Review: Breaking Bonds (The Walker Boys #2) by Ari McKay

From the frying pan into the fire.

After a critic’s review attacks both Chef Liam Walker’s culinary skills and his personal life, Liam can no longer take the heat of the cutthroat New York City restaurant scene. He needs to get out of the kitchen—at least long enough to cool down and regroup.

At the Overlook Resort in North Carolina, Liam meets owner Carter Galloway. Carter has a passion for the hospitality business to rival Liam’s own, and it’s not hard to see where their shared interests—and attraction—could lead. But Carter has no interest in a fling, and Liam has no intention of walking away from the career he fought so hard for. If they want a taste of happiness together, they’ll have to find the courage to break the bonds threatening to pull them apart.

THIS! This book right here is what the Dreamspun line is all about. This has it all and I am beginning to think that Ari McKay and I have a fantastic chemistry because I cannot get enough of their writing and the romance they bring to me.  YES, to me because this book was made just for me!
Goodness. I love a slow burn romance and when you have a line like Dreamspun that produces instalove  like Starbucks does coffee via drive-thru windows, it’s so refreshing to get the slow burn that can drive you crazy. Seriously, it was done so well that I just wanted to lock these boys in a closet or a broken walk-in freezer and not let them out until someone got off.
And yet… I wouldn’t have this story any other way than how I got it. It was, well? Perfect.
Liam Walker has spent the last 10 years of his life doing what he loves, cooking and becoming a chef to rock the culinary world that is New York City. With his mentor Marco Cabrisi at the helm of his career, Liam can’t lose but when a critic gets wind of Liam’s family and background, a negative review sets Liam off. His public encounter with the critic earns him a nickname he doesn’t like nor want and Marco encourages Liam to take some time off to get his head straight. A simple game of anywhere is better than here, leads Liam to the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and the “rustic with heart” lodgings at the Overlook Resort.
Oh Liam. How I adore your gruff and persnickety manor when you head to the resorts restaurant and find your food lacking. The New York attitude you’ve acquired shows and yet when you demand an audience with whomever is in charge of letting the disgrace that was served to your table out of the kitchen, we see you thaw. Even if it’s just a bit.
The meet cute between Carter and Liam was perfect. You have Liam being an ass about food being and Carter, the owner of the Overlook acknowledging that he is in over his head with his current chef who has amazing potential to become a kickass chef but he can’t afford any better. Liam, ultimately reaches down into his soul that resides with the Walker family in Texas, offers to help Carter in the kitchen while he is there on vacation. Not the exact idea he had of relaxing and yet, this vacation was supposed to help Liam get his head straight and where else would he do that, but the place he loves… a kitchen.
From the first meet Liam and Carter have chemistry. It’s so good and gooey that I ate it up. When they men start to work together and hint around the topic of a fling, we know that they are both extremely interested in the other and while Liam is on board with simply enjoying one another as much as they can while he is there, Carter doesn’t do flings.  He doesn’t do flings and we soon find out why and it all comes back to family and Carter has shit for it. Ugh. I don’t like his parents, I don’t like the guilt they have tossed on him about this choice of career and life. They suck. I’ll just leave it at that.
BUT, shitty family aside, Carter is a lovely man who is driven to conquer his dream of owning a successful resort. You can feel how much passion he has for the Overlook from how he remodeled yet did not modernize the rustic feel of the resort. You know how much he needs to succeed but his desire for all of it, mountains and balcony views included is what makes Carter such a wonderful character. His perchance for flirting with Liam is another one of his fine attributes but his follow through leaves me wanting and the wanting is not bad.
Through the weeks of Liam’s vacation at the Overlook, we see a new side of him the real side of the chef who loves cooking. As Liam takes on the basic training of the current chef – a young man named Rocky – Liam remembers and rekindles his love for culinary creations. The draw of Carter certainly helps along the way but Liam remains true to his word in every way including the one that will pull him far from Carter.
Oh yeah. This is not only a slow burn romance but it’s one that has this quiet appeal to it. While the UST is palatable, the way both men handle the attraction is so damn respectful and so damn romantic I couldn’t help but feel it. Not just reading the words but when we get to the pivotal scenes, the ones that really matter like the first kiss… goose bumps, a flushed face and all the sighs happened. There was even a moment that made me tear up between Carter and Liam and I was NOT expecting that in a book from a series known for fluff. This book turned up the Dreamspun notch a few levels with its emotional range and I can’t get enough.
Though the men stay true to their word of not having a fling, emotions turn into true feelings and when Liam has to honor obligations it becomes so damn bittersweet. It’s hard to follow your heart when your head butts in with reasons but if bonds are meant to be broken, there is nothing you can do but break them and run to the one that can heal your heart and head. In oh so many ways.
Okay. I’ll stop talking now though I have highlights and notes I haven’t even touched on. I loved Carter and Liam. I loved Carter. I loved Liam. I loved watching Liam teach Rocky and Liam dealing with Marco and Carter dealing with his dad. I adored how the men worked together to find a new blended dream of their own and dammit, I want to see that picture Liam has as his background. This book was so good, so romantic and so everything that I could go on forever but reading a rambling redheads’ review is now where I want you to be. I want you to read this book.
Breaking Bonds is a fantastic addition to the Dreamspun Desire series as well as the second book with one of the Walker boys. Beau is mentioned in this though we don’t get to see him but I would love more from the family because their support is always a welcomed bonus.

Don't miss the Breaking Bonds blog tour stop HERE!


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for the beautiful review! <3 We're both really glad you enjoyed the book, and, more than that, you GOT IT -- all the things we were trying to put in, you definitely picked up on the nuances and that just made us squeal with delight! Thank you!!!!

  2. I can see from you "review/rambling" how much you luurrveeeed this one, Sara *lol*. I am still on early stage of the book though but I did like their first meet-cute :)