Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Release + Review: The Brave Line by Kate Stewart

Title: The Brave Line
Author: Kate Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 17

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She is a five foot seven long list of things he can’t have.

He is a determined cop, desperate to keep his heart sealed behind his badge.

Michelle is a survivor. With a fresh perspective on life, she trades her tragic past in California for the coastal waters of Charleston. Fueled by a new career as a dispatcher, she’s determined not to let her scars weigh her down. She apologizes for nothing, especially her insatiable need for a certain police officer.

Rowdy is a newly minted sergeant dedicated to his job, but the life of a Charleston police officer has never been more dangerous. With his need to take order of a city spiraling out of control, the last thing he wants is an entanglement with a mouthy dispatcher. But, there’s just one problem. He can’t get enough of her.

As the heat rises between the unlikely pair, so does the tension.

Three months of summer was all it took to shake their foundations, rattle their walls, and bring them crashing down.

It was lust.

It was love.

It was real.

And it would have been perfect . . . if it wasn't already over.

Note to reader: This book has several elements and explores topics that some may consider triggers. For mature audiences only. Explicit sex, violence and language.

4 stars

 This is a good book! This book is a spin off of the Balls in Play series, featuring April's friends Michelle and Rowdy. But it is totally different than those romantic comedies. It is emotional and angsty, gritty and real, heartfelt and full of heat and passion. It put me through the ringer as a reader and made me think. It took me some time after I finished to clarify my feelings about the book, too.

This is Michelle and Rowdy's story. Michelle works at the 911 call center with April and has become her good friend after moving to town from California. She escaped an abusive marriage and has managed to make a new life for herself after starting over with nothing. She meets Rowdy through April. He is April's best friend who she grew up with. Rowdy is a cop, a good one, but he is tormented from the past trauma of losing his sister and his partner. He doesn't let himself have close relationships because of that. Michelle and Rowdy are attracted to each other, but Rowdy doesn't want to go there with her, even though she is obviously willing. But his restraint can only hold on for so long. They begin a wild, crazy, emotional journey towards love with lots of bumps a long the way. Their reward in love is all the sweeter for the risks they took with their hearts.

Michelle and Rowdy were both good characters. They were very real feeling with real flaws. Michelle was smart, funny and a survivor. She had been through a lot in her past, but still had hope for finding love in the future. She was a big personality, sexy and willing to fight for what she wanted. I liked Michelle right away, but I wasn't sure about Rowdy. He was awfully cocky at first. He came off as a jerk to Michelle at times. It was obvious that he knew Michelle liked him and was eager for his attention. I felt like she needed to play a little harder to get with him so he could be taken down a peg. But after a bit, I came to understand that he did like Michelle and appreciate her after all. He was just afraid. Rowdy was a good man and good at his job, but not very good at relationships because he had spent so long avoiding them. Their relationship is tumultuous and a roller coaster of emotions. They both pushed each other away at different times. It was a times hard to read as they hurt each other. Their chemistry was combustible and their passion could be volatile sometimes too. This book is long and the journey that the couple goes through is emotionally exhausting at times. Rowdy and Michelle's relationship developed slowly and it took a lot of work for them to overcome their pasts and get their HEA. But the reward was worth all the work they put in. They both deserved to find love and be happy. Michelle and Rowdy found they were stronger and better together. 

The call center and police work aspect of the story was at times heart-wrenching. It is definitely the 
most realistic portrayal of the field I have read in a book. I know Ms. Stewart did extensive research, interviewing law enforcement officers, to be able to write this book. The research paid off in spades. Some of it was hard to read, especially the public's reaction, and at times hate, for police officers. Rowdy was a good cop and it felt so unfair for him to be treated poorly when he put his life on the line every day. The feelings he went through, fear of getting into a relationship so he didn't leave a widow behind if he is killed, and the feelings Michelle went through dispatching him to crime scenes, with her fear of losing him, were very heartfelt and emotional. This book was very eye opening as I have never really put much thought into what being in a relationship with a law enforcement officer must really be like. It definitely made me feel more sympathetic towards those in the profession and their families. I enjoyed the side characters, including catching back up with April, too. As always from Ms. Stewart, I love the Charleston setting and all the little details and places I recognize from living there in the past. 

Overall, this was a good read. It was not an easy read, but I enjoyed the emotional journey nonetheless. I definitely look forward to more from Ms. Stewart in the future! 


A native of Dallas, Kate Stewart now resides in beautiful Charleston, S.C. She lives with her husband of 10 years, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring the city her creative muse. Since the move in 2010, Kate has written and published several novels including Room 212, Never Me, Loving the White Liar, The Reluctant Romantics Series (The Fall, The Heart, The Mind) and The Balls in Play series (Anything but Minor and Major Love.)

Kate writes messy, sexy, angst filled romance books with ‘hard to get’ happy endings because it’s what she loves as a reader. She has a scary addiction to chocolate milk and a deep love for rap music specifically the genius known as Marshall Mathers.

In addition to her addiction to romance, Kate also lets her alter ego take over on occasion and writes erotic suspense under the pen Angelica Chase.

Check out Kate’s works as Angelica


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