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Publisher's Summary

Take one former SEAL with a healthy dose of regret....

Nick St. Cloud is living with shame from the one time he let his lust override his sense of honor. He’s haunted by the memory of when he made love to his best friend’s 18-year-old son. The tragic accident that happened that same night has only compounded his guilt. A decade later, he’s doing his best to be there for Charlie’s son, but anything more than that just wouldn’t be right...would it?

Plus, the younger guy who he’s tried to forget....

It’s been 10 years. Ten long years. Does Shaw Michaelson feel bad about having seduced his dad’s best friend? Umm, maybe? Although he could’ve done things differently, Shaw can’t find it within himself to be sorry for the hottest night of his life with the one man he’s never been able to forget. The man he’s patterned every subsequent relationship after...yeah, Shaw totally has a type.

Equals a pair of men who deserve a second chance at a first time.

The two men are living in an uneasy peace within the same small town and circle of friends, being careful not to let the other get close enough to open old wounds. All their walls fall when a stalker begins terrorizing Shaw, sending him running to the one man he knows will keep him safe.

©2019 Susan Hawke (P)2019 Susan Hawke

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anne-Marie Mogensen
  • 2019-04-18

Enjoyable

I very much enjoy reading this series and Michael Pauley does an excellent job with narrating.
A book that I will listen to again.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Samantha Cato
  • 2019-04-10

Really enjoying this series!

I think Susan Hawke has done a wonderful job with this series...they continue to build on each other though they are standalones. Nick and Shaw's story is probably my favorite of the bunch! I adore May/December stories and this one was excellent. Michael Pauley did a great job narrating this one!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bookobessed
  • 2019-04-10

Perfect ending for Shaw and Nick

Nick feels guilty over his feelings towards Shaw, the son of his best friend. As these two keep circling each other for years, it would seem that nothing will force them together. Then, Nick finds out Shaw is getting stalked and all bets are off. As they are forced to confront their past and their feelings, these two men realize that they are truly perfect for each other. As the stalker gets closer, they must work together to free Shaw from the stalker.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • DPiazzi
  • 2019-04-09

Love this series.

So there seem to be a lot of best friend's dad books in the market and while I enjoy those, I wanted to see the complicated relationship between a son and his dad's best friend. I feel like it might be more of a risk. For the older character, how would his best friend feel knowing that he had a relationship with his kid? How does it resolve? I love emotional and tense situations. And while this book does involve one mc seducing his parent's friend into bed one night, the conflict that I wanted to see occur didn't happen. Finding out the same night they slept together that Shaw's parents (and Nick's best friends) died in a crash put a halt to it all and left Nick feeling doubly guilty.

A few years later and all that exists between Shaw and Nick is Nick's protective attitude and a bunch of awkward tension. For some reason, Shaw seems to inspire the protective instinct in the men around him. Nick is just one of the "icky boys" watching over Shaw. Rick is an ex of Shaw's and he does play a fairly large part of this story. He and Nick sort of have a rivalry over Shaw. Rick was looking for a bit more of a submissive in his life than Shaw is capable of, so they didn't last, but he gets involved when Shaw starts getting scary letters and flowers delivered to his shop.

Shaw is a sweet character. He holds a candle for Nick, though part of him resents how easily Nick walked away. I feel like it is hard for him to have Nick in his life in any way, if it's not all the way. Still he maintains a friendly attitude, and he cares about everyone in his life. Nick and Rick are sweet, but it's time to stop listing them together, only one can ever have Shaw's heart. I do appreciate the friendship all three men later have and hope that Rick will get a story of his own. When Nick discovers all that is happening to Shaw, he lets down his walls in order to be close to the younger man to keep him safe. It is a scary time, but slowly trust forms again, and Shaw even gains a little bit of understanding of why Nick closed himself off.

The mystery of the book does get solved, but there are several suspicious characters in this book. I honestly didn't know who the stalker was. I loved the supporting characters in this book, especially Rick. (Did I mention him enough?) I love the other residents of Rockford Bluff. Nick's ex sister-in-law Dana and her daughter Becca are good characters and they help break up the mostly male cast. And as for the narration, Michael Pauley did an excellent job as usual.  I can't wait for more of this series and I definitely recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jen Valencia
  • 2019-04-09

This series just keeps getting better and better

If it were possible for me to give How Not to Break more than five stars I would because the combination of Susan Hawke's writing and Michael Pauley's narration was made for ears like mine. I loved this second-chance romance with a heavy dose of suspense and mystery to it. Inasmuch as I had figured out who was behind the stalking, I wanted to see how everything would be revealed, and goodness, but how I sat up straighter when the story got to that point. That being said, the rest of the tale involving forty-two-year-old former Navy SEAL turned bar owner Nick St. Cloud and twenty-eight-year-old toy store owner Shaw Michaelson was nothing to sneeze at either. Theirs was a happily-ever-after a decade in the making, and I sighed happily by the end of it all. If I had my way, I wish that their prequel story, How Not to Wait, was included in the audiobook, but you can still fully enjoy How Not to Break even without having listened to the prequel. I'm giving this five-plus stars and have my fingers and toes crossed that we've got more audiobooks to look forward to in the Lovestrong series (especially if the next one is about Ranger Rick, hint, hint!). Hawke and Pauley have easily become one of my favorite audiobook tandems. ♥

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • SarahH
  • 2019-04-09

My favourite in the series so far!!

This is such a great series! We first met Nick and Shaw in the novella How Not to Wait and I’ve been hanging out for their story ever since. That book was set 10 years ago when they had one night of passion together but for a number of reasons nothing more came of it. In this book they find each other again and I just loved watching their story unfold. It was such a sweet, sexy, funny slow burn and I loved every minute of it.

As always Michael Pauley’s narration was excellent and I love how he gave Nick and Shaw voices and brought the story to life.

Even though I read the book when it first came out and then listened to the audiobook I still couldn’t stop listening as I was so absorbed in the story and ended up listening to it in one session! It grabbed me and didn’t let go. I love this series and all the characters but this is my favourite book so far!

I received an arc of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Celest F.
  • 2019-04-09

Such a great story

There is a little novella, How Not to Wait, that comes before this story but was only available for a short time. Reading that book first enhances this story but this can definitely be enjoyed without it.

In this story, Shaw has been in love with his parent's best friend Nick since he was a teen. After losing his parents, Nick started treating Shaw as a responsibility. When Shaw picks up a stalker, Nick is finally forced to face his feelings for Shaw and decide if he can get past his feelings of responsibility instead.

I really loved this story, probably more than a couple of the others, because despite the tragic history Nick and Shaw have, they are able to work past it and get to their true feelings.

Michael Pauley has done another excellent job and I look forward to his future works as well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Erryn Barratt
  • 2019-04-08

Favorite of the series

Of all the Lovestrong books, I think this was my favourite. Although there are times when I’m just looking for a bit of fluff, there are times when I’m looking for a bit of angst. Add in a good dash of snarky dialogue. With great secondary characters and cameos from the main characters in previous books, this story had everything I could’ve asked for in a good story.

There’s Shaw. He became orphaned ten years ago and that, coupled with making love to his parents’ best friend at the same time, has left him conflicted. He’d seen Nick St. Cloud as a safe bet for someone who’d take care of him while having sex for the first time, but he hadn’t bargained on the morning after regrets Nick would feel. So for ten years Nick has watched from afar, leaving Shaw unsettled and unsatisfied. He’s dated other men and even been serious with one or two of them, but the relationships never amounted to anything because the other men weren’t Nick. The other men couldn’t compare to a compassionate and frankly sexy as hell ex-Navy SEAL.

I loved Shaw. His ineptitude at certain things (cooking) mixed with his aptitude with others (running a business) leant him a sweet disposition that made me want to wrap him up and take care of him. In some ways he’s a mature twenty-eight and in others he’s still naïve in the ways of the world. I understood Nick standing by, ready to step in when things go sideways, but otherwise keeping his hands literally to himself.

The stalking elements of the story were creepy and well done. I felt Shaw’s anguish at having his whole life upended and no longer feeling safe. That Nick was there to save him felt good, but I liked that Shaw insisted on maintaining some autonomy. He was willing to accept help and protection from Nick, but he still kept some agency. I also liked the little glimpses into his life and all the good things he was quietly doing for the community around him. He understands how lucky he is and wants to give back.

I want to take a quick moment to shout out to the secondary characters. I loved how they all rallied around Shaw, especially Becca. I loved her sassy attitude and great friendship with Shaw. I also liked how it was Dana, Nick’s former sister-in-law, who was such a champion of the men getting together.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this book and hope there are still more to come. Ranger Rick deserves his own happy ending, right?

Finally, Michael Pauley. He’s narrated the entire series and has done a brilliant job. He keeps a separate voice for each character and given the sheer volume of hot men, that’s quite a feat. He also has fantastic voices for the female characters, which I always appreciate. Overall, a great listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Trio
  • 2019-04-08

Fantastic Story - Michael Pauley is Wonderful!

Even though I’ve never read any of the preceding books in the Lovestrong series, I didn’t have any trouble enjoying every bit of How Not to Break. Susan Hawke explains all the relationships and fills in all the background information, and it never feels like she’s playing catch-up. The story unfolds naturally and this one stands on its own.

I enjoyed the audio version of How Not to Break which is beautifully narrated by Michael Pauley. We fans of erotic audiobooks already know how amazing Mr. Pauley is when he performs the bedrooms scenes (there’s no one better!) and he gives his all with this one. There’s some fantastic unresolved tension between the main characters, and when these two guys finally get together every nuance of their longing and passion comes through.

Also impressive is how Mr. Pauley handles the extensive variety of characters in this episode of the series. His ability to infuse each of them with a distinct personality brings them all to life for me and makes listening to a story even better than reading it.

One of the reasons this story grabbed my attention is because it’s an age-gap romance. The added twist of the connection between the characters’ families is taboo enough to make it intriguing and I love the way Susan Hawke makes the most of it. Poor Nick, holding on to all that guilt!

Listening to How Not to Break was a true pleasure and I can’t wait to go back now and purchase the rest of the series.

an audiobook copy of How Not to Break was provided to me for the purpose of my review

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • H. Spanarella
  • 2019-04-08

Nick & Shaw’s HEA

This was another fantastic story in the Lovestrong series. There was excitement, a mystery, and a long awaited love in Nick and Shaw’s story. While Nick was Shaw’s first of a lot of things, it took them years to become each other’s last’s. There were mixed feelings on what transpired between the two of them many years before. It took some vivid dreams and time for them to realize how the other may be feeling. There were points I wanted to shake them both and say “just talk about it!!!”, but alas they each found their way. Their long-lost love wasn’t the only excitement happening, Shaw also had a stalker! Nick’s overprotectiveness came out in spades, along with Rick’s, as they tried to keep Shaw safe. Overall their story was a great listen, and I’m completely hooked! I can’t wait to listen to the next book in the series!

As always from this narrator, the narration was fantastic, truly bringing the characters life.