ARC Review: Defiant Heart by Brighton Walsh

Special thanks to Wildfire Marketing Solutions and Brighton Walsh for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Defiant Heart (Starlight Cove #1)
Publication Date: 14 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

(3.75 pandas)

I’ve slapped my cuffs on Luna Lancaster too many times to count and not a single one was for fun.

As the sheriff of Starlight Cove, I shouldn’t crave her, but I do. She’s chaos, mayhem, and sunshine wrapped up in too-tight yoga pants. The lawbreaker might have the town enamored with her free spirit, but she’s a thorn in my side, even if she is the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen.

I want her out of my town and out of my head.

Trouble is, she’s made it perfectly clear she’s not going anywhere. And her spree of minor infractions—who runs a yoga class without a license?—is hitting dangerously close to home. Her latest protest has her chained to a tree on the boundary of my family’s resort. The last thing we need is bad press ruining the short tourism season when the resort is already one bad month away from bankruptcy.

I’ll do whatever it takes to save Starlight Cove. Even if that means handcuffing Luna to my bed.


TL;DR: Defiant Heart was a fun start to an exciting new series by Walsh! I loved the small-town setting next to the ocean, the sibling relationships, and the quirky residents. But I really enjoyed the enemies-to-lovers/hate-to-love/opposites-attract romance that grows between Brady and Luna. Their chemistry was off-the-charts and Walsh develops the tension between them so well! I do wish that we got a little bit more depth from their character development but overall, this was a fun and engaging read that I sped through overnight!

Ever since discovering Walsh’s Havenbrook series earlier this year, I’ve become a big fan of her small-town romances. I love her main characters, small-town charm, quirky side characters and the steamy yet heartfelt and absolutely swoony romances! I thought Defiant Heart was a fun start to an exciting new series set in small-town Starlight Cove. 😍

I really enjoyed the enemies-to-lovers/grumpy-sunshine/opposites attract vibe between Brady and Luna and honestly, their chemistry was wildly explosive! I loved the charm of the small-town sheriff falling for the yogi activist rulebreaker who he couldn’t stop arresting. 😂 There were moments that I questioned how they’d actually be together considering how opposite they were but I thought Walsh handled the resolution of this conflict well. Brady is the Very Serious™️ small-town sheriff who has always prioritised his family and the residents of his beloved Starlight Cove. He has no time for relationships, hook-ups, or any kind of fun so when Luna steps into his town, he’s thrown completely off-kilter by the feelings she stirs in him. He and his siblings have suffered a lot of loss in their lives and the lack of control he felt then stoked his need to feel in control now. Luna was very much the opposite of Brady in every respect and basically goes through life without a plan. She’s spiritual and is the whole “yogi-vegetarian-save-the-planet” package who lives out of a camper van after selling her house on a whim. She had really great energy and it was fun to read from her perspective!

I loved the play on how opposite they were and it made for some pretty funny moments but it also allowed for the sexual tension to really grow and oof—the build-up of the tension was absolutely delicious! 🔥 Brady is one of the #HeroesWhoEat 👀 so if the gruff simp is something you enjoy reading in your romances, you’ll definitely have a lot of fun with their steamy moments. Other than those two, I really enjoyed meeting his siblings and learning about their different roles in town. I love a small-town romance with siblings and it’s clear that they have a really close relationship with each other. I can’t wait to eventually get all their stories and I’m already super excited for Beck’s next!

Although the book is just over 300 pages, I felt that it was a little too short and because of that, I felt like the character development we got was a little surface level and it felt like the change in their attitude toward each other was sudden. Their chemistry was undeniable but it would’ve been nice to see them spend more time and get to know each other better before the end came around. I feel like if we’d gotten that little bit of depth, this would’ve been a much stronger and even more enjoyable romance for me!

USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Brighton Walsh spent a decade as a professional photographer before taking her storytelling in a different direction and reconnecting with her first love—writing. She likes her books how she likes her tea—steamy and satisfying—and adores strong-willed heroines and the protective heroes who fall head over heels for them. Brighton lives in the Midwest with her real life hero of a husband, her two kids—one who’s already taller than her and one who’s catching up too fast—and her dog who thinks she’s a queen. Her boy-filled house is the setting for dirty socks galore, frequent dance parties (okay, so it’s mostly her, by herself, while her children look on in horror), and more laughter than she thought possible.

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Happy Book Birthday to Defiant Heart!
Are you excited to read this book too or are you now gonna add it to your TBR?

16 thoughts on “ARC Review: Defiant Heart by Brighton Walsh

  1. I love Brighton as you know but I’ve been hesitant to pick up my copy of this one because he’s a cop and cops are very unappealing to me in romance these days given their real life behavior. I do love the grumpy sunshine trope though and I have no doubt the chemistry is hot. I’m sorry you weren’t entirely convinced by the character development though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point about the cop issue and I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even think about it! Honestly, save for perhaps the beginning and the constant talk about his role as sheriff, he doesn’t do much in the way of “cop activity”! 😅 It had the signature Walsh chemistry and small-town charm but I do wish the characters had been given more depth. I’m still keen to read more though!


    • It’s a good fun and pretty easy read. It’s got some great banter and cute moments and the steamy tension was delightful so I’d definitely still recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read! But I’d defo recommend her Havenbrook series more if you want a small town romance with stronger character development! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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