I was instantly taken by the blurb and started reading as soon as the download was finished on my iPad. C'mon who can resist a hot alpha underground boxer?! I started with the intent to read a few chapters before making dinner then MAYBE get back to it before going to sleep. Instead, was pulled into the story so fiercely that I ended up calling for take-out so I could keep on reading. Love, love, love how Ms. Evans weaves music into the story of Remy and Brooke. Perfect for two characters who aren't so good at expressing themselves through dialogue. Had me going to my iPod to listen to the songs mentioned to tap into what Brooke and Remy were telling each other. Both the hero and heroine are broken, flawed characters, especially Remy who will just break your heart, but you just can't not fall in love with him!
My complaint (which isn't really) is that the author spends more than 50% of the book building the tension (for some yet to be revealed reason) between the hero/ine before they are officially 'together' and not just employee/employer with an obvious attraction. There are too many moments when it's obvious they both want the other, but Remy is holding back. Brooke is so desperate for him that she's begging for it, which is clearly out of character for her, and still Remy won't succumb. For who he is and his reputation with women, it just doesn't make sense. It's painfully obvious Remy has a secret; the interactions between the secondary characters make that clear pretty early; you just have to wait to find out what it is. For the record, I'm all for tension and angst before the hero/ine give in to their feelings of lust and love, but half the book is a bit too long for my taste. I'm impatient, what can I say! ::shrug::
There's a scene about 40% in when Remy's secret is somewhat clearer (at least to me it was), so I was even more anxious to see how they'd move forward and/or overcome it. After so long I was begging for Remy to give up the goods just like Brooke!!! As a reader, you're as frustrated as Brooke, so in that way the author did a great job of making you FEEL that frustration!! That's a gift! ;) I will say when these two finally stop dancing around and Remy gives in and tells Brooke why he's been holding back...be prepared for a FIVE ALARM FIRE! Things go from a slow simmer to a OMG!! panty-melting boil!!
Overall, I was very happy with this debut effort from Katy Evans. REAL is surprisingly emotional and heartfelt story. I didn't expect it to address serious themes it tackles in such a unique way for this genre. According to the author there will be a sequel. There's no cliffhanger here (HOORAY!!!), but I was left feeling like Brooke and Remys' story isn't totally complete, so I'll happily read more to come from them. Mostly, I hope the author gives us stories on Melanie, Riley, Nora and Pete in the future as well.