Review: “Control Artist” by Carrie Aarons

Series: Callahan Family, #4

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: June 18th, 2021

Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available on KU)

Dahlia Akana has no idea where she’s going in life.

All she’s ever wanted to do is travel, and her inner circle pressuring her to figure out her purpose only makes her wanderlust grow stronger. But she’s comfortable being a nanny to her nieces in the small Pennsylvania town where her sister lives. Though she’s far overstayed her desired timeline, it’s a place filled with friends and familiarity while she plots her next move.

Until she meets the devastatingly gorgeous, obnoxious rookie who is slated to be the next superstar on the town’s top tier baseball team. He’s everything she doesn’t want, but can’t seem to stay away from. As they spend more time together, she discovers that he might just be the anchor she’s always looked for.

When secrets, lies, and a humiliating public scandal rock their world, will she be able to stay with him? Fight for him? Or will her age-old tactic of fleeing erase any shot at a happily ever after?

Garrett Chester has always known exactly what he wants.

To be the best pitcher in the history of the major leagues. And luckily, with more talent in his pinky than other people have in their entire body, he’s well on his way. It’s his attitude that leaves something to be desired. Cocky, reckless and soaking up his newfound fame, the rookie attracts the attention of the tabloid press.

When he meets the feisty woman just as beautiful as the flower she’s named after, she gives him a refreshing reality check. With each passing day, not only does he fall harder, but she makes him want to be a better man.

Except the past that haunts him inevitably catches up, and ends up taking her down with him. Alone, exposed and cast out, it’s a reminder of the childhood trauma that has always plagued him. Can he put the rumors to rest, piece together a career in shambles, and be the hero she needs?

 

Carrie Aarons has done it again! And not only is Control Artist a great read, it’s also the hottest in the Callahan Family series. Dahlia Akana and Garrett Chester are seriously so good together and the sexual tension, the steam…it’s all just so hot. But this also makes me sad, because we’re nearing the end of this series and I’m not ready to let them go!

“I’d like to color you all types of things, Dahlia Akana.”

Anyway…Dahlia is the sister of Hannah (who we met in Stealing Home) and she’s been taking it a little easier in life. As someone who spends a lot of time travelling and exploring the world, Dahlia doesn’t want to set down roots. She’s been in Packton helping her sister with her kids after the mess of her first marriage and now with her settling into her new life. Dahlia is a little directionless and she’s starting to feel the pinch of not having a job or something to do. Garrett Chester is the hotshot rookie for the Pistons and he’s the kind of trouble that nobody wants in their personal lives. He’s got a great arm and he was the most sought after rookie, but he’s got a tendency to leave a mess wherever he goes. And now, the mess is catching up with him and being splashed across headlines, upsetting the balance of his life. 

And when Dahlia and Garrett cross paths over and over again, it becomes clear that maybe all the things they’re running from has been leading them to each other. I loved these two so much. I got so involved in their relationship that I kept forgetting that other members of this family and book series existed. Yes, they’re addictive because they’re hot, but the characters are also so incredible. 

“There is a calmness, a sureness, that settles over me when it’s just us in the dark, using our kisses and caresses as words.”

Dahlia is an independent woman and she’s damn proud of the life she’s been able to give herself and the things she’s been able to achieve over the years. Dahlia doesn’t want handouts and if she wants something, she’ll go out and get it. She’s not the kind of woman who will just sit back and expect things to fall into her lap. Dahlia is also very confident and comfortable in her skin, she’s handled all kinds of people, but she honestly doesn’t give a hoot what people think about her, because she loves herself and trusts herself more than anyone else.

And of course, Garrett is the ultimate playboy. He’s just so much fun! With a sexy Texas twang and a personality to match, Garrett likes the attention he gets everywhere he goes. While he’s worked his butt off to get to where he is, Garrett is also the kind of person who is going to sit back and relax now. He came from nothing and he worked his way to where he is now, so he’s happy to sit back and throw everything else out the window. Everything but his career. He’s not ashamed of his lifestyle, because he’s knee deep in it and he enjoys all the women and the money and the fame. But under all of that, Garrett knows that all of the stuff he’s done is going to catch up to him.

“With the way this tongue is filthily commanding mine, I can feel an orgasm building. From just a kiss.”

Their sexual tension and mutual attraction sets the pages on fire. They want each other, but Dahlia’s not making it easy for Garrett. While she’s fine with casual sex and one night stands, Dahlia’s not looking to let Garrett into her pants. Well, not at first. But when they first come together and fall into bed, it’s so hot. I’ve read a lot of Carrie Aarons books at this point and I’m not kidding when I say this might be the hottest one of the lot. And it’s just about the sex scenes, it’s all of the sexual tension and the chemistry these two have. They’re like magnets being pulled together constantly and when they finally crash into each other, it’s explosive! And despite their decision to keep it just sexual, feelings do start to creep in. I really enjoyed watching them go through the motions and realising that they wanted more from each other. 

They had some of my favourite conversations too. Obviously they went into things with the intention of it just being sexual, so when things suddenly change that drastically, obviously there’s a balance to right. They get really passionate and loud about their feelings and the importance of the relationship, but they also come together and figure it out. It’s clear that they didn’t expect each other, but now that they’re in that place, they’re making the most of it. There were multiple moments when I wanted to squish them both together so they’d stop torturing me! 

Another thing that I really enjoyed was seeing all the characters from the past books make an appearance. While Hayes came in and upset the balance a little, I was so excited to see Sinclair. He’s friends with Garrett was everything and like in his own book, Sinclair is the voice of reason. I loved just how understanding and generous Sinclair is with his time. He’s been on the wrong end of everything and when Garrett’s life starts to spin out of control, Sinclair is there to provide the right kind of insight that helps him move forward. And that was so special and amazing to me.

After seeing so much of Garrett and Dahlia through the other stories, I love how their story worked so nicely. While Dahlia is a Callahan through marriage only, I liked that she still got to tell her story. I’m also really excited about the final book in the series, because from everything Carrie has shared so far, it sounds like it’s going to be amazing!

Thanks to Carrie Aarons for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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