Here come the (Barefoot Bay) brides! They’re experts at planning dreamy “I do’s” but haven’t found their own happily ever after...yet. Destination wedding consultant Willow Ambrose has fought a battle with the scale for much of her life, but she has finally won the war. She hasn’t just cut calories - she’s cut all ties to her past, too, and successfully carved out a new body and a new life. But when she comes face to face with someone who left an indelible mark on her heart years before, all that threatens to crumble.
Navy SEAL Nick Hershey is on medical leave, doing a friend a favor as a stand-in "man of honor" at a beach wedding. He might not be that interested in the nuptials, but the wedding planner catches his eye the minute they meet. When he realizes Willow is a girl he knew in college - and a girl he unintentionally hurt to the core - he knows he has some making up to do. Willow has learned how to beat every temptation...but Nick’s sweet-as-candy kisses just might be the one thing she can’t resist. However, the closer they get, the more their history threatens to tear them apart. Nick and Willow learn the hard way that they can’t change the past, but does that mean they won’t have a future?
©2014 South Street Publishing, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.
"writer - reader"
This was a great listen. Fun. Upbeat with an appropriate amount of sad background. I'll listen to this one several times.
The story was ok. The performance was enthusiastic but all the characters sounded the same. There were times when I didn't know who was talking. If you like soft slow moving stories then this the one for you. No tear-jerking laugh out loud moments.
I was not sure about this book in the first few chapters. The H rejected the very obese h in college when she asked him to take her virginity. There was no old romance here or unrequited feelings on his part. She fancied him, he liked her but was more interested in the connection to her famous rockstar father. So to start with, I was not too keen on the H. As a result of this rejection, among other things, the h was so uptight about her obesity that she was still a virgin at 29. But now the weight has gone, she is a successful and beautiful wedding planner, and she meets up again with the H who is writing a book while on military leave, having also been roped in help arrange a wedding.
I normally don’t like the “older virgin” storyline. If there is no religious or moral reason, I find it unrealistic that an attractive, intelligent woman is almost 30 and still a virgin. But when we find that our h’s obesity problems lasted well into her mid 20s, with constant emotional battering from her demanding, perfectionist, super model mother, it starts to become more understandable. She has managed to break the apron strings and take control of her life – and weight – over the past three years but still those feelings of insecurity run deep. Once the attraction between the H and h is established she reveals her virginity and asks him (again) to be her “first”. After the initial shock he decides to approach the whole thing like a military operation. Sounds weird but what it leads to is the most drawn out, erotic (and funny) foreplay I have read in a long time. She just wants to get it over with, he wants to take things slow and make it wonderful for her.
I loved the banter between the two leading characters. It could swing from sexy and funny to serious and emotional all in one page and while both have issues to deal with, they are both helping each other deal. I like this sort of mutual “back scratching” because dealing with the bad stuff is what changes a flirtation into a lasting romance.
Meanwhile, h’s estranged mother, who has had something of an epiphany and realised the damage she did to her daughter’s emotional well-being, is now trying to manipulate her way back into her daughter’s life. H finds out the plan and is somehow persuaded to go along with the deception. The resulting inevitable fallout leading to the happy ending is emotional and understandable. The closing scenes do read a little like a “made for the movies” sort of finish but fortunately the light touches of humour manage to stop it getting too overly sentimental.
All in all, this is a well written, satisfying romance, between two likeable characters, along with a good supporting cast.
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