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Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of Deserted Island, Dreamy Ex by Nicola Marsh
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Romance 14 Sep 10

Ever had a relationship just “stop” as opposed to “end?”  The difference, and an important one, is the distinct lack of closure.  Nicola Marsh explores how that can effect a person in her latest, when the heroine finds herself face-to-face with the man who broke her heart eight years ago.  And to think she’s in this pickle thanks to a steamrolling boss.

Kristi Wilde works for an up-and-coming PR firm in Sydney and has her eyes on a big promotion.  Unfortunately, it looks like getting that promotion will involve her filming a documentary with former tennis superstar Jared Malone.  The filmmaker wants to drop them off on a deserted island, alone, for one week, and film what happens.  Kristi can guess what will happen….nothing good.  Jared broke her heart eight years ago when she got too clingy and he chose tennis over her.  But dang, she could really use the prize money from this little nightmare to help her down-and-out sister and adorable niece.  Well, there’s no two ways about it.  She’s off for an island adventure, hoping this documentary won’t morph into a horror movie.  One thing is for sure, she will not succumb to Jared’s charm, wit, and sexiness.  Nope.  No way.  No how.

Yeah, right.

What follows is two characters confronting why their initial relationship failed so miserably and having to resolve those still lingering issues before they can move forward to the happily-ever-after.  Jared ran because Kristi started humming the wedding march.  His past hasn’t exactly endeared him to the institution of marriage, and he saw tennis as the only way to win approval, which he desperately craved, from two narcissistic parents.

Kristi has her head wrapped around what she feels makes a “perfect relationship.”  Her parents were deeply, passionately in love with each other, and she wants nothing less for herself.  However between her past with Jared, two failed engagements, and the mess that is her sister’s life?  Yeah, our girl has plenty of baggage.

This is the type of story where you spend a good portion of the book wanting to shake some sense into the characters, but between the excellent confrontation scenes (so fabulous!) and the growth they experience to get to the happy ending?  It makes those moments where you want to smack them worth it.

I also liked how contemporary this story felt.  Kristi has a thing for shoes, so we have some label dropping here.  But the characters also live in a fictional world that includes social networking (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and reality television.  I’m not sure how well this book will “hold up” ten years down the line, but for now?  It was rather refreshing.  Especially since we got to read blog posts and tweets from Jared and Kristi.

This was a nice story, with plenty of tension, and a hard-won happy ending.  I have a feeling both of these characters are going to have to continue to work to keep their happy ending on the rails, but that’s as it should be.  Whoever said relationships were easy has obviously never been in one.

Wendy TSLGrade: B+


Kristi’s Stranded Diary: Day 1

Being shipwrecked on an idyllic deserted island for reality TV show Stranded sounded blissful. Until I discovered my Man Friday for the week was Jared Malone (aka he-who-broke-my-heart!).

I mean, of course I’ll be fine. I don’t feel anything for him anymore. Female viewers might swoon over Jared’s tanned gorgeousness, but I know he’s just an arrogant, overmuscled heartbreaker!

The cameras are rolling, so I’m off to the beach to face Jared. I just hope I look okay in this bikini!

Read an excerpt.