Tobias Gamble knew from a young age precisely the kind of woman he was going to make his. She was not going to be like his mother. She was going to be like the mother he claimed.
In other words, she was going to be just right.
And when Toby returns to his hometown of Matlock, Kentucky and claps eyes on Adeline Forrester, he knows she’s the one.
The problem is, his brother Johnny has a new girlfriend. And Addie is her sister. Last, Toby would do nothing to hurt Johnny’s chance at happiness.
Toby hangs around town to get to know the woman Johnny fell in love with. He also hangs around to get to know Addie.
But he’s fallen hard, and he knows the best thing for him—and Addie—is for him to leave.
Addie Forrester is thrilled her sister Eliza found a good, solid man. Johnny Gamble is the salt of the earth. The best guy in the world.
The best except for his brother, Toby.
Toby doesn’t know it, but Addie’s fallen hard too. He’s perfect, except for the fact that he’s hands off and it’s torture, being friends with Toby when she wants so much more.
Addie also has a lot on her mind. She’s got bills to pay, her young son needs food, Christmas is coming and her job at the grocery store just isn’t cutting it.
Toby is steering clear of Addie. Addie is steering clear of Toby. But everyone around them knows this is the slow burn.
Because just like Eliza and Johnny, Addie and Toby were made for each other.
A Gamble man went after what he wanted, locked it down, and then…onward.
“Listen, I’m not saying anything against Toby,” I spoke into her silence. “I get it. He’s not into me. That’s understandable. I am baggage. And Deanna, you have to remember, I watched this kind of thing happen with my mom over and over again. After my dad, she looked for love. She had an open and hopeful heart. She wanted that for herself. She wanted stability for her girls. And she got knocked down again and again by guys who wanted in her pants but wanted nothing to do with some other man’s kids. At least Toby’s honest about it. That genuinely says good things about him. Really good. And I appreciate it.”
This was a total lie.
I did not appreciate it.
I was attracted to Toby Gamble.
I wanted to taste his mouth and other parts of him.
I wanted to feel his skin and see what his body looked like under those tees and jeans.
I wanted to fuck him. I wanted that to be wild and intense and so enthralling, the world ceased to exist, all of it, except what we were doing to each other and how it was making us feel.
I wanted to sleep beside him.
I wanted to wake up next to him.
I wanted to feel his arms around me. Not like they were that terrible afternoon when I’d sobbed into his neck and he’d carried me to Izzy’s bed or that other, far more terrible afternoon when my baby had been stolen from me.
I just wanted him to hold me.
I wanted Brooklyn to grow up with a man like Toby Gamble. Not just as his somewhat uncle who would lift him high and make him fly or let him crawl all over him when we were at a diner eating burgers just because me and my son were there, and he was a decent guy who liked kids. But as a guy who was always there, eventually showing my boy the way in matters his mother could not.
I wasn’t in love with him.
But I knew if he gave me even the barest hint he’d even think of going there with me, I’d take that fall.
And when I did, if it didn’t work, I also knew it would annihilate me.
What a sweet and steamy story! To me, this is the kind of contemporary romance that Kristen Ashley does best. Addie and Toby are two characters from the first book in the ‘Moonlight & Motor Oil’ series. Because they are siblings of the main characters, they have been together in many situations and have become very careful of crossing over the line.
Adeline is a devoted single parent and Tobias is a rough, smart and verrrrrra sexy Alpha hero. They are both devoted to their families, and this is one of the familiar themes that I love from this author. Kristen Ashley takes her time building the tension and the relationship between these two and it is a fabulous journey.
“But I knew if he gave me even the barest hint he’d even think of going there with me, I’d take that fall.
And when I did, if it didn’t work, I also knew it would annihilate me.”
You must read the sweet dedication to this book because it really does set the tone of the story. I like to call this a classic Kristen Ashley story, complete with a slow-burn romance, an honest and hard-working hero and a beautiful, sweet and devote heroine. Addie is too stubborn at first to let Toby into her life because she knows she could fall hard for him. Toby sees the burdens that Addie carries around and he is irresistibly drawn to her. This is a passionate, sexy story with a low amount of angst but just the perfect amount of sizzle and family drama.
I traced a blue bear in the blanket with my finger. You’re a Gamble.
“Those boys really do not fuck around,” I whispered.
There’s humor, sweet and touching emotion and lots and lots of romance in ‘The Slow Burn’. If you are a fan of any of Kristen Ashley’s contemporary romance books, then you will definitely love Toby and Addie’s story. It is everything I love about Kristen Ashley!
(ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.)