Beauty is more than skin-deep…
Tattoo artist Raven Smith is blunt and hard, broken and jaded, dark and beautiful. While she doesn’t hide her painful past, she does keep a wall around her heart. She’s free sexually—but no one gets to the real Raven beneath the prickly exterior.
With a voice like smoke, Jonah Warner is a smooth-talking, highly successful attorney, with a body that should never be hidden by a suit. He’s the kind of man who never takes no for an answer and always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Raven. She’s a survivor, and he finds that incredibly alluring.
Jonah gets under her skin in a way Raven has never experienced. He makes her break all her rules—including her no-monogamy rule.
But when a figure from Raven’s past shows up at the tattoo parlor and drops a bomb into her life, their relationship will face the ultimate challenge…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
MinnChica: I’ve been a long time fan of Lauren Dane, and while I’ve had some mixed feelings about her books in the past, she always manages to rope me in with her characters enough that I keep crawling back for more! Ever since Raven first walked onto the scene in the Brown Siblings books, I’ve been anxious to hear her backstory. She is prickly, bitchy, and yet soft and tender at times. I never know what to expect from her, and was so glad to finally get to see so much more of her and her past. That being said, I’m really frustrated with a few aspects of this book, mainly the light BDSM aspect to their relationship and Raven’s reaction to it. To me, it just didn’t feel like something Raven would do.
E: Like MinnChica I have been a fan of Dane’s writing for several years. Ever since I met Raven I have wondered about her story and who it would take to actually get under her skin. I enjoyed seeing her gradually soften around the influence of the young ones and found it fascinating that they could seem to see or feel something that most of the adults could never see. I enjoyed this book and while I thought that Jonah would have driven me up the wall I enjoyed seeing his impact on Raven. He pushed, coddled, and in short had enough mental strength to keep her from dictating everything yet at the same time he managed not to overwhelm her personality. Unlike MinnChica, I enjoyed the lighter BDSM aspects because I thought anything heavier in this window of their relationship would have negated Raven’s rather blunt independence. I have a feeling that given some of what Jonah hinted in his mind that as time goes on that aspect will deepen.
MinnChica: I really liked Jonah. I thought he was exactly the kind of hero that Raven needed, to an extent. The fact that he never let him push her away, that he kept pushing her right back, was exactly what she needed in order to open herself up to someone. However, I felt that the D/s aspects were a little out of line with how I perceived Raven’s character. Kinky sex? Of course, it’s Raven. However, the submission from her just wasn’t the way I expected or wanted her character to react. I struggled with that aspect of the story, and while I really liked her and Jonah together, their D/s relationship left a lot to be desired, for me.
E: I had more mixed feelings about Jonah until about halfway through. Then I really fell for him. When he demonstrated that he knew when to push, when to just be there, and how to pay attention to Raven’s little emotional cues. I think I found Raven’s backstory and how she and Jonah managed to connect emotionally so intense that I preferred the subtles of their D/s relationship. I also enjoyed how Jonah’s family had a “lets get this straight” meeting. The way his family and their particular dynamic was both interwoven and a contrast to the Brown family and friends dynamic struck me as very telling. Raven in some ways was a wonderful bridge between the two because she could be extremely caring and tender while blunt and ruthless enough to pick sides and make a difference in a situation she thought was wrong.
MinnChica: I adored Jonah’s family. Oh, his mother is a total nut case, but I loved her. And yes, the differences between his family and the Brown clan is like night and day. But still, they were so loving and affectionate, all while being somewhat calculated and manipulative. I loved when Raven put Jonah’s grandmother in her place, and in the process stood up for Jonah’s mother, making herself a lifelong ally. I thought it was wonderful to see how well Raven fit in with her no nonsense attitude. One of Dane’s specialities is creating wonderful secondary characters that really make the story that much more engaging!
E: Yes, the secondary characters and their inclusion are always amazing to read. I think in this case it was super special because this was the last of Dane’s currently planned books focused around the core Brown siblings. I absolutely loved seeing the changes over time as the adults settled into their relationships and as the children both grew older and multiplied. I also really enjoyed watching Jonah deal with some elements of jealousy when he saw how close and comfortable Raven was with a certain Brown. I thought it was great that he had to do some work to fit in because it meant that regardless of Raven’s previous behavior, she was loved by the Brown clan.
MinnChica: All in all I liked a lot of aspects of this story, but it wasn’t my favorite within the Brown Siblings series. I was so excited to get Raven’s backstory, and to see just what she had to endure to make her the woman she is today. I love her for what she had to go. Likewise, I loved getting to know Jonah and his family. I hope we get to see more of them in the future. However, I had some problems with the BDSM aspect of their romance, and wished it would have played out a little differently.
I give Drawn Together a C+
E: Dane provided another enjoyable story with Drawn Together. I found myself much more sympathetic and understanding of Raven as I continued to read. In some places my heart broke for the child she had been and the adult she became, yet she always valued the same core things. As I said earlier Jonah took some work before I was a complete fan of him as the hero, but he managed to win me over. I enjoyed not just their dynamic but the combination of the Brown and Warner groups. I also thought Dane did a wonderful job including and tying up some threads from previous stories which added an amazing depth.
I give Drawn Together a B