NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
How to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie Harte is the story of how Abby Dunn (a witty, loyal, and intelligent woman with shaky self-worth) finds Brody Singer (a goofy, playful, and sincere guy who tends to hide his problems from everyone rather than reach out for help). It is the second book in the McCauley Brothers series and while it could be read alone, I recommend reading The Troublemaker Next Door first since it contains a fair amount of character building for Abby, Brody, and pretty much everyone else you’ll encounter in the story.
Series Side Note: Each book takes place in Seattle, and Harte is fairly descriptive with her locations. If you enjoy the area, this may add an extra bit of fun to the read, like it did for me.
I was pleasantly surprised by Abby in this book. For a heroine who struggles with self-worth due to some past emotional abuse, she grew in a way I wasn’t expecting. I know personal growth is usually a given in contemporary romance, but it so often revolves around the hero and his ultimate acceptance. In this story, however, I knew Abby Dunn would find her happiness, even if it didn’t include our hero.
Several cliches of contemporary romance made an appearance (love them or leave them), but it also had several unexpected moments for me, which I loved. I tend to expect a hefty dose of the “man box” in stories like this (ie obsession with sports, no crying allowed ever, and calling each other pussy). While the men in this series definitely live in the man box, they are NOT assholes about it (so refreshing)! And every once in a while Brody breaks the mold in an adorably sweet way:
“And I really, really want you to come live with me. If you play your cards right, you could be the lucky Mrs. Brody Singer. Unless, of course, you strike it rich. Then I’m okay to take your last name. Brody Dunn has a nice ring to it too.”
This was my second book by Marie Harte, so I was curious to see how she would write another set of characters with distinctly different personalities. I thought it was done very well – Brody and Abby were definitely NOT just Flynn and Maddie reincarnate from The Troublemaker Next Door. I hope this trend continues with Vanessa and Cam in Ruining Mr. Perfect.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book for what it was, a relaxing and charming romance with some sexy times. It goes especially well with a cup of cocoa and I’m planning to read it again once the holidays roll around.