passion rating: hot
Dear Ms. Nicholas,
Perhaps I wasn’t the best choice to review your latest novel Everything You’ve Got. I’m married to a physician and have worked in and around the medical field for most of my adult life. Your heroine, twenty-seven (I think) year old Dr. Kat Dayton, struck me as unbelievably immature and the problems she faces in her medical practice seem to be in large part of her own making. For most of the book, she annoyed the hell out of me and I couldn’t see why your hero, the literally heroic Luke Hamilton, put up with her.
Kat and Luke have both grown up in the small town of Justice, Nebraska. Everything You’ve Got is the second book in the series Anything and Everything. I didn’t read the first book, Anything You Want, in which Luke and Kat are introduced, but that wasn’t a problem for me. Their back-story is clearly explained in Everything You’ve Got. Kat has been hung up on Luke for years but he spent most of that time stuck on the heroine of Anything You Want, Sabrina. Sabrina is now happily married to Luke’s best friend Marc and Luke has realized the woman he really loves is Kat. The two share a highly charged kiss involving handcuffs the night of Luke’s birthday party and immediately become a couple. As Luke says to Marc after he walks in on the two of them making out madly,
“And we’re both about to have a love life.”“You’re getting a girlfriend?” Marc asked with a smirk.“Yep. Terrific gal. You’ll love her,” Luke said.“And Kat’s getting a boyfriend?”“Guy who’s crazy about her.” Marc chuckled and Kat rolled her eyes as she took Luke’s hand. “Let’s go. Dining room.” Luke sighed and followed her into what could only be his surprise birthday party.
Kat’s never had a really serious relationship with any man although she’s had many a fling. Not only has she been crushing on Luke for years, Kat has serious intimacy issues. For years, Kat has kept the world at bay with her kick-ass attitude and her physical presentation.
She knew that most people saw her as a tough, confident, no-bullshit kind of woman. And that was absolutely the image she worked to project. Most of the time it was easy and most of the time it made her feel that way. But there were days like this, when even the boots, the makeup, the piercings and body paint didn’t make her feel tough.It had always fascinated her how outward appearance colored the way people perceived things. She’d chosen her battle armor back in junior high. She changed the color of her hair and the body jewelry and paint she used, but her general look was the same— don’t mess with me.It had worked like a dream in junior high and high school to keep the mean girls away and the cocky boys at arm’s length. A guy had to really want to get close to make a move. She admired those that tried.The look had followed her to college and even med school. She was very comfortable with it by then and liked seeing how people responded to her. Some avoided her, feeling intimidated, some labeled her a rebel, some a bad-ass slut.Some found her intriguing, some figured she was just trying to be odd, still others assumed she was disturbed and felt sorry for her….She was more than a little fascinated by the whole thing. She’d grown up in small-town Nebraska, so she knew she was an anomaly. After all, it was completely on purpose.No one knew that behind closed doors she preferred baggy sweats, no makeup and that nothing was pierced or painted anywhere others couldn’t see it.It was armor, a costume, a Spiderman suit for the Peter Parker that lurked inside her—awkward, unsure, and breakable.
Kat thinks maybe she could let Luke in, but then, something bad happens. As she’s admiring her new boyfriend’s butt at his surprise party, her phone rings. A patient Kat saw in clinic earlier in the day—he came in complaining of arm weakness and a headache after working in the yard—whom she then sent home has just had a massive stroke and is unconscious. Kat realizes she misdiagnosed him—his symptoms were those of someone who had a mild stroke. Kat begins to freak out. Had she realized that Tom, the patient, had a stroke, she would have sent him to the hospital for testing and treatment which then, possibly, might have prevented the huge stroke he subsequently had. Kat doesn’t tell Luke about the issue that night nor does she tell him about the discussion she has with the senior partner in her medical practice who, the next day, essentially forces her to take a leave of absence, and begins the process of forcing her to quit practicing in Justice.
In the meantime, Luke, who always has a plan, decides what he and Kat need to do to take their relationship to the “we’re getting married and having six babies” stage is to kidnap her and take her on a trip in an RV to Nashville—it’s a favor, in part, for Sabrina, a musician, who will be performing in Nashville and needs the RV there, but is pregnant and wants to fly rather than drive. So, Luke handcuffs Kat and off the two go—Kat with her secret career problems and intimacy issues, Luke with the conviction she’s perfect for him and everything’s going to be great.
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