Can’t Hardly Breathe (The Original Heartbreakers #4) by Gena Showalter

Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis’s past is full of memories she’d rather forget. But there’s one she can’t seem to shake—her long-standing crush on former army ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out…but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead.
Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves curvy Dorothea night and day, he’s as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her.
But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.

Confession time… (again.) I’ve skipped around a bit with this series. Translation: I read the opening novella (The One You Want) but evidently I’ve skipped the next three books in the series until I finally managed to pick up Can’t Hardly Breathe. The good news is that although I want to catch up with the first four couples in The Original Heartbreakers series, I wasn’t lost at all throughout Daniel and Dorothea’s story.

Dorothea and Daniel had a history. A history that they each remembered just a slight bit differently. She had a crush on Daniel that she never really got over, but she had no idea that Daniel had feelings for her too. High school can be a battle ground and Daniel and Dorothea were definitely on opposing sides.

I loved Dorothea’s spunk, but she didn’t have it easy. Her mom was flighty, her sister was a brat and her ex was a jerk. She’d suffered loss and came out fighting, but she still longed for a love that would last. If she couldn’t have that, she’d settle for a good time and if she kept her heart out of the equation, Daniel was just the man to provide it. Because Daniel didn’t jump at the chance, Dorothea assumed he didn’t want her. That was just the beginning of the crazy assumptions that worked to keep these two apart.

Honestly, I could have done with a little less drama, but this story worked anyway. A couple of the supporting characters from past books also made me want to go back and pick up the rest of The Original Heartbreakers series and there’s even more to come. Ryanne and Jude are next and given the sparks already lighting between these two, I might have to pick Can’t Let Go up before I start playing catch up. 😉 

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