Imagine Me is my first book by Fiona Cole but it definitely won’t be my last.
Within pages I fell in love with Juliana and this love only grew over the course of the story. Jules is a character I found myself really identifying with. We may share very different backgrounds but her values - about needing to be more than just a woman or some man’s partner/wife, to be valued as a person: an intelligent, clever, funny, spirited person - just resonated so well with me. And then her crazy imagination conjuring up various scenarios - that is just me all over - so Jules you definitely aren’t alone!!
“I liked to play this game with myself. I figured a lot of people did, at least that’s what I told myself to rationalise my overactive imagination. I would think of these extravagant situations that would never happen, but I’d let them play out in my mind and let my heart rate speed up as if they’d actually come to fruition.”
Shane, on the other hand, is so gruff and unapproachable to begin with. But I could tell there was more there and as I got to know him, the more I loved this sexy, stern, hulk of a man. And by the end of the book, I was a complete convert to the wonder and gloriousness that is Shane.
Imagine Me dealt with some bigger issues than just a forbidden romance between an older man and his best friend’s younger sister. It was about the presence of patriarchy in today’s modern society and the impact of this on a young woman like Juliana who wasn’t afraid to go after what (or who) she wanted - even if it meant defying her family’s wishes or the wishes of those around her.
In saying that, Fiona has written a brilliantly steamy, romance that started off as a wonderful slow burn. I loved the lingering glances, long looks and the subtle flirting between Shane and Jules - even if I just wanted them to hurry up and get together!! Alongside these genuine lead characters were a cast of fabulous supporting characters and Fiona does a great job of them in Imagine Me. I laughed out loud so many times at Evie and Joelene’s antics (hope we get to see more of Jo!) who were absolutely hilarious!!!
I’m looking forward to reading more by Fiona Cole - especially going back to the stories of characters we see in Imagine Me. This was a fantastic story that I hardly put down once I started - Juliana and Shane hooked me and didn’t let go.
Upfront, let me say this was a rare 5-star read for me. This book is filled with so many good things; I don’t even know where to start. I loved it!
Shane, our hero, is 38 years old. A demanding career in law enforcement underpinned by a childhood within the foster care system, sees Shane adopt a no-commitment policy when it comes to relationships.
Our heroine, 25 year-old, Juliana, is the ‘baby’ of the family. She’s stifled on all sides by her parents, her ex-boyfriend and Jack, her over-protective older brother. She’s a qualified scientist, yet her achievements are dismissed as her family try and push her towards a safe life as a wife and lady-who-lunches.
Shane and Julianna spent a night of hot passion a year ago at Jack and Lu’s wedding. Jack is not only Julianna’s older brother, he is Shane’s best friend and a person Shane considers family. Another reason for Shane not get involved with Julianna.
While Julianna’s move to Cincinnati wasn’t because of Shane, she would not say no to spending more time with him. Shane’s rejection of Julianna stems from not only their age difference and levels of experience but also not wanting to damage his strong friendship with Jack. Even though Shane may be saying no, his actions and body are saying yes, yes, yes. When they come together, Shane and Julianna are explosive. They have some seriously hot times between the sheets. And against the wall. And in a car. And … well, you get the picture.
Not only are the sexy times scorching but these two make love. You can feel the love coming off the page! The author does a brilliant job of conveying not only the physical aspects but also the emotional ones. Even when Shane doesn’t recognise his feelings, we readers do and it’s magical.
And just in case you’re wondering, yes, our couple do spend time together outside of the sexy times. They get to know each other, often more through their actions than words. They talk to each other and trade witty banter. They have fun together. They revel in just being with each other. Unfortunately, Shane’s attempts to keep things casual and his unwillingness to be in a relationship lead to him lash out verbally at Julianna when she confesses her love for him. His taunts of ‘it’s not worth it’ result in a heartbroken Julianna severing contact and attempting to pick up the pieces and move on.
Never fear! Our couple can’t stay away from each other. And if you’re after a hero who knows how to grovel, Shane’s your man. No spoilers from me but his effort is worth a 10/10 score. In fact, let’s make it 12/10. Jolene, Julianna’s colleague and roommate says it best when she declares ‘So help me god, if you don’t call him, I’m going to track him down and hump him against his will. If you’re too scared then I will happily be his rebound.’
In addition to Jolene, who I hope gets her own book, there are appearances from characters in previous books. They form a great support cast by adding to the story without being a distraction.
This was my first time reading one of Fiona Cole’s books. It definitely won’t be my last. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Another fantastic story from this author - she's quickly becoming a favourite of mine.
Shane is definitely the alpha assehole character we love and there were times I wanted to punch him in the junk. BUT .... he's definitely got his reasons/history for the way he is. Plus he's seriously HOT so I had to forgive him.
Juliana was a really interesting character, book smart and life experience poor. She is finding her way and really started to stand on her own in this story. I loved her relationship with her brother and her BFF. Genuine and realistic - they really added to the depth of the story.
Now it's a Fiona Cole book so you know the chemistry is BEYOND HOT & the sex scenes require a special friend or BOB afterwards. Wowsa!!!
Definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a sexy, smart read.