Review: No One's Angel by Kelly Walker

Title: No One's Angel
Author: Kelly Walker
Published: September 6th 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided via Netgalley for honest review
Rating: 3/5

Tess used to spend more hours than she'd care to admit playing her favorite computer game, using the nickname Angel. She could pretend her life was different, and she could pretend Arion was just a friend. But a girl needs more to keep her warm at night than pixels, and she traded her virtual heaven for a real-life hell. Now she's on the run from a past she won't talk about, and the only place she has to go is the doorstep of the friend she's never actually met.

When Angel disappeared from their nightly games, it nearly destroyed Arion. He threw himself into work and women, but he can't help knowing the one-night stands will never compare to the angel who haunts his dreams. At first, when she shows up soaking wet and scared-shitless on his doorstep, he thinks his prayers have been answered.

But the more Arion tries to keep Angel close, the more her fear drives her away. If they are ever going to have a chance for a future, they'll first have to deal with the past that hasn't forgotten her any more than she's forgotten it--and Arion will have to learn how to let her go.

The story:
I really loved the unique storyline that this book takes. It opens with Angel/Tess suddenly appearing on the doorstep of the only person she feels she can trust - Arion, her online gamer friend. After not having spoken for the past year he both surprised & happy to see her, but it's clear that she hiding from something or someone and Arion wants to be the one to save her. We know that she's running away from her abusive boyfriend, but there is more to story that is revealed throughout the book. 

The is quite slow paced and it does take some time before the 'big reveals' occur. However when they do the story picks up immensely. The suspense element was probably the strongest part of this book, with the climax of the story taking on an intense edge of your seat feeling.

The characters:
Tess, although she goes by her gamer name Angel, is a very damaged character. She doesn't trust anyone, but despite this she wants her life to change and stop running from the things she scared of. I love that we get to see how much Angel grows over the course of the book, and I felt that she was a much stronger person by then end. 

At the beginning I really liked Axel or Arion (his gamer name). For the most part he was the perfect guy - hardworking, dedicated to his employees & his family and very protective of Angel. However as the story progressed I felt he was a little too possessive and that bothered me. After everything that Angel has been through she needed someone patient & understanding. Arion's possessive behaviour also brought out his violent streak. And although his violence was never directed at Angel, he did beat up a guy in front of her, and has thoughts like:

"I honestly don’t think I would’ve shed a tear had I killed the guy"

It would only take one moment where he looses control of his anger to hurt her. Later, when Angel clearly tells him she needs space from him he 'lets her go', but ends up following her and watching from his car. Despite the fact that this is to protect her some his actions just didn't sit well me.

The romance:
The romance in this story was different, because it was already established through their online gaming relationship. And although they've never met before in real life they feel a strong connection towards each other. Despite this connection, I felt the romance was a little underdeveloped, because we don't actually see any of their gamer romance. Perhaps a prologue or flash backs could have helped convince me of the depth of their relationship. Once the story progressed I did start to see their connection develop, but it still felt fast because we haven't seen any of their earlier interactions.

The Writing:
I really enjoyed the unique element to this story - online gaming relationships. And while some consider them 'strange', they do happen. I think the author did a great job of showing both sides to this story, with Arion's friends thinking their relationship was weird, while Angel & Arion both show that it is possible. I also felt the suspense aspect of the story was well written too. The climax of the story was very effective and I was completely drawn into the story.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this book - there were certainly elements that I felt could have been improved, however the climax of the story was very strong and had me completely engaged. I also love that it has a non-cliffhanger HEA ending. Overall I did enjoy reading this one, and the unique storyline does make it worth a read.

Sexuality: medium / sex scenes (not overly descriptive)
Violence: medium / domestic violence & bashing
Language: medium / some f words
Drugs & alcohol: medium-strong / a character gets drunk, drink spiking

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