Hundred To One (Cedar Tree #2)
by Freya Barker
Arlene Bowers is as tough as nails. She has survived a less than perfect marriage, managing to move past it to run her own diner. Her abrasive exterior has always been a way for her to hide behind the darkness and pain that she has endured, but a recent, violent attack and several disturbing phone calls have that tight hold on her emotions wavering.
Seb Griffin showed up in Cedar Tree eight months ago and was hired on at Arlene's Diner as a cook. An ex-con with secrets of his own, Seb walks a fine line. Since he began working at the diner, he's developed feelings for his fierce, stubborn boss, and the need to keep his distance from her, to protect her, is a daily struggle.
When it appears that Arlene's past has come back, rearing its ugly head while her defenses are low, Seb steps up and claims responsibility for Arlene, praying that he can keep her safe from whatever is coming her way.
I can smell the coffee before I hear his voice.
“Smiling? You must still be asleep.”
I open my eyes to find Seb with a mug of coffee beside my bed and my body reacts to all the possibilities that represents.
“Stop being a smartass so early in the morning.” I grumble at him, wiping the sleep from my eyes and groping for my cup, half-blinded by the morning light. I squint up at him to see he has already showered and is dressed.
“The bed in your guestroom sucks.”
“You’re the one who insisted not leaving me alone for the night. So suck it up.” I tease him.
“As long as you know I’ll be testing a different bed next time I’m here.”
“Oh yeah? Says who?”
Grabbing the cup from my hand and putting it on my nightstand, he sits on the bed beside me and forces me back into the pillows. I try to push myself up but the bastard grabs my hands and holds them over my head, leaning his elbows beside my head. His clean smell surrounds me and I can’t help but stick my nose in his neck to sniff, making him chuckle. Then he proceeds to give me a hell of a good-morning kiss that ensures that absolutely every part of my body is now fully awake.
“I say. And get your ass out of bed, before I keep you there indefinitely. We have a diner to open.”
He trails a finger down my nose and lets his eyes roam over my face. "I love these, you know."
"What?" I whisper, lost in the deep blue of his eyes.
"Your freckles… spots that make you unique." And with one last peck on my lips he disappears from the room.
After reading Slim To None a few months ago I couldn't wait for Hundred To One's release. It's not often you find a book with real characters with real issues but Freya Barker knows how to pull it off perfectly. Her character's are older, have health issues, aren't in the perfect shape, and are probably the realest characters I've come across.
Don't get me wrong... Nothing gets me going like a 20-something sex god, but sometimes it's nice to have a break from the norm, ya know?! And Arlene and Seb, and of course Emma and Gus from Slim To None, are far from perfect that you can't help but love them.
Arlene is the kind of heroine that I usually have trouble connecting with but her vulnerability when it comes to Seb had me loving her. She's tough as nails, but manages to not take it too far. She knows when she needs someone to lean on and Seb is just the guy for the job.
Seb has loved Arlene from afar since he arrived in Cedar Tree and while he fought it for a while, he's finally decided it's time to stake his claim. And with so much going on in Arlene's life, right now is the perfect time for him to be her rock.
There's a great amount of suspense that had me on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book but front and center was the romance between Seb and Arlene... And of course the smoking hot sexy times between the two.
Overall I really enjoyed Hundred To One and can't wait to see what Freya Barker delivers next!
Freya Barker has always been creative. Involved in music and dance when she was younger, she followed it up with cake design, quilting, and has most recently added cover design, the Dutch-born Canadian mother of two now has found her voice - writing.
Freya Barker is the pen name for a well-respected reviewer/blogger, who has a strong following on her blog, Facebook and Goodreads. As an avid reader, the next step to pen a book of her own seemed natural.
Driven to make her story about 'real' people, Freya writes about people who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, hot monkey sex and some thrills and chills in their lives!
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Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Hundred To One in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.