Author: Rebekah Weatherspoon
Source: ARC provided
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The first in a new series from award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon…
A week-long getaway…
City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.
A solitary world turned upside down…
Nature photographer Shepard Olsen has resigned himself to a quiet existence, with only his dog by his side, until a woman in need of his protection shows up on his doorstep and throws his universe into disarray.
Two lives linked by tragedy…
Claudia is desperate to heal from her traumatic loss, but can’t stop thinking about her run-in with evil….or the grizzled mountain man whose quick thinking and good aim saved her life. When she shows up on Shep’s doorstep again, she finds she isn’t the only one who can’t move on.
… saved by bliss.
The two begin an intense, passionate relationship of Dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, but with dark memories haunting them and decisions about the future rapidly approaching, Claudia can’t help but wonder…how long can they be each other’s haven?
*** WARNING: This book contains a sexual relationship between a fashionista and a cranky mountain man who are dealing with physical and emotional trauma. And a very big, cuddly dog.***
Haven has the same vein and rhythm as Treasure. They are both romance novels, but with a gritty tone like Fit trilogy and Sugar Baby series that have a candied approach. That completely debunks my theory that this book is going to be fluffy. I should’ve believed that ominous murder synopsis. Trigger warning for gun, and blood, gore at the beginning of the novel.
The heroine of Haven, Claudia, met the hero Shep in an unlikely circumstance. She was running away from her kidnapper that also killed her brother. He was forced to shoot him. This is certainly not your cabin-mountain romance. This specific moment and alliance bound something between them.
Months later, Claudia came back to the mountain to thank him for saving her life. Now they’re both changed people. He has bloods on his hands. She, with her survivor’s guilt, and post traumatic stress disorder. She’s still coping.
Haven explores that, “tragedy brings people closer together.” The main characters went through something similar. Only they could draw and relate to each other. This trope could become disastrous if the author couldn’t handle it respectfully. In which Weatherspoon delivers it realistically. There’s an explicit buildup of trust and consent. There’s also the gradual getting to know each other phase which is always my favorite thing about romance novels.
Tragedy shouldn’t only be the foundation of the relationship. Even the characters are aware that it’s an unusual situation and it shouldn’t be romanticized. The relationship wasn’t treated as the cure to Claudia’s PTSD.
I love this part because there’s uncertainty about it. For me, this is a realistic approach because they haven’t known each other for a long time. A lot of things could happen! That can also be romantic without over doing it.
I want to tell him I love him. I don’t know if I do, but I want to tell someone who isn’t Liz or Brook something that matches what I’m feeling. That it hurts not to tell certain people I love them anymore, face to face. I open my mouth before I can stop myself.
“Can I tell you I love you even if I don’t know if I mean it? I don’t think I mean it, that way.”
“With that caveat, yeah.”
“I love you so much. It hurts.” I say as I bury my nose in his chest hair. I’m crying again. His hand strokes down my back. He kisses the top of my head.
“I love you too.”
As expected, the BDSM is just right for me. If you haven’t read any BDSM and you’d like to try, I highly suggest picking up Haven or Fit Trilogy. They are one of my first foray into this genre. It’s well done, not entirely wild by my definition. It’s simply spot on and great.
Overall: I love the quaint and nature vibes of this story. It’s so beautiful despite the murder. I swooned, I laughed, I cried. I got emotional. It’s a 5-star read for me. Haven is one of my favorite reads this year. A perfect opening for a series. I can’t wait for the next novel.