Title: Never Been Kissed by Molly O’Keefe
Boys of Bishop Series Book Two
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, Molly O’Keefe’s second novel in her exciting new series—The Boys of Bishop—features an irresistible romance and unforgettable characters in a page-turning story that delivers equal parts emotion and humor . . . with a little edge to boot.
As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.
Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.
Never Been Kissed is another captivating romance in Molly O’Keefe’s divine Boys of Bishop series. While it is a heartwarming love story between two incredibly complex individuals, it is also a wonderful journey of healing and self-discovery for the characters as well.
When Ashley Montgomery is kidnapped and held for ransom by Somali pirates, her brother Harrison reaches out to the only man he trusts to bring her home: their former bodyguard Brody Baxter. Although it has been ten years since he worked for the Montgomery family, Brody does not hesitate to rescue her from her captors. Needing a secluded place for Ashley to recover from her injuries, Brody takes her to his small hometown, where the two fight their simmering attraction for each other.
When the opportunity arose for Ashley escape the limelight and distance herself from her political family, she eagerly set out to make a difference in a poverty stricken African village. Her return home highlights the fact that nothing has really changed regarding her troubled relationship with her family. After spending time with Brody in Bishop, Ashley also comes to the realization that her long ago crush on him has deepened into love. She is a strong, independent woman who is not afraid to go after what she wants, but Brody has a long history of avoiding any kind of emotional entanglement. He might be willing to give into his passion short term, but he does not plan on sticking around any longer than he has to.
Brody is emotionally damaged from his childhood and although he loves his adoptive father Ed and brother Sean, he is not willing to risk getting hurt again. He returns to Bishop for short visits, helps Sean out around the family bar and leaves as quickly as possible. In order to protect his heart, Brody never asks for anything that is not given to him and it is heartbreaking watching him keep himself on the periphery of his family’s life. It is a huge step for Brody when he finally admits he wants Ashley, but he refuses to trust that what he has with her will last and he runs at the first sign of trouble.
Ashley and Brody’s relationship is slow growing and full of sexual tension. While at first Ashley is eager to send Brody away, he takes his duty to keep her safe very seriously and he resists her efforts to get him to leave. He is very reluctant to open up about himself, but Ashley manages to sneak past his somewhat formidable defenses. Their resulting romance is sweet and sinfully sexy but Brody refuses to admit that his feelings for Ashley run deeper than desire.
In addition to Brody and Ashley’s storyline, there is a secondary story arc with Sean and his romance with Cora. These two have been locked in an antagonistic relationship since their first meeting and as their interactions become a little less hostile, a surprising attraction develops between them.
Never Been Kissed is a fast-paced and engaging novel with a charming cast of likable characters. The characters are imperfect and dealing with realistic, easy to relate to issues. Ashley and Brody triumph over their individual problems with little angst and although they stumble a little along the way, Molly O’Keefe gives them happily ever after they so richly deserve.
Never Been Kissed is an splendid addition to the Boys of Bishop series and I cannot wait to read Between the Sheets, which is scheduled to release in a few weeks.
Read my review of Wild Child HERE.