This is only the second book I’ve read by Samantha Young, and with it she has become a new favorite of mine. I loved the first book in this series and I was taken with Vaughn and Bailey even then. Though they slung barbs at one another whenever they were face to face, you felt there had to be something deeper for such feeling between them. I devoured this story in a day and a half, and now I’m sorry I did. I want more of this fascinating and charming couple.
Bailey is a descendant of the town’s founding Hartwell family, owning the quaint local inn that she loves with all her heart. She can do without the superior air that sloughs off Vaughn Tremaine, no matter what he does. He’s rich, entitled, and definitely rubs her the wrong way. Their banter is so much fun, especially because Bailey has no filter. She says what’s on her mind, good or bad. There is a slight shift in their rapport after Bailey walks in on her lover of ten years banging a woman in his living room. She calls it quits and isn’t surprised she’s not more devastated. She is actually relieved and promises herself to find someone she deserves, not just someone who makes her feel safe.
There’s a local family who is out to obtain as much of the boardwalk as they can, Bailey’s inn included. When she wakes one night to hear someone rummaging around in her office, Bailey is attacked when she confronts the intruder. It’s Vaughn who comes to her rescue, which then leads to an explosive night together. Bailey is willing to concede a bit in their verbal war, but it’s Vaughn who still zings hurtful insults and walks away. There’s definitely a story where that man is concerned.
We know he doesn’t do relationships, and while that isn’t my favorite trope when it comes to romance couples, if an author does it right and gives a reader the perfect reason, I can live with it. Ms. Young throws several twists into the mix that I never saw coming the deeper and deeper I got into this book. Bailey wants Vaughn’s trust as much she wants him. Vaughn would like to give her that trust, especially when he’s the first to realize he’s in love, but that particular issue is very difficult for him, and he nearly loses everything in his stubbornness to change in that respect. When he finally decides to tell Bailey all, what a story it is. More of those twists to throw Bailey and the reader for a loop.
There are more secondary characters who will hopefully have their stories told – Emery and Jack – maybe. It’s difficult to tell what’s going on with him so far, and I agree with the characters here that something isn’t adding up. At first I wasn’t that taken with Dahlia – she’s a good friend but a bit lackluster up against Bailey – but with the introduction of a part of her past in this book. I have a feeling she’s going to become quite interesting right up until the time her story gets told. I also enjoyed catching up with all the previous characters in town, especially Cooper and Jessica, who started it all in the first book.
Vaughn and Bailey are the perfect romance couple. Fun and charming, vulnerable and fearful, grabbing on with both hands when the chips are down. From their aborted attempt at sex in public to Vaughn’s emotional storytelling, I loved every minute with these two. While I look forward to other books in this series, I already know no other characters will take a piece of my heart as Vaughn and Bailey have.
Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…
Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.
Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.
Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.
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