Book Review:  Between the Sheets by Molly O’Keefe

in Book Review, Toni Linenberger

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18750587More times than not appearances can be deceiving.  What you see is not always what you get.  The quiet girl is really shy, not the stuck up unfeeling witch she comes across as.  The tattooed bad boy is the gentle father that wouldn’t hurt a fly.  The confident, funny girl is really the most insecure person in the room but doesn’t know how to let anyone see her vulnerabilities.

Between the Sheets, the third installment in O’Keefe’s fabulous Boys of Bishop series, is all about appearances not being what they seem.  If the previous two were about the town becoming a community, the third is about the community’s “good girl” coming into her own.  It is also the story of the bad boy who really isn’t the bad boy at all:  he’s just looking for a place to belong.

After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.

Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.

On the surface Shelby is the town good girl.  Even the nasty revelation of her secret affair with the head of the cookie company in Wild Child doesn’t diminish her image in the eyes of the town.  They all believe that he was lying; Shelby would never do those things.  While the revelations devastate Shelby, she also hopes that they will allow the town to finally see her as she is:  a woman who has closed herself off from everything and just wants someone to break down her walls.  Abused by her father, she is now taking care of her mother whose health and mental capacity is failing due to Alzheimer’s.  Shelby carries the weight of guilt from her childhood that she just can’t release.  Interestingly enough, the only one that actually begins to see her this way is Ty, the newcomer in town who is running from his own demons.

Ty is a newly minted father of a nine year old son.  His ex-girlfriend never told him she was pregnant and it was only after she was sent to jail and Casey into foster care that Ty learned of his son’s existence.  Moving to Bishop was intended to give them a fresh start and some stability.  Neither Casey nor Ty know what stability really looks like so they are feeling their way into their new reality.  Shelby and art class provide a lifeline for father and son.

Ty and Shelby start out as casual lovers, in a sense, though the casual never quite feels so casual.  They are using each other as a release from the day to day life they are each living.  Initially Shelby doesn’t want to expose herself to Ty at all; though she reveals far more than she ever expected as they move forward.  Ty sees her for what she is.  Much like Monica in Wild Child, Shelby is rough edges and brittle glass.  Her sharp edges are on display to anyone willing to look; sadly, she holds herself so far apart no one really has the opportunity.  Together they are able to smooth out their rough edges and become their better selves.

This book will slay you as you read.  Shelby and Ty both have so much hurt and pain to work through.  O’Keefe is a master at dragging her characters through the worst so they can become the best possible versions of themselves.  This book is no exception.  While you can read this one as a stand-alone, it has far more impact as part of the series.  If you haven’t paid a visit to Bishop and want an emotional, heartwarming, well-executed series what are you waiting for?

3 winners will receive an ebook copy of WILD CHILD and NEVER BEEN KISSED.

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