A noise comes. A shadow rears up in the dark. I scream.
“What the hell?”
Panic claws my chest and I scream again, reaching blindly for something to fight him off. Squatters and junkies and all kinds of dangerous men fill my mind as my hand closes around something solid on the hall table and I swing with everything I’ve got.
“Goddamn!” The figure reels back, stumbling against the wall.
“Get away from me!” I cry, shaking. My heart is racing so fast I think it might beat right out of my chest. I grip the object in my hand tighter. “Don’t touch me!”
“I’m not trying to touch you!” The man roars, angry. “I just want to know what you’re doing breaking into my goddamn house!”
The light flips on. I reel back, blinded by the sudden glare, but as the daze clears and my eyes flick back into focus, I see the man in front of me for the first time.
I stop breathing.
He’s half-naked, that’s the first thing I notice. Jesus, his body is like nothing I’ve ever seen before: tanned bronze and chiselled like a Greek god, but not like the guys I’ve dated, all waxed and pumped from hours at a fancy gym. This guy is real, raw, all muscle and power, with web of dark tattoos snaking over the bicep of his right arm. I feel a flush roll through me, hot with prickling awareness, but I can’t look away as I take in his tight, sculpted six-pack abs, and the trail of dark hair leading down to the waistband of his navy briefs...
“Don’t mind me, darlin’.” his voice comes. “Any time you’re done looking...”
I snap my eyes up to his face, blushing. Then I look at him for real and it all clicks into place.
“Oh,” My heart clenches in my chest as I recognize him for the first time. “It’s you.”
Unshaven face. Messy mahogany bed-head hair. And a pair of stormy ocean-blue eyes scowling at me like I’m the last person on earth he wants to see.
And I can say, the feeling is entirely mutual.
“It’s me.” Garrett Sawyer agrees in a low, Southern drawl. He strides over and snatches the vase from my hand, setting it down on the table with a thud. “Now, you want to tell me what the hell you’re doing creeping around my house at three in the goddamn morning?”
"This is where my childhood ended, torn away with the dying breaths of my mother. And this is where I'll be strong enough to start again."
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
I am a big fan of this series and have loved each and every character so far. I'm glad to say Carina and Garrett were no exception.
Carina is Juliet's older sister. On the outside she is perceived as this spoiled trophy wife, mixing with the elite and being the perfect partner for her rich fiancé. However, her perfect world is irreparably broken when Alexander takes it a step too far. With nowhere to go, Carina flees to Beachwood Bay and uses this time to confront her past regrets and build a new future for herself.
Garrett has been avoiding real life for the past two years. In a haze of whiskey and women, he is cut off from feelings and risks. That is until Carina literally crashes into his world. She challenges him just as much as he challenges her. Carina makes Garrett feel again for the very first time. He confronts his past and is made to realise what he can offer is enough for the right woman and always has been.
"No matter how many times I remind myself she's not ready for anything-sure as hell not a mess of a man like me-I can't ignore the truth. I want her like a drowning man gasps for air."
The angst was on the lower side, the focus was on Garrett and Carina learning to accept their pasts and not placing the blame on themselves. I really felt for both characters and in turn I was glad they had each other.
"His eyes pierce through me, the way they've always done: seeing through everything, right to the messy, broken heart of me."
As with every book by Melody Grace, I always feel the connection between both characters. Melody's writing captures the excitement, lust and passion. Even when Garrett was trying to do the right thing by Carina, their chemistry couldn't be denied. I could feel through the pages that he wanted her and I was willing him to give in already!
"My lips curl in a devious smile as I slide back into my car. Garrett doesn't stand a chance. Even if just for one night, I'm going to feel what it's like to ache for a man, to gorge on the pleasure I've only had a brief taste of. I'm coming for him, and I won't stop until he's mine."
Having both Carina and Garrett's POV allowed me into their heads and to understand their worries and anxieties. I loved seeing Carina stripped bare. I got to see a different side to her. She doubted herself, and her relationship with Alexander made her question her self-worth but with Garrett's help she got stronger every day. I enjoyed witnessing the change in her character and it was refreshing to see her take charge of her life. Carina also had to repair her relationship with Juliet and again this brought depth to the characters and storyline.
Garrett was punishing himself, the breakdown of his previous relationship had him doubting his abilities as a good partner, as someone who could provide a woman with everything she needed. Carina showed him that he was more than enough for her. Sometimes you just love someone more.
Of course, it's great to see the other characters we have grown to love. Brit is protective of Garrett and Juliet has bridges to build with her sister. I loved getting a glimpse into their lives and what stage they were at. I actually thought this would be the last in the series, so I was surprised to learn there are two more books to come. Two newcomers, Alicia and Dex will take centre stage in Uninhibited. We only met Dex in the epilogue and Alicia's role was very small, I'm not sure if I know enough about their characters to want to read their story but then I do love Beachwood Bay so I will never say never!
Unconditional was a sweet addition to the series. I'm glad Garrett got his own story and it was great to see the real Carina under her tough façade. Beachwood Bay fans need to add this to their collection today.
Melody Grace is the USA Today bestselling author of UNBROKEN and UNTOUCHED. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach-lover, she spent years with her nose in a book before deciding it was time to write them for herself. She loves bad boys, good books, and pistachio-flavored ice-cream.
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