Calmly, Carefully, Completely by Tammy Falkner

Wow! I’ll admit, I had just a lukewarm reaction to books 1 and 2 in this series, but this 3rd book was just outstanding!

What’s it About?

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She’s been locked up even longer than he has. Peter Reed is fresh out of jail, fresh out of excuses, and ready for a brand new start. Reagan Caster needs to thank Pete for an act of kindness, but he wants more than just her thanks. Reagan knows how to protect her body, but not her heart. And her traitorous body responds to Pete in a way it hasn’t with anyone else.When Pete’s innocent flirtation becomes more, Reagan’s ready to accept what he has to offer. Pete assumes Reagan needs to be loved carefully and calmly. But Reagan knows she needs to be loved completely. Can he give her what she needs?

First Impressions

This is one of those books where our couple falls in love after spending just a week together in each other’s company. Now, normally I roll my eyes heavily at the unrealistic nature of such a thing, to the point where I even start to get a headache. However, when it comes to this novel I was shocked to find that it really didn’t bother me all that much. The reason for this is because their connection goes back two years, and has been building throughout that entire time, even if they weren’t physically together.

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Pete first came across Reagan when she was at her most vulnerable, in the immediate aftermath of her rape. Whether or not either was truly aware of it, this moment influenced their entire relationship, as it tested Pete’s true character in a way. He could have left her to fend for herself, or just handed her off to her friend and gotten the hell out of there. But he stayed. He comforted her. Protected her. In that moment an intense amount of trust was established. When they reconnect years later, they get to know each other beyond what happened that night, and it’s oh so wonderful.

Lovable and Loving Characters

Heavy subject matter to be sure, yet I was surprised to find myself laughing and smiling my way through most of this read. Pete and Reagan have had a rough two years. He’s been in jail for having made a stupid mistake in an attempt to help his family, and Reagan has been trying to live her life again in spite of her fear of being touched by others. In each other they find they can just be themselves. They can be carefree. Reagan’s father, who carries a hatchet to cuff off the balls of any guy who gets close to his daughter, also means you can’t help but chuckle when he finds Reagan and Pete alone together so many times.

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Personally, I couldn’t help but completely fall in love with Pete myself. It’s not hard to understand how Reagan fell for him so quickly. From his interactions with Reagan, as well as his caring nature with the other boys at the camp who need his help, he constantly exhibits patience, kindness and warmth.

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Through his point of view we discover his utter fascination and attraction to Reagan, but he knows what she’s been through. He never tries to rush her in taking their physical relationship to the next level, and even takes a step back when Reagan voices that she wants more. He wants to ensure she truly knows what she wants, and isn’t just taking things further because she feels comfortable with him. I will say though I do wish the book took place over a longer period of time than just one week, so that it really would have felt like they were taking their time, rather than just saying they were.

Communication is Key

Some of the interactions between Reagan and Pete almost felt like they were engaged in a high school romance, even though both are in their early 20s. This was especially true when it came to their physical relationship, as Pete introduced her to things she had never experienced before. However, I will say they do have open communication, which I absolutely love about this author! Her characters actually talk to each other! I know, seems like such a novel idea. Both Reagan and Pete share their frustrations and concerns when they happen in real time rather than letting them ruminate over long periods to eventually explode in a giant argument of misunderstanding.

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I will say it can remove any sense of struggle or any problems in the plot, but I do appreciate it. For example, in this book we see that because Pete knows about Reagan’s past, he can sometimes treat her with too much fragility, as though she’s going to break. This especially comes out when they’re being intimate. So, Reagan opens up and tells him that she’s not made of glass, and he can be a bit more handsy in bed. And this leads to yet another aspect of Pete that I absolutely love: the man listens!

How Can I Have S’more If I Haven’t Had Any?

Now for my one complaint about Pete. It might seem small, but it just goes to show that nobody’s perfect. The man doesn’t know what a s’more is. What…the…fudge and marshmallow?! Ok, I know the guy grew up in the city, so I totally understand if he’s never eaten one, but how could he have no inkling of how they’re made, or what they contain? We’re only talking three ingredients here!! Has he missed every pop culture reference to their structure/design, or just ignored every s’more flavored candy or pop-tart?! How is this remotely possible?! You’re killing me Pete! (PS: if you understand The Sandlot reference here we can officially be best friends).

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Series: The Reed Brothers, book 3. Hands down my favorite book in the series so far. Can’t wait to continue on!

Should you read it? Fantastic read. These two have a connection that is so pure and deep. The novel is really an exploration of their developing relationship, so it doesn’t have the most dramatic plot, but you can’t help but fall in love with these characters. You’ll laugh, and by God if I didn’t get tears in my eyes one day listening to this on my walk to work. Also, my main complaint about the male lead is he doesn’t know what a s’more is. Not too shabby.

Smut Level: Actual sex doesn’t come  until the very end. He introduces her to other delights slowly throughout the entirety of the novel.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Night Shift Publishing. 264 Pages.

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