I tend to get a bit bitchy defensive in regards to my Harlequin reading. Oh, I’m used to dealing with the slings and arrows of the non-romance reading set. What I tend to resent is when I have to justify my Harlequin love to other romance readers. Carrie Alexander’s latest SuperRomance is just the kind of book I love to throw out at these non-believers. No babies (secret or otherwise) and no tycoons (Greek or otherwise). Just two healthy adults who fall in love after being thrown together by circumstance. And no, that’s not boring.
Alice Potter is finally getting off tiny Osprey Island, off the coast of Maine. Having spent the last several years caring for her ill mother, Alice is having herself an adventure. Her mother left her money in her will with explicit instructions that Alice go on vacation. Hoping to stretch that money into several trips, Alice decides to go the home-swap vacation route. While a police officer is staying in her cottage on the island (see last year’s Nobody’s Hero), Alice will be staying in his parents’ condo at a swank Arizona resort.
When she arrives it’s not quite what she was expecting. She seems to be the only person under the age of 70 and it’s the off-season. Arizona in July. The heat is so stifling it’s amazing she doesn’t melt the moment she steps off the plane. But she’s determined to make the most of it, with everything from horseback riding, to hiking, to boating. What she does not expect is to catch the eye of the resort’s manager, Kyle Jarreau.
Kyle is all work and no play. This is a particularly stressful time for him since the corporate big-wigs are due in a couple of weeks to have the final say on a big promotion he’s been gunning for. He’s got the resort operating like a well-oiled machine, and he’s not above making tough decisions. Oh, like firing his own kid sister when she breaks company policy. One of those policies? No fraternizing with the guests. He’s never been a “rules are made to be broken” kind of person. Not with the way he was raised. But the moment he sees Alice and spends time with her, he finds himself tap-dancing around a lot of rules.
This story is a bit of a slow starter, but it’s a real emotional charmer once it gets moving. Alice is just a flat-out nice person. You want to be friends with someone like Alice. A person who will always have a shoulder for you to cry on or help you out of a jam. This vacation is her chance to be someone she’s not. To break out of her rut. To not be “ordinary” Alice, but to be “fun, up for anything” Alice.
Kyle is ambitious to a fault, and when the reader gets to know his family, it’s easy to understand why he’s such a stick-in-the-mud. He wants better for himself, but it’s come at a high cost. His first meeting with Alice was an impulsive move on his part, and once he’s had a taste, he can’t help but go back for more. However it’s a sticky situation. Because as much as he is beginning to care for her, he has his job and future to think of. It makes for one emotionally charged ending.
I really liked this story an awful lot. I adored Alice’s sense of sweetness and adventure. I liked that while she had been living a sheltered life for the last several years, she wasn’t dead below the waist and she wasn’t naive. Kyle is suitably handsome and charming, but he does have to work to prove to the reader that he deserves Alice. He stumbles more than once, but redeems himself amiably at the end. It’s a sweet, sigh-worthy story that hits all the right notes, and I couldn’t get enough.
A summer holiday in the desert—what had she been thinking? Extreme heat? Scorpions? Senior citizens? Check.
This home-swap vacation had seemed like such a great idea at the time…. Huh. Yet Alice Potter might actually get the romantic adventure she’s only ever dreamed about, as resort manager Kyle Jarreau sends her adrenaline into overdrive. Sadly, the resort frowns on socializing with guests, and Kyle has always been a stickler for rules…until now. Seems Alice can be quite tempting when she puts her mind to it. But can they keep their romance a secret or will their Arizona fling burn them both?
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: