**** Growing Up and Out                                Review by Rox Burkey

Author Marie Drake creates a second volume in the Locked Heat Series which focuses on Jordon and Kimberly as young adults. Jordon and Kimberly have recently moved to their own apartments, in the same building, as they join the grown-up world of independent choices.

The overarching focus is a search for unreserved love and how to commit to that sort of relationship. Jordon wants to advance his career and to win Kimberly’s heart though he is unwilling to express his feelings. Kimberly’s youth twisted her view of sex and relationships which contributes a dark edge to the story.

Sam and Kimberly are neighbors who share secrets as young single women. Sam drives their friendship into a direction of caring and sharing. Sam, a model, wants honest, open relationships. She likes Mark yet withholds information from him to take it to the next step. When Kimberly decides she wants Mark, she risks the loyal friendship from Sam with her pursuit. This section is where I found myself relating to Sam and her plight.

   A friendly woman, Sam looked into her eyes and smiled. “I’m glad to meet you, and it looks like you’ll have quite a turn out for your party,”

    Sam answered. “Hi, Kimberly; I didn’t know you’d be here.”

   “It’s a Green City Committee fundraiser; I’m helping Sherry,” Kimberly said.

   “Kimberly is worth her weight in gold; things always run better when she organizes them,” Charles said.

   “Charles didn’t mention it being a fundraiser; what is the Green City Committee?” Sam asked.

  “Excuse us, ladies. While you explain your cause to Sam, I’m going to introduce Mark to the Paytels,” Charles told them.

   “The Green City Committee wants to locate abandoned buildings and parking lots that we can renovate into parks, playgrounds, or gardens. We want to raise money to make these projects a reality, to plant more trees, and make the areas more family-friendly.”

  “That’s a wonderful idea; there’s a playground in Ash Park, not far from my building, but it grows crowded because it’s the only one for many blocks,” Sam said.

   “So, have you discussed children?”

   “You mean with Mark?” Sam blushed. “We’re friends, taking it slow.”

   “You can’t have too many friends,” Kimberly said.

   “Don’t be ridiculous; when you find the right man, you can have friendship and so much more; like Charles and me,” Sherry said.

Author Drake delivers on this complex theme with well thought out characters and compelling plot. Each character faces differing choices as they move ahead in their life journey. Learning how to interact with others and value good relationships is challenging.

I enjoyed reading this as my first Author Drake book and have tagged book one to learn more about Jordon and Kimberly’s teenage years. I recommend this coming-of-age story for young adults who like stories of personal growth and life experiences. It is a story that makes one think while reflecting on the value of what they have today in friendships versus acquaintances.

About the author

Award-winning author, Marie Drake lives in a small town near Lake Ontario with her husband, four young adults, and four rescue pups. With many years of experience in the Foster Care community and advocating for other victims and survivors, she specializes in realistic and psychological fiction depicting the lives of abuse sufferers, their obstacles, their triumphs, and their downfalls.

Follow Marie

Twitter @MarieDrake72

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MarieDrake/

You can reach Marie at MarieDrake.author@gmail.com


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