Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chasing Serenity by Eden Butler- Review!

Chasing Serenity (Seeking Serenity Book 1)

Graduate student Autumn McShane has had her share of heartbreak. She's been abandoned and betrayed and she lost her beloved mother in a tragic car accident five months ago. That loss damaged her body and fractured her spirit but she's learning to recover, until her ex-boyfriend returns to town, intent on making her life miserable.

Declan Fraser hates her ex as much as Autumn does, but the last thing she needs is to put her trust in the hands of another man, especially one like Declan: his hard body and lulling Irish accent makes more than a few girls weak-kneed. The talented rugby player is rude and sarcastic, with tattooed, muscular arms and a cocky attitude, but he's the only one who can help Autumn win an ill-advised bet that, if lost, could cost her more than she's willing to pay. The reluctant alliance between Declan and Autumn stirs up cravings she doesn't want to admit, but Declan is a hard man to resist.

Just when Autumn starts letting down her carefully constructed walls to the sexy bad boy, he betrays her when she needs him most. Autumn suspects Declan has secrets, and she is determined to uncover what drove him away from her, even if that means fraternizing with the enemy. But will the truth return Declan to her arms or add to the scars on her heart?

My Review:
Chasing Serenity (Seeking Serenity, #1)Chasing Serenity by Eden Butler
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Autumn McShane has had a very rough year. Her boyfriend of two years left her, and she lost her mother in a car accident where she was seriously injured. Autumn's father abandoned her and her mother years ago and Autumn has struggled to get her life together with the help of her friends. Autumn's ex-boyfriend suddenly returns to town, and Autumn is none to happy about that. She has come to realize that he was abusive and controlling before he left her devastated, and she had to work hard to put herself in working order again.

Declan Fraser hates Autumn's ex-boyfriend as well. When Tucker returned to town he resumed his place as captain of the rugby team, and moved Declan away from his position on the team to enhance his own glory. Declan is a hard-playing Irishman who doesn't take kindly to playing with a selfish captain who puts his own needs far above those of the team. Neither Declan or Autumn are in a place where they are looking for a relationship, but they have a strong attraction to one another that seems to keep pulling them together when a variety of external factors are trying hard to keep them apart.

This is one of those books that really got me feeling. I was engaged from the beginning and pretty much read it straight through once I started. There were a variety of relationships explored throughout this book, and many of the were very difficult, but very touching. Autumn was an easy character to connect with. She is definitely flawed and has a lot to work through, but I was engaged with her throughout and really wanted things to work out for her. She has some wonderful friends, and learning about how they all rallied around her to get her through some of the hardest times in her life was very endearing. Autumn's relationship with her father was very complex, and it was really interesting seeing them reconnect after years of his being absent to try and establish a way to move forward and deal with the huge void his abandonment left in her life.

Declan…whoo! It felt like the author reached in my head and plucked out everything I love and created Declan. An amazing rugby player, with lots of tattoos, and closet geek tendencies. Oh yeah, and a sexy Irish brogue. All that- and despite his own challenges, he finds a way to start breaking down the walls Autumn has built around herself during her time of grief. He too makes some stupid choices, but his thoughtful acts far outweigh the stupid ones.

The chemistry, sexual tension, and angst going on between Declan and Autumn is pretty spectacular. It is obvious that each of them is holding themselves back from a relationship for different reasons, and then we find out that there are other things keeping them apart. This book had a reveal that I didn't see coming, that added a whole extra layer of complexity to the situation. This story had me experiencing a wide range of emotions, and kept me engaged the entire time. I enjoyed this book a lot and will be seeking out more by this author in the future and recommending it to other readers.

*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review


“What do you play?” I ask and he stops for a moment, notices me staring at his hands.

“Wing. Well, normally I’m wing. Tucker’s convinced Mullens to set me as scrumhalf.”

“Ah, so that explains it.”

“Explains what?”

“Why you hate Tucker.” He doesn’t respond, just returns to the bookshelf to grab another box and my gaze follows him, takes in the rigid set of his shoulders. “He’ll be gone at the end of the season, you know.”

“Hmm. If I’m lucky,” he says.

“Mullens is a good coach. I’ve known him forever and he’s friends with Ava.” A wrinkle forms between Declan’s eyebrows. “Dr. Winchell.”

“Thick as thieves with the president, aren’t you?”

“No. Well, yes, but it’s not what you think. She was my mom’s best friend. They’d known each other since college.”

He opens his mouth as though he wants to say something, but then just nods before he clears his throat. “Sayo mentioned it was a car crash?” When my eyes narrow, he shakes his head as though I shouldn’t be angry. “That was after she and the other two barked at me forever. Told me what an arse I was, how rude I was, how you didn’t deserve to be disrespected.” I relax and he continues. “You were hurt?”

“Yes.” My hands shake, tremble as they rest on the box in front of me and I can see myself bloody and still in the car, remembering the pain, the suffocating feeling of my mother’s loss. A breath tamps down the burn of tears in my eyes. “Three broken ribs, a completely busted up leg, and a lacerated abdomen. I had more scrapes and bruises than even you’ve probably had.”

“I’ve had many. Loads of scars as well.”

I don’t know what possesses me to do it, perhaps some subconscious need to prove how tough I am, that I’m not some sniggering girly girl, but I lift up the side of my shirt and show Declan the top of my incision from the surgery. It’s a horrid, long line still pink that runs from my hip to just below my bellybutton.

“A steel rod from the truck that hit us pinned me to the seat. Seven hour surgery.” Declan winces. The scar had faded and the doctors told me that over time it would continue to diminish, but it would never disappear completely. Five months on and it’s still quite disgusting.

Seemingly without thinking about it, Declan reaches down and rubs his thumb against my scar and at his touch, my stomach flips. I know he can see the light hairs on my stomach stand on end and how my skin covers in goose bumps. He looks at my face again and once more his eyes linger too long in my eyes, then down to my lips. But then he breaks contact and unbuttons his shirt.

“I’ve got a few nasty ones as well. See this?” He lifts his undershirt back over his left shoulder and I nod, curious of his point, his intentions. “Rory McDonald pushed me straight through the rusty, broken uprights when I was fifteen. Twenty-nine stiches that ached like a bugger. And here,” he lowers his shirt then pulls up the hem to show me a smooth gash just below his bellybutton. “Mickey Douglas forgot to ditch his watch during a practice match when I was eighteen. Fecking thing nearly ripped me in half when he lined me up and smashed me as I went for a try-scoring pass.” The scar is faint, barely noticeable and doesn’t register really as I am distracted by muscles so taut that I can see the lines across his stomach. There is a long trail of black hair below his navel that disappears beneath his belt and I can’t help the wild dip of my stomach as I watch his bare skin.

“That’s um, yeah.” I swallow against the dryness in my mouth and Declan steps closer, his shirt still raised. Again I feel him watching me, and I don’t realize how close we are standing until he drops his shirt. There is no smile on his face, no condescending little grin that tells me he thinks I’m an idiot.

I don’t react when Declan reaches for my face or when his hand cups my cheek. The tips of his fingers are smooth, not like the rough callouses on the tops and palms of his hands. I’m about to speak, say something glib, sarcastic, but just then Declan rubs his thumb across my bottom lip, a mimic of what I’d done to him Thursday night on the sidewalk. I can only manage to watch his head lower until his lips are at my ear. When he whispers, his voice is low, a soft rasp that nears a growl and instantly makes my body ache.

“Like what you see, love?”

He steps back and the crackle present in the air, the one I’d forced the other night, returns, collects into the stillness of the basement. The seconds stretch, he moves forward, and the only sound I can hear is the low hum of the lights overhead and my own heartbeat thumping in my ears.

“Yes….um, no…it’s not like that.”


Author Eden Butler

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” launched in October 2013 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.
Please send help.

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