|AMAZON | KINDLE|
Heroine: Charlie Rourke – Hidden lifestyle, Stripper
Hero: Caine – Stripper Club Owner, Protector
Four Seconds to Lose is about second chances, atonement, and unconditional love. It’s about real people from harsh realities. This book has a different vibe from the first two books in the Ten Tiny Breaths series. It has a darker and grittier storyline and that’s exactly why I love this series. The author always stays true to the characters' voice.
Cain has been a mystery since the first book. I’ve always known he would be an incredible hero, but learning his story showed me what a beautiful man he truly is. He had a tough childhood, where he grew up around drugs, addicts, criminal parents, a troubled sister, death, and fighting. The things that happen to him shaped him into the man he is today and brought him down a path that led to him taken on the responsibility of helping the women who work at Penney’s, his well-renowned strip club. He's always making sure they are protected and giving them better opportunities. He’s got a savior complex. However, running the club is not what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He’s exhausted by this lifestyle. He wants out but can’t make himself leave his troubled girls behind, thinking they would fall back into their destructive lifestyles again.
Charlie Rourke has been raised by a depraved and dangerous man. Her step-father deals drugs and has made her his pawn and lackey. Over the years, she’s learned how to be independently tough, role play, lie, manipulate, and cheat. She’s been living a double life for so long, she barely recognizes herself. She dreams of having a normal life and going to college. She was sent to Miami to do more of her step-father’s dirty work and realized this is her chance at being free-- if she can make enough money fast, which is how she found herself entering Cain’s office looking for a job as a stripper. This type of work makes her feel sick, but it’s a means to an end and ultimately an escape from the man that owns her.
From the moment Charlie walks into Cain’s office, Cain thought he saw a ghost from his past. She looks like Penny, a stripper he fell in love with years ago, but died. Cain is immediately drawn to Charlie by her looks but, as she continues to work at Penny’s, he sees Charlie for Charlie and not the woman from his past. Thank goodness, because I didn’t know if I could handle Cain comparing Charlie to Penny the whole time. It was annoying enough in the beginning, so I’m glad he soon realized that Charlie and Penny may look alike, but are polar opposites. Charlie’s strength, intensity, independence, and self-worth captured Cain’s attention on a deep level that he’s never felt before. He knows Charlie is different from the other women who strip and Cain is determined to protect her from the lifestyle.
Charlie has never had anyone look out for her or given her honest affection. She finds herself ensnared by Cain, wanting him, needing him, but knows that if she gets involved with him, she will have to leave him eventually. But she fails miserably trying to keep her distance from Cain. They’re magnetically drawn to each other. The connection between them is strong. The strip teases, searing looks, sassy winks, and heartfelt words made for some heady chemistry.
Charlie and Cain are both damaged and shaped by their past. They have thick walls around their hearts and this makes for a complex relationship. While Cain is more forthcoming about his dark secrets, Charlie is not. She’s afraid of her step-father, who would not hesitate to kill Cain if he knew what Charlie did. So, Charlie keeps her walls up for most of the book, even though Cain tries to chip away at them. I do wish Charlie would have opened up about her hidden lifestyle a little sooner rather than later. I found myself a tad frustrated with the situation. This is another ‘if they would only talk, things wouldn’t be so complicated’ situation. I also found myself frustrated with the rushed ending; it felt anti-climatic and everything was fixed too easily.
Overall, this isn’t my favorite in the series, but I enjoyed Four Seconds to Lose immensely. It has a great mix of deep emotions, sexy characters, heartfelt moments, intense drama, angst, and fiery sexual tension. Cain has a huge heart underneath the edgy and tough façade he exudes. He made my heart flutter wildly. I thought Charlie was a really good match for Cain. She’s intriguing, smart, and one tough cookie. My heart went out to Charlie and all that she went through. Cain and Charlie may be highly flawed and deeply layered characters, but their thoughts and actions were all genuine and full of passion and love. They would do anything to protect and save the other. Now I’m eagerly awaiting Ben’s book. I’m curious to know the woman who tames this man whore.