Early Review: Time Served by Julianna Keyes

23 Time Served

Time Served by Julianna Keyes
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2015
ARC provided by Netgalley and Carina Press

Synopsis from Goodreads: Dean Barclay had nothing to do with my decision to flee my old life, but he is 100 percent of the reason I vowed to never look back.

I’ve never forgotten how it felt to follow Dean—dangerous, daring, determined—away from the crowd and climb into his beat-up old Trans Am. I was sixteen and gloriously alive for the first time. When I felt his hand cover my leg and move upward, it was over. I was his. Forever.

Until I left. Him, my mom, and the trailer park. Without so much as a goodbye.

Now Dean’s back, crashing uninvited into my carefully cultivated, neat little lawyerly life. Eight years behind bars have turned him rougher and bigger—and more sexually demanding than any man I’ve ever met. I can’t deny him anything…and that just might end up costing me everything.

Angie’s Review – 3 Skulls – B-

Time Served is a story about a man and a woman that share a sordid past. When their paths cross years later, sexual sparks reignite.

If you’re picking this book up hoping for a tone similar to the one found in Just Once, you’re going to be shocked. While there may have been some gruffness in Just Once, there was also an undercurrent of sweetness and romance that you won’t find in Time Served. I found myself in an unfamiliar place upon finishing this book. I didn’t particularly like either of the main characters in this one, and it made it hard to root for them to find their way together. They just seemed to bring out the worst in each other. Having said that, there was something about their story that hooked me.

Rachel and Dean were both from the wrong side of the tracks, but Rachel worked her tail off to finish law school while Dean ended up in prison for armed robbery. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was Rachel’s perception of her present life. I didn’t always like the things she thought about people, but it was clear to her that while she may have been able to change her income and the sort of people she surrounded herself with, the grass wasn’t necessarily greener on the other side. And those thoughts constantly plaguing her were realistic. She’d spent a large portion of her life being judged, and it was a knee-jerk reaction to judge back; it was something she wasn’t able to let go even after all these years. On top of that, she was so harsh in the way she judged herself, I can see it spilling into how she thought about other people. It might not be flattering, but I do think it fit with her character. Dean was a jerk from the get-go, and the moments when he departed from this were so few and far between that it just wasn’t enough for me to ever warm up to him. His gruffness wasn’t just part of his exterior; it’s who he was. The time he spent in prison, and probably age, mellowed him out some, but it still didn’t seem as if he regretted what he’d took part in or learned from his mistakes. Again, while this may not have been flattering to his character, it felt like such a realistic depiction of how his circumstances shaped him that it can’t be overlooked.

Here’s where my problem was with the book: the relationship between Rachel and Dean was awkward at the best of times and harsh at the worst. I felt like their relationship from the past was relied upon to solidify their current ‘romantic’ connection, but I didn’t see there where was any romance in their past. It was just really good sex. Oddly enough, it felt like they turned to each other in the present because of convenience, while at the same time it was incredibly inconvenient for both of them. I think Rachel, especially, was so scarred from her past that Dean was too much of a reminder for her to be able to move on. This book is classified as a romance, but I think erotica is a much better description. Their was a lot of sexual chemistry between the characters, and those scenes were very well written.

I really enjoyed the glimpses into Rachel’s professional life. Seeing the case she is currently working on through her eyes is where we’re able to learn how compassionate she really is. It’s her personal journey that I enjoyed most about this book. She has a lot of baggage she is carrying from her past, and Dean is the catalyst for bringing those emotions to the surface. While I don’t think his presence in her life is the healthiest scenario, I do think realizing how scarred she is and how much she needs to get past things is the silver lining to his appearance.

Overall, this book was an entertaining read and there was something about it that made it hard to put down. If it’s romance you’re looking for, I think you may be disappointed, but if you’re looking for a woman coming face to face with her past and trying to work through it, you might enjoy this one.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to CARINA PRESS and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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