ARC-review: INSIDE OUT by Lauren Dane

WORTH THE WAIT
Ella Tipton is a survivor. In the wake of an attack that left her nearly dead, she’s spent each day putting her life back together. Once vibrant and outgoing, she’s needed to reclaim the best parts of who she was while retaining the hard won lessons. There hasn’t been room for any romantic entanglements, even if she were ready. Still, it didn’t mean she had to stop sneaking looks at Mister Tall, Dark and Tattooed himself.

Security professional Andrew Copeland isn’t quite sure when his jones for the lovely and decidedly skittish Ella developed. He’s known her for years, has watched her triumph over the pain she’d been dealt. Cope is no stranger to women, but he knows the nervous flush he gets every time he talks to her is different than any attraction he’s had in the past. Determined to get Ella to let him in, Andy does the one thing he can think of to get close: he offers her hands-on training in self-defense.

While Ella’s sure he’s just being nice, the prospect of being able to touch him and gain the tools to push away the last vestiges of her fear is more than she can resist. Soon enough, Cope shows Ella his feelings are far more than friendly and re-ignites something deep inside her. Before long desire and love turn them both inside out.


Title: Inside Out
Author: Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Siblings, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Year of release: 2010, November 2
Format: Tradesize Paperback
Source: Received a digital copy from author for review

First line: She arched on a gasp as the heat of his mouth met her neck.
Memorable Scenes:
– Dancing at the club scene > I love it when characters dance
– Cope’s solo scene in the shower > I need some ice
– Speeches at Brody and Elise’s engagement party > Yup, I cried
– Cope revealing Ella’s scars > Yup, I cried again
– Andrew and Ella’s letters > OMG! Talk about wooing *swoon* and emotional *sobs* The letter stuff killed me (in a good way!) and left me a sobbing mess, especially the last two.
– Ben and Cope at the hospital > Yup, another ‘let’s make Pearl cry’ scene

I don’t believe I’ve ever been more anxiously yearning for a book or more giddy to finally read about a character I’ve lusted for from the moment he set foot in the first book of this series: Mr. Andrew ‘Cope’ Copeland. My heart was literally thumping when I opened the digital copy and started reading.

Andrew ‘Cope’ Copeland is a sweet, gentle and caring man wrapped in a flirty bad boy. He’s confident and easygoing, sensitive and intuitive. With every page Cope had me crushing on him more and more and while he wooed Ella he lured me not only right into his web of sensuality but also romanced me with his caring and fun personality.

And I was happy with how Ella invariably kept calling him Andrew instead of Cope. She sees and exposes sides of him he keeps hidden from everyone. They all know Cope, laid-back pretty boy, but only Ella gets to see Andrew, sensitive and vulnerable.

Ella Tipton is a woman with a rough past that turned her from carefree and vivacious to cautious and stronger but still the vivaciousness seeps through now and again. She’s a fighter. Resilient and brave, focused and empathic. Few authors make me really (fall in) love their heroines, Lauren Dane is one of those few. Through Cope she made me fall for Ella as hard as he did.

Cope and Ella are perfectly matched. Others perceive them both others in a certain way but they have this need to have someone look past the outward and obvious stuff and get to their cores. I love it when a main couple goes from friends to fantasizing about each other to being lovers to a relationship. And that’s exactly what Lauren Dane gave me in INSIDE OUT.

The secondary cast of characters in INSIDE OUT was comprised solely of (extended) family members, both on Cope and Ella’s side. It was awesome to see the characters from the first two books make an appearance and form a wonderful supporting cast to bring out the family dynamics, support and the feeling of togetherness I adore in this series.

Parents again play an important role in the back-story and character-depth. Ella’s don’t get her yen for independence and feel rejected when she tries to make a life for herself without completely leaning on them. They don’t see that she needs it to feel a semblance of being in control of her life. Yet despite their disagreement on this, there’s also warmth and love between the Tiptons and they see and understand more than Ella thinks.
Following the small thread in LAID BARE Cope’s parents, especially his dad, are still struggling so much with Ben’s choice of lifestyle, that they overlook Cope, who has always stood in Ben’s shadow, Ben being the favorite golden boy in his parents eyes. In some parts of the story (when you read the scenes, you’ll know which parts I mean) I wanted to punch Cope’s dad in the face, hard!

As much as I adored INSIDE OUT for its emotional impact, its strong family and friends dynamics, its wonderful main couple and their lovely, touching journey into a deep and profound love I did miss the dirty hot sexy times and the sexual intensity that blew me away in LAID BARE and COMING UNDONE. I had the feeling that the awesome erotic and sexual zing that was present in LAID BARE has dwindled down a bit in the following books.

On the one hand I thought it was cute how sweet Cope was by reigning in his lust and taking it slow with Ella, considerate of her troubled past and fragile emotions where it came to men and sex, but on the other hand I was thinking: ‘Come on Cope! Get down and dirty already!’ and getting impatient waiting for the scorching hotness to set the pages on fire, which was muted by Cope’s constant need to accommodate Ella and make sure he did nothing to scare her off. There’s a time for sweet, gentle and cute and there’s a time for sweaty dirty smexing and since I expected a sexy contemporary, not to say erotic romance (based on the two previous books) I must admit to myself that the sweaty dirty was not present enough for me in most of the book.

My problem was that there was a lot of talk (from Cope and other characters) about him being a “dirty” boy but I didn’t see it in the sex scenes much. Don’t get me wrong: I liked the sex scenes, liked Cope as the hero but a little more dirty would have made him live up more to my high expectations. I also understand that a great part of the minor issues I had with INSIDE OUT were due to my own high, and probably unrealistic, expectations so I want to make sure that anyone reading this review understands that this is a case of : “it’s me, not you Lauren.”

That being said, I absolutely loved the way Lauren Dane shows the power of friendship and love in all its facets in the books of this series and INSIDE OUT is no exception. The intricate bonds and emotions between lovers, friends and family members that run like a thread throughout the book, is one of the strong points that I adore in this series. They are what give the books and the characters a depth that goes beyond any hot sex scene could.

Lauren Dane never fails to bring me new and refreshing stuff when it comes to sex speak. Some new-to-me terms I picked up: eye-f#cked and sex voice. And there was a remarkable obsession with licking (if several body parts, not just the obvious ones) in this book. I’m not complaining about this, just noticed it as it was mentioned from the start on the very first page, it was on both Ella and Cope’s mind a lot throughout the book and it was in every sex scene.

In conclusion, INSIDE OUT is a must-read and can’t be missed once you’ve started this series. Though it didn’t meet my (enormously) high expectations in the erotic sense, for me it was a sexy contemporary romance that redefines the meaning of romantic and it was an emotional depiction of the bonds within a group of family and friends, colliding family members and love in its purest form.

Favorite Quotes:
That voice. Holy crap, his voice was like sex in a jar. Or whatever. But it was hot and sexy, and she heard it lots and lots. Usually when her eyes were closed and she was masturbating. Wrong. Bad, bad Ella!

She’d unleashed something deep inside him. Had held up a mirror, and the man she saw– the Andrew she believed him to be– was so much more than the Cope he’d allowed himself to coast into.

Snippet from a letter from Cope to Ella:
“You are mine, and I don’t think I know all the words to tell you just what that means. Only that when you breathe, I do, when you smile just for me everything inside me stills and knows it’s found the key.”

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3 thoughts on “ARC-review: INSIDE OUT by Lauren Dane

  1. Not much durty smexing going on? I don't know if my hormones are at play here (I know TMI!) but I love LD's durty smexing, so she's giving us everything she's known for except the down-and-durty smut? *cries* No fair!!I've got Inside Out on my TBR pile but I thought the opening pages were verra nice *waggles eyebrows* Of course i couldn't resist and take a peek when the book arrived :)

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