Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Elizabeth Safleur’s Tough Luck is a gritty, emotional, sultry story of second chances. Interestingly enough, the second chance isn’t between her hero, Nathan, and her heroine, Starr. It’s a second chance at life for her hero. Nathan has spent nine years in prison for a crime that could be described as self-defense. However, a powerful family the Mackennas made sure to lock him up and throw away the key. Nathan and Stella meet at Shakedown, a burlesque club owned by Declan, a former inmate himself. He’s created a club that employes people with ex-con reps and other troubles. From the start, Starr and Nathan are drawn to each other. Very quickly in this story, Starr and Nathan fall for each other; however, the Mackennas are back and wanting revenge. Should Nathan protect Starr by staying away, or is he so gone for her that he can’t keep that distance?
One of my favorite parts of Elizabeth Safleur’s writing is her ability to create these worlds where you find yourself invested in its people. I found her with her Elite Doms of Washington series. I fell instantly for her brand of sultry, $exy romance. However, what I appreciate more is her universe-making. I read each book of that series, but I wanted to know more about the characters of this BDSM world of Washington.
With Tough Luck, she is once again showing us her strength in creating this special world in Maryland. Each character of the Shakedown series is compelling, and you want their story. The travesty of Nathan’s prison stay will inflame you, and the secrets of Starr’s past will make your heart yearn for a better future for her and her sisters. As such, you can’t help but love Nathan and Starr’s journey. Together, they are a dynamite couple who blow up Shakedown and blow up the sheets.
As you find in Safleur’s other books, this one is steamy. On a level of measurement, to me, it isn’t as hot as the Elite Doms series, but it’s still fiery enough to steam your glasses. Safleur gives Nathan and Starr lots of chemistry that it’s clear from the first chapter that they are destined for each other.
If I had any critique, it would be the unevenness sometimes of Safleur’s narration. Nathan and Starr tend to repeat their troubles, and it causes the narrative to falter. It doesn’t occur often, but it is enough that the story slows in parts.
That being said, will I be reading about Declan and Phoenix in Elizabeth Safleur’s next book, Tough Break? Indeed, Tough Road, the novella for the Shakedown series, piqued my interest but kept me skeptical about the series. Tough Luck, however, invested me. If you love romances with some grit and the concept of community and family driving it forward, then you should grab Tough Luck today and get started.
In love and romance,