For Seconds to Lose
by K.A. Tucker
Read: November 12 - 13, 2013
Published: November 4, 2013 by Atria Books
Source: Kindle purchase
Category: Contemporary, Romance, Issues,
New Adult crossover (I say it's more Adult)
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths book 3
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.
Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.
Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can't get distracted by romance.
Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.
They say the third time is the charm, and that certainly is the case for K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths series. While I enjoyed Ten Tiny Breaths, I thought it followed the standard New Adult Trauma Victim Plot pretty closely, and One Tiny Lie was mostly about Livie learning to party like a college girl. It also had that pesky cheating triangle (Take that with a grain of salt, as many people didn't see that book as negatively as I did). Four Seconds to Lose is book three in the companion series, and the story follows club owner Cain and his new hire Charlie. For me, it is by far the best of the three.
Four Seconds to Lose is much more mature and serious than Kacey and Livie's books, and it felt like the story crossed the line into being an "Adult Contemporary" as opposed to a "New Adult". Even though Charlie is the same age as Livie, she and Cain are dealing with much bigger issues than themselves, and the story is less focused on self discovery. And, as much as people love him, I think the absence of wacky Dr. Strayner, made this book better. He started to become too much of a powerful fix all character, and his unconventional methods never sat well with me.
I was already intrigued by Cain after glimpsing him in the previous two novels, and boy did I fall hard for him in this book. But it didn't take me long to sympathize with Charlie as well. It's interesting because she is keeping some big secrets from him throughout most of the story, and that frustrated me at times. However, she was deep in a dangerous situation that had no good out, and I could understand her fear over it. I also liked how the romance was paced. Although Cain and Charlie are instantly attracted to each other, it takes time for anything to happen between them. All that building tension was pretty delicious.
When I read the description of this book, I was a little worried. Cain owns a strip club through which he tries to help women escape the sex business. WHAT? In Cain's mind, a strip club attracts women who are already using their bodies to make money, and he uses that avenue to help the women who work with him. He keeps his business clean, legal and drug free, and works hard to encourage the girls to get out of the industry and away from bad relationships by encouraging therapy and education. Cain has a very strict policy of no relationships with his staff, which he's been able to keep easily, until Charlie shows up at his door. Despite all of his explanations, Cain's reasoning for running a strip club still sounded pretty flimsy to me. Before I started this book, I was convinced that I'd never buy his excuses. But the thing is, I did, especially because Cain also struggles with these same questions, and wonders if he's actually helping or enabling these women. It is clear that owning the club is wearing on him. I was really surprised that despite somewhat flawed logic, I bought his perspective, and could see good in what he was doing.
Four Seconds To Lose can be read as a standalone, but I did appreciate having a background on Cain from reading Kacey's story in Ten Tiny Breaths. The time frame for the plot of One Tiny Lie overlaps with this one and is not relevant to this story. Despite my hesitation about the previous books, this series has continued to hold my interest, and I finally truly get what everyone's talking about with these books. I can't wait for the next installment, Five Ways to Fall, which is about Ben (though it is starting to bother me that Four Seconds to Lose is book three and Five Ways to Fall is book four. We need to add another before them for them to add up correctly!).
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/none. Third in companion series.