This is one of those times I’m apparently totally oblivious when it comes to new series and new books by authors I’ve enjoyed in the past. Yeah, this is the third book in Julia London’s Lake Haven series, so I’m behind the times more than usual. But I’m glad I started with Dax, Kyra, and Ruby as my introduction to the series. Dax and Ruby will also steal your heart during those wonderful scenes when she’s making a nuisance of herself and grumpy Dax is about to lose his heart to her.
It’s the banging screen door, the fencing climbing, and the general interrupting his day that Dax has had enough of after the Coconuts – Dax’s mispronouciation of the Kokinos’ last name – have moved in next door to him at East Beach. He’s had enough of people and life, after his ex leaves him for a woman and then becomes pregnant using his sperm without his knowledge. But little Ruby is as precocious as they come, and every time she makes it under, over, or around something to get to his place, you can just see his barrier falling after each interaction. Then there’s the mother, Kyra. Another entanglement he doesn’t need.
Being a single mother doing her best for her only child is the most difficult but the best time of her life. Though she was played by Ruby’s father six years ago, Kyra wouldn’t have it any other way now. Well, a little help from the jackass sperm donor would be nice so she wouldn’t have to work so hard to make ends meet, but she and Ruby do have a good life together. Now if she could only keep her daughter from bothering the reclusive neighbor next door, life might go a bit more smoothly.
But I’m so happy things are a bit bumpy for a while, because the humor that comes from the scenes with Ruby’s logic, Dax’s unseen first gentle and then take-charge nature, and Kyra’s need for control somewhat slipping are some of the best in the book. It’s later things take an awful turn, Ruby’s father showing up, and Dax and Kyra realizing what could be between them and life is now one big confusing shakeup. Dax finally has what he wants, Kyra has to do what’s best for Ruby, and Ruby could have everything a little girl could ever need. But will it happen when finances and health issues raise their ugly heads?
This is a fun and loving story, and I enjoyed every last word of it. So much so I’m going to be delving into the first two books I’ve missed very soon. I loved those main characters who are now secondary in this book, so I know I’ll enjoy those just as much.
Single mother Kyra Kokinos spends her days waiting tables, her nights working on her real estate license, and every spare moment with her precocious six-year-old daughter, Ruby—especially when Ruby won’t stop pestering their grumpy next-door neighbor. At first glance, Dax Bishop seems like the kind of gruff, solitary guy who’d be unlikely to offer a cup of sugar, let alone a marriage proposal. But that’s exactly what happens when Ruby needs life-saving surgery.
Dax showed up in East Beach a year ago, fresh from a painful divorce and looking for a place where he could make furniture and avoid people. Suddenly his life is invaded by an inquisitive munchkin in sparkly cowboy boots—and her frazzled, too-tempting mother. So he presents a practical plan: his insurance will help Ruby, and then they can divorce—zero strings attached.
But soon Kyra and Dax find their engagement of convenience is simple in name only. As their attraction deepens, a figure from the past reappears, offering a way out. Can Kyra and Dax let go so easily, or has their sudden engagement become something more?
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Other books in this series: