Freed an all-new emotional and romantic standalone from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carly Phillips is LIVE!
Fall for the missing Ward sister…
Juliette Collins is privileged and isolated from the world by her over-protective father. She thinks she knows the truth about her history until a file in her father’s safe reveals she has sisters she never knew about. A family she’s never met. Betrayed, she realizes there’s a life waiting for her outside the walls of her daddy’s New York City penthouse and Juliet is determined to live it. Against her father’s wishes, she heads to a small beach community to meet her siblings… and finds herself way out of her depth instead.
In the personal protection business, Braden Clark thinks nothing of taking on a job to watch over a city girl in town for the summer. If her father wants to know his daughter is safe, it’s no problem and an easy way of earning a paycheck. Except Braden doesn’t count on falling for the sheltered Juliette. Watching her experience her firsts, getting an apartment, finding a job, meeting up with her lost sisters, soon Braden’s brand of protection becomes a little too personal. He’s mixing business with pleasure and lying to a woman he’s coming to care deeply about.
Sexual attraction burns bright between them and Braden is by her side as she finds herself, her family, and what it means to love… but what happens when she discovers his secret? That he’s been paid to watch over her all along?
A Standalone Novel
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“You have a customer. First booth.” Grace tipped her head toward the front of the restaurant. ““And he’s a cute one. Single, too,” Grace said with a wink.
“So this is what small-town living is like? You know everyone?”
She nodded. “And everyone gets to know you. Now shoo.” She waggled her fingers, indicating Juliette should head up front and serve her customer.
She put a smile on her face and strode toward the first table, stopping short when she came upon him.
He had thick, brown wavy hair, with a strong jaw and hazel eyes, and Grace hadn’t done him justice calling him cute. He was downright gorgeous. A navy tee shirt accented his muscular frame. He had to work out, given the flex and pull of his biceps as he picked up a glass of water and took a long sip.
The men she knew in New York were flimsy compared to this hunky specimen. They wore suits their bodies didn’t fill out and had weak facial profiles. This guy was everything she didn’t know to want, but she was certain he’d be in her dreams from now on.
She swallowed hard and approached, gripping the coffeepot in her hand. “Good morning.”
He looked up and his eyes locked on hers. His mossy-green-brown gaze bored into hers and held on so long the stare felt like a warm caress.
“Good morning to you, pretty lady.”
At his gruff words, a warm flush rose to her cheeks. “Coffee?” she asked, lifting the carafe, her hand suddenly trembling.
“Sure. Thank you.”
She somehow managed to pour the liquid without spilling, but she filled the coffee too high and it seeped over the top, leaking first on the table and then onto his lap.
He jerked as the hot liquid hit his pants.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry.” She put the carafe down with a clatter, picked up the nearest napkin, and began blotting his shirt and his lap, pressing down to soak up the liquid, only to come into contact with his hard, thick– “Oh!” She yanked her hand back, further mortified.
“You could keep going,” he said, eyes twinkling with laughter.
She wanted to crawl beneath the nearest table and stay there. “I’m so sorry. Did it burn you?” she asked, her cheeks flaming.
“No. It must have been cooler than you realized. I’m fine. Really.”
“Is everything okay over here?” Grace asked, walking over, obviously concerned.
Juliette stepped up, taking responsibility. “I–“
“Just a little accident,” the man said. “It’s no big deal.”
A customer called Grace’s name and she walked away, the incident forgotten. Juliette wished she could put it behind her as easily.
“How about we introduce ourselves, considering you had your hand on my–“
“Juliette,” she said quickly, before he could finish his sentence. “Juliette Collins.”
“Braden Clark,” he said with a knowing grin that made her weak in the knees.
The man’s impact was potent.
“Nice to meet you, Juliette.”
“Same,” she murmured. “Now can I get you a fresh cup of coffee?”
“That would be great.”
She gently picked up the overflowed cup and headed for the kitchen, returning to him with an empty mug and a towel to clean the table. A few careful minutes of serving later, he had his coffee and she was back to her duties, feeling his gaze on her as she worked. His name is Braden Clark and he’s a regular.”
Juliette picked up the coffee carafe. “I’ve got it.”
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Rating: 3.5 – 4 stars
I enjoyed reading Freed. This is the third in a series but is a standalone and I came to this book as a new reader in the series.
I liked Juliette, she was kind and considerate but so naive, this is in no small part to her over protective (controlling) father, who let her think he was all that she had in the world because her mother had died. He deceived her and used his health to keep a tight rein on her. When she found out that her mother was alive and that she had two sisters and found the courage to leave her father and seek out her family he had her followed and monitored.
The private investigator that he hired- Braden Clark – felt attracted to Juliette the moment that he saw her picture and as the got to know each other, a relationship developed between them. Braden does step back and give Juliette as much privacy as possible and does not report her every little move to her father (in fact he reports the bare minimum) but still, it isn’t great that she left her father’s deceit only to find another man who was deceiving her from the beginning.
Braden is torn by wanting to spend time around Juliette, but also wanting her to have the chance to spread her wings for the first time in her life. Of course there is also the issue that his father is unwell and he doesn’t want to be a burden and clip her wings before she has had chance to fly.
In time Braden and Juliette’s relationship grows and the deceit weighs heavier on Branden. I can understand why Braden did not confess all upon meeting Juliette (and continued taking payment from her father) of course, he couldn’t he needed the money and he didn’t know her, she was an assignment. (His own father is unwell and will need to move into a care home and Braden knows he needs to finance that)
I did really enjoy seeing Juliette getting to know her wonderful sisters, Phoebe and Halley. She did not know about them but they knew about her and had missed having her in their lives. They were thrilled when she found them. Juliette didn’t just gain a relationship with her sisters she gained a larger extended family who welcomed her into their lives. (I wish that I had read the sister’s stories before this as they both have interesting back-stories)
I liked the relationships that Juliette developed over the course of the book and that this was more than a straight-forward romance.
I liked that Juliette took the opportunities to do new things and get to know herself while experiencing a life away from her oppressive father.
I did find the ending a little predictable and that is why Freed did not get a higher rating from me, however it was still an enjoyable, well written, relatively quick read.
Just to put this rating into perspective I enjoyed this enough to wish that I had read the previous books in this series and I do look forward to reading Dream. I really like the characters and how developed they are so I would still recommend this book.
Thanks to Carly Phillips and Social Butterfly PR for granting me an ARC copy of Freed. This is my honest review.
Meet Carly Phillips:
Carly Phillips is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.
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