading.

I’m giving “Passion Restored” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Hurricane Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed

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